Owning a boat or a personal watercraft is a greatly rewarding experience, whether you’re a casual marine hobbyist or you enjoy going out on the water every day. However, there are certain responsibilities that come with owning a vessel, and you may be wondering ‘how do I buy boat insurance?’ There are many different aspects that go into choosing boat insurance, so it is important to make an informed choice.
Searching for insurance for your watercraft but not quite sure where to begin? Follow these tips to help you get started so that you can make an informed decision when finding the best marine insurance for your individual needs.
Insure Your Boat: 8 Tips for Your Boat or Personal Watercraft
1. Find the Right Plan for Your Boat
There is a wide array of different types of vehicles that fall under the banner of marine watercraft insurance, so you’ll want to find a policy that fits what you own. Insurance of this type can cover sailboats, jet skis, yachts, and just about everything in between. Find a policy that is specifically designed to handle the type of vehicle you own so that you get coverage tailored to your needs.
The size of your vessel is also important when finding the right plan. Specifically, a large boat may have a policy that stipulates how large of an area you’re allowed to operate the vehicle within. If your boating takes you out of the premises that are detailed in your policy agreement, you won’t be covered under that insurance policy for that time.
2. Get an Inspection for an Older Boat
If you’re looking to insure an older boat, there are a few preliminary steps you should take before starting your search for the right policy. You’ll want to have a professional come to inspect the boat to assess its current condition. Be sure to have that inspection documented so that all of the details of your vessel are on the record.
Taking this important first step will help you get the coverage that you need. An accurate assessment of the boat’s condition and value provided by the inspection will be a helpful resource for the insurance provider you work with. They’ll be able to use that inspection to get you a policy that matches the vessel that you own.
3. Choose the Type of Coverage You Want
Boat insurance is flexible, so there are several different types of policies you might take out when covering your watercraft. For example, agreed hull value policies are among the most common types of different policies. For this type of arrangement, you and your insurer will agree upon an amount that will be paid out to you in the event of a total loss of your vessel. This amount depends on the total value of your vessel.
There are different types of coverage if this arrangement isn’t what you’re looking for, however. For instance, you could get an actual cash value policy with a payout that fluctuates based on the market value of your boat rather than a pre-agreed amount. You may also want minimal coverage that only applies in cases of injury or damage to property rather than insuring the vessel itself depending on your needs.
4. Consider if Anyone Else Will Operate the Vessel
Your plans for using the vessel may also play into the type of insurance you need. Ask yourself if you’ll be letting anybody else take the wheel of your vessel before you decide on the insurance policy that is right for you.
Make sure that the coverage you get includes coverage for other operators before letting anyone else take command of your vessel. It’s also important to note that most states have laws prohibiting minors from operating personal watercraft, which could negate your coverage if you let a minor pilot the vessel.
5. Seek Out Coverage for Any Possible Liability
While the primary concern you may have in mind when looking for insurance is covering your vessel itself, there are other situations to keep in mind. For example, consider a situation where your boat hits a large wave. The boat itself is fine, but somebody hurt themselves coming down onto their seat hard. You’ll want liability coverage so that you aren’t on the hook for any medical expenses incurred as a result.
Another situation you’ll want coverage for is any accidents involving an uninsured boater. Similar to issues that arise when you’re involved in an auto accident with an uninsured driver, the other boater not having insurance could leave you without any help paying for damages. Look for a personal watercraft insurance policy that covers you in the event of a collision with an uninsured boater.
6. Look into Additional Coverage Options
There are some additional insurance options available for your watercraft that may be worth looking into. For example, you may want to look for an insurance plan that covers any expenses related to salvage work if your vehicle is a total loss. Your policy can also include coverage that takes care of the cost of environmental clean-up in the event of a fuel spill.
Although having this additional coverage could make the fees you pay for holding the policy increase, you’ll be grateful for having the coverage if the specific situations applies. You may end up paying more for your policy, but you’ll save money in the long run by not paying for costly things such as fuel clean-up or salvage operations out of your own pocket.
7. Find Out if Bundling Can Get You a Better Deal
Getting your boat insurance policy to also cover other property you own can provide you with potential savings while also giving you the convenience of getting all of your insurance services all in one place. For example, you might get one insurance policy that covers your home and car as well as your boat. Finding an insurance provider that gives you all of the services you need can make your life that much easier.
The drawback is that a bundled boat insurance policy may not come with all of the same coverage that an individual policy might offer. For example, a bundled policy may not include coverage for very specific cases such as salvage work or wreck removal. Be sure to work out all of the details with your insurance provider to ensure you’re getting all of the coverage that you’re looking for.
8. Shop Around to Get the Best Price
You never want to make a purchase after hearing just one price, and the same holds true when looking for boat insurance. Do some research on the insurance market and get quotes from multiple different providers before making a final decision. That will help you to recognize a good deal when you see one so that you know you’re getting good value for your money as well as the coverage that you need.
If you want to work with a local insurance agent who has a long track record of success and service, get in touch with our team. Whether you’re looking to insure your personal watercraft, your home, your vehicle, or anything else, we’ve got you covered. Contact iInsure today and let us help protect you!