A Guide To Boat Insurance

With the advent of watersports in places all over the US, and interestingly enough, 100 million Americans go boating every year. So, it is naturally worth considering having boat insurance coverage. With the expensive cost and investment of said boat, it’s essential to treat it as an investment. This section will clarify the different kinds of boat insurance and how to obtain a company policy for your boat.

What is Boat Insurance?

The primary question to ask is, what does boat insurance cover? It is meant to protect the watercraft from certain risks while being in use or being put in storage. Coverage can extend to replacing your stolen boat and other types of coverage and liability. 

There are even ways to get discounts on insurance by completing water safety and boating courses and doing other things such as having Coast Guard-approved fire extinguishers on board, having a diesel-powered boat, and not having a claim in the recent two years. 

Another question that is commonly asked is; What can’t I be insured with boat insurance? These are canoes, small, slow, inexpensive boats, and boats with small engines. 

It is important to consider the size, vessel type, and insurance coverage value. 

Types of Boat Insurance

There are a few policy options to choose from with boat insurance, which is classified according to the risks they cover. The most common types of policy for boat insurance are hull insurance, equipment, gear coverage, liability coverage, medical payments coverage, collision coverage, and personal accident coverage.

Small Boat 

One of the most significant considerations when looking at coverage is asking if the insurance to cover a boat would eventually cost more than the boat is worth? You can use discounts as previously mentioned to get a better rate. You can even have renters or homeowners insurance have partial coverage for small craft such as canoes and small sailboats. 

Larger Boats

It would require a full policy with more comprehensive coverage for larger boats such as yachts or craft that may require higher maintenance. Or using umbrella insurance, so there is an increase in liability coverage. 

Liability Coverage

This level of coverage would cover damage that is caused by an accident that includes your boat and would cause damage to someone else’s property. Overall, each company has specific requirements for covering expenses of that damage and may go through a negotiation process when a claim is filed. 

Property Coverage and Boats

This coverage is mainly for protecting your boat as property and when it is stored on your property. It includes covering the replacement of the boat if it is stolen or damaged. This coverage applies to your boat as your property, on land or in the water. The policy you choose that is available can determine if you get full or partial coverage. 

Medical Payment Coverage and Boat Insurance

In particular, medical coverage is necessary for most boaters. For example, if you and other people with you and a third party are injured from a boating accident, your insurance would provide coverage and payment for you and other people’s medical bills. 

Uninsured Watercraft and Boat Insurance Add-ons

With uninsured watercraft as a part of your policy, you can get coverage from an accident caused by an insured watercraft and will be covered by your policy and still pay your medical bills. 

Boat insurance add-ons are optional add-ons that may be extra perks that could add coverage in areas you may not have considered yet.

  • Boat trailers
  • Towing
  • Special equipment such as fishing gear
  • Boating accessories such as radar
  • Dock contract liability
  • Fishing guide coverage
  • Ice and freezing coverage
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Personal property

What Boat Insurance Does Boat Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Most policies will cover damage to your boat, but they may not cover damage to other boats or property. It’s essential to examine the fine print of your policy to make sure you’re covered in the event of an accident.

Here are some exclusions that aren’t covered by boat insurance policies:

  • Damage from animals that are aquatic or other types of creatures
  • Overuse
  • Mold Damage
  • Faulty Boat Design
  • Bug Destruction
  • Corrosion
  • Manufacturing defects 
  • Normal wear and tear from a regular boat use

Boat Insurance With Homeowners Insurance

Depending on your rate, boat insurance bundled with homeowners insurance can be a legitimate deal. For example, boat insurance coverage bundled with home insurance can have a significant discount and even be bundled with auto insurance, depending on the company or insurance agency. 

Cost of Boat Insurance

In general, the cost of boat insurance is measured across many variables. Usually, it will be a range of values specific to each person. For example, Engine type, boat length, and value of the boat are the primary metrics for measuring cost. Here are variables for the cost of boat insurance. 

According to Progressive boat Insurance, the annual policy average for low-cost states in 2021 is just over $250, and for high-cost states, over $500.

Insurance companies consider other factors for pricing, are the location of boat use and the place of anchorage. Pricing may also change based on the experience level of a boater and the level of experience, boat length, condition, age, and category. It is even crucial that boat ownership records would be examined. 

Consequences of Operating a Boat Under The Influence 

The unique problem of operating heavy machinery while under the influence can complicate and make your insurance more expensive. Such penalties can make it so an insurance company will not cover the full price of the damage to your boat. 

In every state, it is illegal to drink and drive any vehicle. The US coast guard and other law enforcement agencies enforce the legal operation of a watercraft. 

There is also a chance of getting heavy legal penalties as well. These may include:

  • Jail Time
  • Large fines
  • Suspension or revocation of Driver’s license
  • Suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges.

It is also essential to understand when someone gets boating under the influence. If that is the case, your insurance provider can choose to drop your policy. Even though it is possible to get a policy with another company, it is still the issue of getting a more expensive offer for a policy. 

Comparison of Boat Insurance Companies

In this section, we will go over the different policies offered by different insurance companies. How the insurance policy fits your life depends on what you want covering. It is worth considering whether or not partial or complete coverage would work for you. 


Allstate has good insurance coverage that can have great value over time. It has an average rate of $ 25 a month in the US. But, even though it is somewhat accessible on the internet, it is not as accessible as it could be because of the limited info on specific boating policies. 

Allstate is good at providing in-person services and has a wide array of online tools to help you through a claim and assist you throughout the process. For example, just for boaters, they provide information on their website in available articles and videos. They also have an 800 number. 

Here are some coverage options for boating policies include; Repair costs, Property coverage, Medical Payments, Trailer coverage, Uninsured watercraft coverage, Water liability coverage, and Emergency services (which include labor and towing, fuel, oil, and even battery delivery).

Here are some discounts that may also be available, which can apply to; Boat education, Homeownership discount, Full-pay discount, and an easy pay plan discount. 


This insurance company is known for having the best variety in coverage, according to the most favorable reviews. It also has a good variety of discounts. In the early 50s, Foremost was a pioneer in providing insurance for mobile homes. 

Foremost is affiliated with Farmers and can access their network of agents to provide more available information around the US. Foremost also provides the ability to customize your policy and coverage. The availability of Foremost is throughout the United States, but coverage may vary from state to state. Website: Foremost Insurance.

Here are some customizable options for Boat insurance:

Saver package This package covers cash value settlements in the case of a total loss and is offered at a very affordable and convenient price.

Plus Package Within this package, you get most of the basic coverage and other services, including watersports liability, agreed/total loss replacement cost settlement, diminishing deductible, hurricane haul-out, and extended depreciation deferral. 

Elite Package This package is fuller coverage with great perks such as; fishing tournament fee reimbursement, pet insurance, boat lift/hoist/cradle coverage, trip interruption coverage, Bahamas and Mexico navigation coverage, and enhanced towing services, and depreciation deferral. 


Markel is One of the most accessible insurance companies for fishing, and it is because of their ability to provide comprehensive coverage on your fishing gear. They can also offer up to 35% savings with most, if not all, discounts. 

Although, there is no option to bundle a boat policy with your homeowners or car insurance. There is coverage in all 50 states, but the more information you have about what is available in your region, the better. The number of policy options and coverage showed is available in almost every state. 

The coverage that Markel Boat Insurance offers is affordable at an average of $100 per year, depending on the needs of your policy. Here are the specific coverage options:

Here are some discounts offered from Markel: Being accident-free: This works through a diminishing deductible program and reduces your deductible by 25% for each year you are accident-free. Diesel engines Age (this relates to if your primary operator of the craft is 40 years of age or older), Experienced Boaters (which relates to those with five years or more of boating experience).


With its original company being named Farm Bureau Mutual automobile insurance in 1926, the name was later changed to Nationwide in 1955, so the name would go along with the variety of insurance policies that had been made available. At a glance, Nationwide offers a good variety of ways to bundle policies, and with Boat insurance policies specifically, it can help to save money. Some common issues for Nationwide are the website not having an online quote for boat insurance, and not all coverages and discounts are available in all states. Contact an insurance agent in your area.

Here are some options: Collison coverage, On-water boat towing and labor, personal effects insurance, Fishing equipment insurance, Comprehensive coverage\ Bodily injury and property damage liability, Uninsured/underinsured boater, and Roadside Assistance (for boats and trailers).

Nationwide’s full coverage policies:

Deep Water Pros: For fishing in more unpredictable conditions such as oceans, bays, gulfs, and Big Waters. 

Light Tackle Anglers: A specific policy that can cover bass boats and similar fishing boats that are smaller. Nationwide can offer up to $2,500 for fishing equipment and offering up to $5,000 for personal effects and $2,500 for towing.

Overnighters: This policy is offered for those who take short boat trips and will offer up to $2,500 for fishing equipment and $5,000 for personal effects, and $2,500 for towing. 

Weekenders: This is the baseline of policies that are meant to cover the gear you take into the boat with the ability to remove it after every trip. This pack will offer up to $1,000 for fishing gear, $3,000 for personal effects, and $500 for towing.


The overall statistics of boating are still favorable in popularity of boating. For example, higher boat sales during the pandemic could be attributed to more interest in outdoor activities. Interestingly enough, Mordor Intelligence has projected the recreational boating market is growing towards $35 billion as a target growth of the industry. It is even more interesting that a Marine Manufacturers Association report showed that 61% of boat owners within the household making less than $100,000, and those who make up to $100,000. 

These numbers are important to mention because they show that boats are a growing hobby and investment for many. With this in mind, boating is still an accessible hobby for many, and one of the best ways to keep the hobby going is to insure your boats. And although there are specific companies mentioned here, there may be some other companies with policies and options which suit better. So, research and search for the best insurance policy for your boat.

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