Insurance for Classic, Vintage, and Antique Boats

Learn how to insure older and classic boats

Partial view of a wooden boat cabin anchored in a harbor. Find boat insurance for older boats.

Ahoy there! Classic, vintage, and antique boats have a unique appeal that many watercraft enthusiasts find irresistible. These boats are often cherished for their rich history, unique designs, and stunning craftsmanship. However, insuring these boats can be quite different from insuring modern boats.

One of the biggest reasons for the difference in insurance is that classic, vintage, and antique boats may not have modern safety features. This can increase the risk of accidents. As a result, insurance companies may charge higher premiums to cover these boats. In addition, replacement parts may be harder to find for older boats, which can increase repair costs and insurance premiums.

That said, many insurance companies offer specialized coverage for classic, vintage, and antique boats. This coverage may consider the unique features of these boats, including their historical value and the difficulty in finding replacement parts. It's important to work with an independent insurance agent who can help you avoid rough waters and find an insurance policy that’s tailored to your boat and its specific needs.

Classifying Old Boats

According to the Antique and Classic Boat Society, there are five main boat types and classifications based on age:


This classification applies to any vessel constructed before and up to 1918. These boats are incredibly rare and often considered priceless pieces of history. They offer a glimpse into times gone by and represent the best of early boatbuilding techniques and craftsmanship.


This classification applies to any boat built between 1919 and 1942. Antique boats are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. They are often considered the pinnacle of classic boat design, featuring stunning woodwork, classic lines, and unique construction techniques. Antique boats can be powered by a variety of engines, from early gas to diesel engines, adding to their charm and appeal.


This classification applies to boats built between 1943 and 1975. Classic boats are a testament to the post-World War II era of boating when leisure time on the water became more accessible and popular. Classic boats are often considered the most recognizable and iconic vessels of their era. They feature sleek, elegant lines and luxurious finishes that reflect the glamour and sophistication of the time.

Late Classic

This classification applies to boats built from 1976 to 25 years prior to the current year. Late classic boats offer a unique blend of modern features and classic styling. They often feature more modern construction methods and materials, such as fiberglass, while still maintaining classic design elements. These boats are popular among collectors and boaters who want the best of both worlds: classic style with modern performance and features.


This classification applies to boats built in the last 25 years. Contemporary boats are the most modern vessels on the market, offering the latest technology, materials, and construction techniques. They feature advanced design elements, cutting-edge features, and the highest level of performance and comfort.

It's worth noting that, in the past, a boat's classification also depended on the hull's material, but that is no longer the case. Even aluminum and fiberglass boats can now be considered “late classics” or “classics.”


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What Is Vintage Boat Insurance? How Does Vintage and Classic Boat Insurance Differ from Regular Boat Insurance?

Vintage boat insurance is a specialized type of coverage designed to meet the unique needs of boats that are 20 or more years old. Since these boats might not have the same modern safety features as newer vessels, insurance companies may require you to limit your boat usage during the boating season to reduce the risk of damage or accidents. This could include limiting the number of trips you take on your boat, as well as the distance you can travel from shore.

Since classic and vintage boats are typically expensive to restore and repair, many insurers offer coverage to protect your vessel while it's being worked on. Some vintage boat insurers may offer referrals to expert repair services from specialized shops, ensuring that your boat is repaired by professionals who understand the unique needs of older boats.

Bear in mind that insurance companies analyze data to minimize their risk, and boats between 20 and 40 years of age that are still on the water are viewed as a greater liability. As a result, some insurance companies may not cover older boats, or may charge higher premiums to account for the increased risk. However, if you own a vintage boat that is well-maintained and operated by a skilled skipper, you may be able to find coverage through specialized insurers who understand the unique needs of watercraft like these.

Are Insurance Rates Higher for Classic and Vintage Boat Insurance?

Insurance rates for classic and vintage boat insurance can be higher than rates for standard boat insurance. This is because older boats may not have modern safety features, may be more expensive to repair, and may be more susceptible to damage due to wear and tear. However, the rates for classic boat insurance and vintage boat insurance are generally based on the value of the boat, which is in line with contemporary boat insurance.


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Are There Discounts for Vintage Boat Insurance?

As with standard contemporary boat insurance, there may be discounts available for vintage boat insurance. Some discounts that may apply include:

  • Multi-policy discounts: If you have multiple insurance policies – such as home and auto insurance – with the same provider, you may be eligible for a multi-policy discount. This discount may also apply to vintage boat insurance policies.
  • Safety equipment discounts: Many insurance providers offer discounts for boats that have certain safety equipment, such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, and navigation equipment, installed. While some older boats may not have modern safety features, they could still qualify for safety equipment discounts if they have appropriate safety equipment installed.
  • Lay-up discounts: Some vintage boat insurance policies may require you to limit your boat usage during the boating season. If you're willing to agree to a "lay-up" period where the boat is not used during certain months, you may be eligible for a discount on your insurance premiums.
  • Boater education discounts: Completing a boater safety course or obtaining a boating license may make you eligible for a discount on your vintage boat insurance premiums. This discount may also apply to standard boat insurance policies.

It's important to note that the availability of discounts may vary depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy. Additionally, some vintage boat insurance policies may have different eligibility requirements and restrictions than standard boat insurance policies. Working with an experienced insurance agent who understands the unique needs of vintage boats can help ensure that you receive all applicable discounts and the right coverage for your vessel.

Explore Classic Boat Insurance Options with an Independent Insurance Agent

When it comes to classic boat insurance, it's often best to work with specialty insurance companies that focus on or have expertise in insuring classic and antique boats. That’s where an independent insurance agent comes in. They can help you navigate the complex world of vintage boat insurance and ensure that your policy includes the coverage you need for peace of mind.

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