Is your boat or personal watercraft insured through your homeowner's policy? Even if it is-and that's not always a guarantee-you may be surprised at some of the restrictive limits to that coverage and the potential expense you may incur if you fail to secure a separate boat insurance policy. In this article we will take a closer look at boat insurance, including some of the "gray areas" for boats in a standard homeowner's policy.
A Note about Homeowner's Insurance and Boats
Assuming that your boat or personal watercraft is completely insured through your homeowner's policy could be an expensive mistake. Some boats are simply too large and too expensive to be included in a standard homeowner's policy, while those boats that are covered may not be entirely protected. A boat insurance policy not only offers complete protection with full replacement value (with a homeowner's policy you are only eligible to collect what the boat is worth at the time of the claim, also known as "actual cash value"), these policies also give you the freedom to choose the options and specialized coverage that meet your individual needs.
What You Get with a Boat Insurance Policy
When looking into the perfect boat insurance, you can be as general or as specific as you like in your search. For instance, most of the larger insurance companies offer specialized packages based on the type of boat you own. Whether you're looking to insure a jet boat, sail boat, houseboat or just a personal watercraft, you're certain to find the right policy for you. Other options offered through boat insurance policies-options which won't be covered through your homeowner's insurance-include:
- Roadside Assistance and Towing
- On-Water Towing-in case you get stranded out on the water
- Uninsured Boater's Coverage. Covers you if you collide with an uninsured boater.
- Fuel Spill Liability Coverage
- Wreckage Removal coverage
- Coverage for your personal effects and fishing equipment
The cost of a boat insurance policy will of course depend on the size, type and value of the boat or watercraft you want to insure, along with the particular state in which the boat is insured and the amount of the deductible. Many companies will usually give you a break on either the premiums you pay or the amount of the deductible after a specified period of safe boating with no claim activity.
Perhaps the best reason to buy boat insurance is one we touched on briefly above and that is the replacement costs should something happen to your boat. If you file a claim through your homeowner's policy, you can only expect to receive an amount equal to or less than what the boat is worth at the time of the claim . Since boats depreciate over time, this amount is usually inadequate to replace your boat, which leaves you out of the water indefinitely. With a boat insurance policy, on the other hand, you can expect to receive an amount that will completely replace your boat, regardless of what it was worth at the time of the claim, and have you back out on the water in no time at all.