Insuring a boat is unique. Although parts of it follow auto coverage, it’s an entirely different animal given the environment that boats are operated in. Boat insurance has two basic types of coverage. There’s physical damage, and then there’s liability.
Physical damage coverage
This coverage insures the boat for accidental damage to the watercraft, its machinery and propulsion system. Not only does it cover the hull, but it also insures engines, sails and anything on the boat that’s needed to operate it.
Your liability coverage insures you for property damage or personal injury that you caused to third parties that results from the operation of your boat. If you’re sued on a liability claim, your liability coverage even pays for your defense attorney, court costs and any judgment rendered against you up to the amount of your policy limits. If an accident is serious, you’ll want to be sure that your liability insurance covers the cost of removal of your boat if it’s wrecked and a hazard to navigation. You’ll also want to be covered for oil or fuel spills.
Uninsured boater coverage
Unlike auto insurance, there’s no minimum mandatory boat liability insurance. Uninsured boater coverage insures you for injuries sustained by you or others on your boat that are caused by an uninsured boat. Most uninsured boater coverage even covers injuries sustained from a hit-and-run boater.
Medical payments coverage
Make sure you have sufficient coverage for medical payments. This coverage generally applies regardless of liability. You’ll want to be sure that anybody on your boat is insured through your medical payments coverage.
Take notice that your boat coverage likely has navigational and often seasonal limits. You might not be covered outside of a certain geographical area, and many policies offer no coverage at all after October 31. Much about insuring a boat depends on where you live and the size of your boat. Don’t rely on your auto insurance to cover your boat, even if you tow it. You’ll be served well by working with an insurer that has a complete understanding of boat insurance.