What You Need to Know About Boat Insurance

How to pick the right boat insurance

Different companies provide boat insurance policies differently, so it’s important to research your options. Here are some tips to help you decide which boating insurance policy is right for you. The guidelines are provided by BoatU.S., the national group of boat owners.

Knowing your insurance provider – One way to find a decent insurance company is to ask friends who have had a claim in the past. The way in which an insurance company manages expectations is a better indicator than taking monthly premiums.

What You Need to Know About Boat Insurance

Among other sites, you can check out www.ambest.com/ratings for insurance providers. Look for an “A” rating (excellent) or better when rating an insurer; the ratings are industry standard for assessing an insurer’s financial strength. Regulatory agencies for state insurance companies can be found online and are also a great source of information.

• Consider purchasing a separate boat insurance policy rather than applying it to your homeowner’s policy since the latter also excludes such marine-related hazards as salvage, wreck disposal, pollution, or environmental harm. The boat should have a different but equivalent amount of funds available for any rescue work, regardless of how much it is insured for.

• Boaters must choose between two options: agreed value and actual cash value, and depreciation is what distinguishes them. An “agreed value” policy insures your boat for the sum you and your insurer agree on. Although it is usually more expensive upfront, there is no depreciation if the boat is totaled (some partial losses may be depreciated). Real cash value plans, on the other hand, are less expensive upfront, but they factor in depreciation and only pay up to the actual cash value when the boat is considered a total or partial loss, or when the property is lost.

•If you trailer your boat far from home, you can need fishing gear and tournament coverage, as well as “cruising extensions.” If you live in a temperate climate, you may want to consider “freeze coverage,” since this is where the majority of this type of damage occurs. There will be no surprises if you choose a reliable insurer who will tailor your policies to your specific needs.

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