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December 1, 2023
Boat icon. Senior man wearing fishing vest.

How will this quote help me?

Your quote is based on several common factors to give you a clear picture of the cost you can expect, though an independent agent can shop around and maybe even improve your rate!

NOTE: This quote is not final, though we did work with professional actuaries to help get you a ballpark figure to get started.

Only two states require boat insurance by law, but there are a few instances where you may need it. If you dock your boat at a marina, they may require some form of coverage in order to protect their business. Also, if you finance your boat, nearly every lender will require coverage to protect their investment; use our list of the best boat insurance companies as a starting point.

Other than that, you should always have at least liability coverage on your boat to protect yourself against lawsuit costs if you cause bodily injury or property damage to another party. Property coverage is optional, but again, the more comprehensive your coverage, the better it can protect you.

The cost of any boat insurance policy depends on a number of factors, including your boat's size, value, and horsepower. Boat insurance policies can range from the low hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars annually, depending on what kind of coverage you need.

Insuring your boat trailer is always a safe bet. Though your boat trailer may be protected by your home or car insurance policy, you can also add coverage to your boat insurance for your trailer. It's best to talk to your independent insurance agent about your boat, the trailer, and how you use it to determine the right coverage amount.

If your policy includes medical payments coverage, it will cover injuries to your passengers if you get into an accident. Medical payments coverage is an important option because just one accident can cause injuries that are extremely costly to treat.

Typically, yes. But it's important to review your specific boat insurance policy with your independent insurance agent to make sure. Every carrier and every policy is different, but the more you know about your own policy, the better it will help protect you. 

In most cases, yes, your boat will be covered against hurricane damage. But, as with any other natural disaster or unexpected event, you'll want to double-check your policy.

No, boat insurance often excludes defective machinery or maintenance costs. Wear and tear is a natural outcome of use and not covered by your policy.

The size and value of your boat are two of the most impactful features on the cost of your coverage. Insurance for a $20,000 boat can cost an average of only $300 per year, while insuring a $2 million yacht can cost as much as $30,000 per year.

If you have collision coverage on your boat insurance, you should be covered for the cost of repairs if you hit a rock.

In certain cases, boat insurance may cover a blown engine if the disaster was due to a listed peril. For example, ice and freeze damage to engines is typically covered. However, blown engines due to the owner's negligence are not covered.

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Boat owners can experience a lot of joy and excitement brought by their watercraft, but they also have to anticipate potentially costly disasters ahead of time. Aside from accidents on the water, your boat is also vulnerable to theft, vandalism, flood damage, and more. That's what makes having boat insurance so critical.

An independent insurance agent can help protect your vessel with the right boat insurance long before you ever need to file a claim. But first, here's some boat insurance 101.

What Is Boat Insurance?

Boat insurance is designed to cover boat owners and their watercraft in case of many different disasters, including accidents, fire, and more. These policies are made to protect boats that have motors, like yachts, pontoon boats, etc., but they don't cover kayaks or canoes. Boat insurance is important because homeowners insurance doesn't provide enough coverage on its own for most watercraft.

Do You Have to Have Insurance on a Boat?

Only two states actually require boat insurance coverage, but there are a few situations where you may need it. First, if you dock your boat at a marina, they may require some form of coverage in order to protect their business. Second, if you financed your boat, nearly every lender will require coverage to protect their investment.

Further, there are certain types of boats that are more important to insure than others due to their value, risk level, and more. Here's a handy guide to whether you need boat insurance for your vessel.

Boats that need insurance: Boats that don't need insurance:
Boats that have 25 horsepower or greater Boats with less than 25 horsepower
Yachts Small engine boats
Large sailboats Small sailboats
WaveRunners Canoes
Jet boats Inexpensive boats

Most often, boat insurance is purchased for:

  • Yachts
  • Sailboats
  • Jet skis
  • Utility boats
  • Fishing boats
  • Pontoon boats

Despite all the fun to be had with a boat, accidents and disasters can happen. The easiest way to protect yourself and others, and get you back on the lake after a situation, is with the right boat insurance.

Best Boat Insurance Companies

While many carriers offer boat insurance, it's helpful to know some of the top names in the industry before you start shopping. Here are a few of our highest-recommended boat insurance companies.

Top Boat Insurance Companies Star Rating
Liberty Mutual

An independent insurance agent can help you get the right boat insurance policy for you from one of these top-rated carriers, or another that best meets your needs.

Do I Need Boat Insurance?

The only two states that require boat insurance by law are Utah and Arkansas. Boat owners in these states must have coverage for personal watercraft or for powerboats with 50 horsepower or greater. Otherwise, if you live elsewhere and your boat is designated for personal use, you're not technically required to have insurance for it. 

However, if you lease or otherwise finance your boat, you're likely to be required by your lender to carry boat insurance, and often you'll need both collision and comprehensive coverage. When docking your boat, you're often also required by the marina to have liability coverage. However, with boating accidents being so common, it's important to at least consider getting boat insurance for yourself.

Most Common Types of Boating Accidents

Most common types of boating accidents.

Notice that the top five causes of boating accidents are due to human error, such as inattention, improper lookout, alcohol use, and inexperience. Since you can't often blame the boat for an accident or other disaster, it's even more critical to ensure that your vessel is covered with the right insurance.

How Much Is Boat Insurance?

The average annual cost of boat insurance ranges from $200 to $500 depending on the type of boat you have and other factors. It also depends on which types of coverage you need, and how much coverage you need. For folks who only purchase liability coverage, you might pay less than $100 annually. 

Often, you can expect the annual cost of your boat insurance to be about 1.5% of the value of your boat. For example:

  • $20,000 boats cost about $300 annually to insure
  • $50,000 boats cost about $750 annually to insure
  • $100,000 boats cost about $1,500 annually to insure
  • $500,000 boats cost about $7,500 annually to insure
  • $2 million boats, like yachts, cost about $30,000 annually to insure
  • If you are looking for boat insurance for older boats, costs will vary significantly

The cost of your boat insurance might not be this simple to figure out, though. For more help calculating the cost of your premiums, use our boat insurance calculator or reach out to an independent insurance agent for a quote.

What Factors Influence Boat Insurance Costs?

Like any form of coverage, boat insurance costs depend on several factors, including:

The make, model, and value of your boat

Your boat's make, model, and value influence the cost of boat insurance because the more expensive your boat is to replace or repair, the more expensive your coverage must be. If your boat is valued at less than $20,000, you will pay approximately the average cost in your state. If your boat is valued above $500,000, you might pay up to 2,250% of the average cost in your state. 

Your boat's length

Boat insurance costs also depend on the length of your boat. Be prepared to pay about 66% more for your coverage if your boat is 100 feet or longer, but if your boat is less than 20 feet, you may pay 12% less than average rates in your state.

Your boating records

If you've had six or more accidents or violations within the past five years, you can expect a 90% increase in your boat insurance premiums. However, if you've had no incidents during this time, you can expect a 40% decrease in your boat insurance premiums.

Your location

Boat insurance premiums vary considerably by the state you live in. Many factors can influence insurance costs by location, including crime rates, property values, and more.

How you use your boat

Depending on the risk level of the activities you perform with or on your boat, your premiums may be higher or lower. Using a boat for towing can be riskier than using it just for fishing, so boats used for fishing would be likely to have lower boat insurance premiums.

How often you use your boat

Similar to auto insurance, how often you use your boat can also influence your boat insurance rates, because the more you use it, the more likely an accident or other disaster is to occur. For boats that only get taken out on occasion, premiums for boat insurance can be much lower than those that get used daily on the water.

An independent insurance agent can provide you with quotes for boat insurance from several carriers near you.

What Discounts on Boat Insurance Exist?

Many insurance companies offer several discounts on boat insurance to help lower the cost of your premiums. Here are just a few common boat insurance discounts:

  • Boater safety course discount: You might qualify for a discount on boat insurance if you complete a state-approved boater safety course.
  • Bundling discount: Many insurance companies offer discounts if you bundle your boat insurance with another policy through them, such as auto insurance or home insurance.
  • Paid-in-full discount: Many insurance companies lower your overall premium if you pay for your entire year's worth of coverage up-front.
  • Homeowners discount: Some insurance companies even offer discounts on your boat insurance just for being a homeowner, even if your coverage is not through the same carrier. 
  • Clean boating history discount: You're likely to be rewarded with a boat insurance discount by many carriers if you've maintained a clean, accident and violation-free boating record. 

Your independent insurance agent is a great ally in helping you find any discounts you may qualify for on boat insurance, no matter which carrier you go through.

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Boat insurance provides a lot of important protection, not only for your boat, but also for you, your passengers, and everyone else on the water or at the marina. Boat insurance typically includes the following primary coverages:

Types of boat coverage.
  • Personal property damage: Provides reimbursement for your boat, trailer, and engine if they're damaged by a covered peril like vandalism, fire, etc.
  • Medical payments: Provides reimbursement for treatment of injuries to you and your passengers who get hurt by your boat or while on your boat.
  • Property damage liability: Provides reimbursement of property damage lawsuit costs from third parties due to your boat.
  • Bodily injury liability: Provides reimbursement for injuries to anyone who gets physically harmed by your boat.

The following coverages are commonly added to standard boat insurance:

  • Uninsured/underinsured boaters: Covers injury expenses if the other boater is responsible but doesn’t have any, or enough, insurance to cover your expenses. 
  • Fishing equipment: Sometimes included, you'll be reimbursed up to a certain limit, like $1,000. 
  • Water sports liability: Some policies exclude water sports from your liability coverage and some don't, but this coverage is important if you'll be doing stunts, etc.
  • Emergency assistance on the water: Also known as boat towing insurance, coverage provides water towing and other assistance services through a maritime dispatch center. 
  • Roadside assistance for your boat and trailer: This coverage guarantees that the towing company will take your vehicle, boat, and trailer to the nearest facility if you get stranded on the road. 

If you have questions or concerns based on your plans on the water, it's best to talk to your independent insurance agent. They can help you find and increase coverage so that it works best for you. 

Important Additional Coverages for Boats

Beyond the common coverages, it's always recommended to consider additional coverages that can help tailor the policy to your unique risks. Here are several optional boat insurance coverages worth considering:

  • Collision: Provides coverage for collisions between your watercraft and other vessels or objects. You're also covered if your boat capsizes on the water.
  • Comprehensive: Covers other disasters beyond collision like theft, vandalism, storm damage, and more.
  • Hurricane hauling services: Covers the cost of moving your watercraft out of the county where it's docked in case of emergency. 
  • Personal property coverage: Personal property is usually covered under your homeowners policy, even when the boat isn't at your house. However, your deductible is often higher, so you can add personal property coverage on your boat policy to avoid a homeowners claim. 
  • Wreckage and fuel removal: Reimburses cost to recover or destroy wreckage and fuel if you get in an accident. 
  • Replacement cost or agreed value: Newer and more expensive boats can be insured for agreed value, which means you'll recover the full amount you paid for it, without depreciation. 
  • Pet coverage: If you boat with a pet on board, this provides up to $1,000 towards veterinarian fees if they're injured on the boat. 

An independent insurance agent can recommend the additional boat insurance coverages that are a good match for you.

What Is Boat Rental Insurance Coverage?

Boat rental insurance is often required by boat rental companies to protect against lawsuits that may arise when you operate a rented vessel. If a third party sues you for claims of bodily injury or property damage when you're operating a rented boat and you don't have boat rental insurance, you'll have to pay out of pocket for your defense and settlement costs.

What Boat Insurance Will Pay For

Before settling on a boat insurance policy, it's important to understand just what it will reimburse you for and what it won't. Here's a breakdown for further clarification.

Boat insurance pays for: Boat insurance won't pay for:
Physical damage due to covered causes like theft, fire, etc. Maintenance costs.
Physical damage to the boat and anchors or other equipment. Machinery damage or defective equipment and boat components.
Medical expenses for those injured on or by your boat. Medical expenses relating to shark bite injuries.
Property damage to others caused by your boat. Property damage caused by insect infestations, mold, barnacles, etc.
Liability issues that arise when someone else drives your boat with permission. Intentional harm caused to others with your boat.

If you still have questions about what's covered or not covered by boat insurance, your independent insurance agent can help.

Finding Discounts and Savings on Boat Insurance

Fortunately, there are typically several discounts available for boat insurance. While options vary by insurance company, here are some common discounts:

  • No claims history discount: If you've never filed a claim on your boat insurance, your carrier is likely to reward you with a discount over time.
  • Diesel-powered boat discount: Some boat insurance companies offer discounts for watercraft with diesel-powered engines.
  • Safety course discount: You might be eligible to receive a discount on your boat insurance if you complete a state-approved safety course.
  • Bundling discount: Often you can save money on boat insurance if you bundle it with another type of coverage, such as home insurance, through the same carrier.

An independent insurance agent is your greatest ally when it comes to finding discounts on boat insurance. 

Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agent?

Independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best boat insurance, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.

Best Boat Insurance Companies

westfield insurance
foremost insurance group
state auto insurance companies
progressive insurance company

More Choices

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When you have options from multiple companies, it's easier to find the best coverage at the right price, at no extra cost to you.

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There's an independent agent in every city who always understands the insurance coverage you need most based on local laws and needs that apply to you.

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