The first thing to know is that your current homeowners or auto policy does not necessarily extend to provide coverage to your boat. Unless you’re purchasing a boat without an engine, or something similar to a sailboat, then the current policy most likely will not extend. Insurance professionals agree that boats are a unique situation, and as such, require their own distinct policy. This is due, in part, to the different risks a boat will face compared to a home. Although boat insurance may contain aspects of both a homeowners and an auto policy, the circumstances that trigger coverage may be different, which is another reason boat insurance is unique.
The second thing to remember is that the types of coverage available in a boat policy vary based on the coverage purchased, as well as where your boat is at that time. The coverage available to your boat varies greatly, and this depends primarily on whether your boat is in or out of the water. For example, if your boat is being towed by your vehicle and you happen to back into someone else, it is your auto policy that provides coverage to the third-party. Additionally, when your boat is parked on your home property, then your homeowners insurance may extend to provide some coverage. These terms will vary based on your policy, and are something to discuss with your agent or broker to confirm. If you have concerns about coverage in or out of the water, above and beyond your boat policy terms, then your agent or broker can discuss additional options that fit your needs.
Finally, the last thing to remember is that boat insurance does not provide a blanket valuation or navigation coverage. The value of your boat, as discussed in your policy terms, may be set as an agreed value or a market value. As with vehicles, boats depreciate in value over time. When purchasing your policy, discuss your boat’s value with your agent or broker, and review the benefits of listing a specified value for your boat compared to utilizing the current market value. Additionally, take the time to discuss where you plan to take your boating trips. Many boat insurance policies have different navigational limits, which can impact where your boat has coverage. These coverage options can also vary based on the size of your boat, which is another factor to take into consideration. If you have any concerns about the navigational coverage provided before a trip, it’s best to speak to your insurance provider about your plans and confirm what is, or is not, covered.