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A Beginner's Guide to Boat Insurance

You Know You Need Boat Insurance....

But With So Many Options and Companies. How Do You Make Sense Of It All?


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Boat insurance programs are normally designed to provide coverage for vessels up to 26 feet in length. If your boat is longer than 26 feet then the insurance company will classify it as yacht and suggest that you apply for yacht insurance.

Comprehensive boat insurance provides coverage for the costs of repairing or replacing a boat that has been damaged or destroyed by collision, fire, theft, vandalism, lightening or windstorms. Most boat coverage is broadly tailored to cover other things besides the boat's structure such as its machinery, outboard motor, auxiliary equipment and personal property within the boat. You can also purchase boat insurance without what is called contents insurance, however as it is water-borne you are advised to get comprehensive coverage in case you are confronted with a worst case scenario that causes you to lose all of your belongings.

A boat insurance policy can provide physical damage coverage on an Actual Cash Value or an Agreed Amount Value basis. Actual cash value policies pay you the market value of your boat less the depreciation of the value of the boat at the time of the loss. In the event of a total loss, used boat pricing guides and other resources are used to determine the approximate market value of your vessel. A partial loss is arrived at subtracting a percentage of the depreciation from your compensation for the total cost of the repair.

Agreed Amount Value policies mean you and the insurance company have agreed on the value of your vessel and in the event of a total loss you will be paid that amount. Agreed Amount Value policies, which are usually much more expensive than Actual Cash Value policies, also replace stolen or damaged items for new ones without any deduction for depreciation. Most Agreed Amount Value policies require you to provide the actual cash value of certain property such as sails, protective covers, batteries, dinghies, trailers and outboard motors.

You can also purchase Physical Damage boat insurance. This kind of coverage is usually subject to a deductible. The boat and motor usually have the same deductible with additional deductibles for the trailer and personal effects. The deductible is the amount you are willing to pay in case of a loss. The higher the deductible, the lower your insurance premium. Boat policy deductibles can be calculated as a percentage of the vessel's value or can be based on flat amounts of $250 or $500.

A good boat insurance policy should also offer contents coverage to provide protection for those items not intended for the normal operation of your boat. This includes compensation for the loss or damage of such items as portable TVs, cellular phones, stereos, radios and cameras.

As accidents are common on the water, you should make sure that your comprehensive boat insurance coverage also includes liability protection. Liability insurance pays for damages you are legally responsible for if your boat injures someone other than a family member. It also covers you if you accidentally hit another boat or if a passenger is hurt while on your vessel. A good comprehensive policy will also include medical coverage should someone be injured while sailing in, boarding or leaving your boat.

Other basic coverages you should look for when purchasing boat insurance are uninsured boat owners coverage that protects you if you are in an accident with an operator of an uninsured boat. Make sure that the boat insurance policy that you select also covers Commercial Towing and Assistance should your boat break down while on the water or require assistance from rescue operations.

There is boat insurance coverage available on the market for just about any kind of vessel ever sighted on the seas. Although boat insurance can be costly, it is a worthwhile investment for those who are concerned with safety as well as the protection of their floating asset.



 

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