Generally, boat insurance covers the following:
- Repair or replacement of the vessel and boating equipment
- Liability coverage for damage, injury, or pollution you cause;
- Recovery of the vessel should it capsize or need to be towed;
- Payment of a replacement vessel if you require another after there is insured damage to your personal watercraft
- Repair or replacement of the personal contents you keep aboard, or on your dock.
Special Conditions to Consider:
Vermin damage – this is often an excluded type of damage but if you have concerns that your boat could be vulnerable to damage from mice, be sure to verify it is included.
Freezing– proper winterizing is an expectation of all insurance policies.
Mould – the very purpose of being on the water exposes your vessel to an environment where mould could thrive. Regular inspection and maintenance are a necessity to prevent mould damage.
Alcohol – like operating a car, you are not considered to be capable of proper control of your vessel while under the influence of alcohol, and coverage could be denied if you are at fault for damage while impaired.
Easy-to-steal personal items– things like cell phones or tablets, cash, or keys to your automobile are not likely to be covered by this policy, or only a small amount of coverage would be provided. Be sure to keep these things out of sight and locked up for safekeeping.
Building a Policy
When preparing a boat insurance policy, the most important step is establishing the value of the items to be insured. This amount is used to calculate the cost of the policy but is also the maximum payment the company will make in the event of a claim.
The value is not just of the boat, but also the engine or engines, the anchor, the electronics such as radios, and all the safety equipment including life jackets and fire extinguishers.
Sometimes, a professional survey is required by the insurance company in order to write a policy. A survey is a report completed by an experienced professional, that sets out in detail the components of a boat and their condition and prescribes a value that can be used for the amount of coverage in an insurance policy. Also, based on the owner’s claims history, the boat insurance policy premium can be adjusted to reflect their previous track record of responsible boating which considers standard navigational limits and minimal insurance claims.
If you buy your boat new or make upgrades to an owned boat, bills of sale, invoices and receipts can also be used to calculate the value for coverage.
To properly build a policy, you will want to be aware of the values of other associated boating items such as trailers, dinghies, fishing equipment, navigation equipment, emergency equipment and the boat’s contents.