With Spring just around the corner, the boating season is ramping up. Whether you have a pontoon, open bow, fishing boat, cabin cruiser, or jet ski, understanding how to properly protect yourself and your investment can be confusing. Not all watercraft coverage is the same.

Many boat owners endorse their watercraft onto their homeowners policy. Is this a good solution or not? In most cases, probably not. A specialized insurance policy that offers the unique coverage limits, endorsements, and deductibles that fit your boat and lifestyle will prepare you to have peace of mind while on the water.

  • Damages to Your Boat – While homeowners policies typically provide ACV (actual cash value) coverage, a specialized boat insurance policy can offer Agreed Value coverage or even Replacement Cost coverage. Depending upon the age of your boat and the amount you invested in it, the differences in these coverage types can have an impact on your investment recuperation in the event of a loss. Similar to an auto policy’s Comp & Collision coverages, boat policies offer choices in deductibles.
  • Liability Coverage – Liability protects boat owners when they are responsible for bodily injury to other people. A separate boat policy offers you more flexibility in your liability limits.
  • Watersports Liability – Many homeowners policies exclude water sport coverage. A specialized boat policy protects boaters while pulling people behind their boat including skiers, tubers, as well as wakeboarders and knee-boarders.

Just as it is possible to endorse Rental & Towing and other options to personalize an auto policy, a separate boat policy also offers endorsement options that are typically not provided on a homeowners policy:

  • Towing & Emergency Service – A day of fun in the sun could easily be ruined if the boat breaks down while on the water. This is a great coverage to add to a policy and covers either the cost of certain emergency fixes at the point where the boat broke down, or the cost of towing the boat to the nearest repair shop. This coverage should also apply to the trailer if it breaks down while towing the boat.
  • Wreckage Removal – Boaters are responsible for removing wrecked and/or sunken boats. Does your current policy provide coverage for this expense?
  • Fuel Spill & Pollution Claims – Boaters are required by law (including EPA) to clean up, remove, or contain fuel spills or pollution. Does your current policy provide coverage for this expense?
  • Fishing Equipment and Accessories – Fishing gear, skiing equipment, other personal effects….these can all add up $$$. A good policy will include coverage for these items.

Perhaps the most important consideration of all is the potential impact on your homeowners policy. If watercraft is endorsed to your homeowners, then a boating claim could affect your homeowners policy. A specialized boat policy can prevent such an impact. Why take that risk?