How to Insure Your Boat
While boat insurance is not required in every state, it's something you definitely want to consider. Insurance rates in Texas and other states fluctuate, so insuring your boat takes a few, yet simple, steps.
Factors to Consider
Just like taxicab insurance rates or other types of insurance, a company is not required to insure your boat simply because you ask. The company will ask you some questions about the boat. In addition to discussing types of boat insurance and what type of boat you have, other factors affect your insurability. Some of these include:
- Length of boat
- Age of the craft
- Condition (this is directly correlated with US Coast Guard standards
- Where you will use the boat (ocean, lakes, rivers)
- Where the boat is "parked"
- Who owns the boat (more than two owners can be problematic)
Other conditions that may affect insurability concern whether the boat is homemade or not, and whether it is a houseboat, as some houseboats have no motor. It's good to be prepared when you are comparing insurance rates, so you can get the best deal.
Different Types of Boat Insurance
While cars offer insurance rates by car model, boats can be quite different. Automobiles also use insurance rates by car and age, but when it comes to boats, there are two main types of insurance. Your boat will either be insured by something called "agreed value" or "actual cash value." Actual cash value types of insurance are less costly at the outset, but depreciation of value is considered. So, as the boat ages, your payout will be less, should you need to file a claim. Agreed value insures the boat for an unchanging value on the day you sign the policy; however, it is more costly when you begin the policy.
Boat Coverage Types
All insurances are vastly different, and you'll find that mobile home insurance rates, FEMA insurance rates, taxi insurance rates and boat insurance rates differ widely. If you're familiar with different types of insurance, even including builders risk insurance rates, you know that you must read the fine print when it comes to your coverage, especially to find the cheapest insurance rates. Quite simply, you may not need as much coverage as the company is offering. Different types of boat insurance coverages include:
- Specialized. Perhaps you want to only cover one part of your boat against damage, such as navigation equipment.
- Towing. Towing a boat is a costly matter; some boat owners simply get towing insurance, which completely covers the cost of a tow.
- Consequential damage. This type of insurance covers damage that results from simple wear and tear (and not from an accident).
- Cruising extension. If you are leaving the United States (and taking a cruise to Bermuda, for instance), you'll need this temporary coverage to protect you when you leave US waters.
- Salvage. This coverage pays to remove your boat in case of any type of damage.
As you're shopping for average boat insurance rates, make sure you ask how the claims process works. The most important question to ask is whether your agent will handle all aspects of the claim (such as towing and salvage). You also want to ensure that the claims process is quick and easy. It would be a mistake to grab the most cost-effective insurance that also includes a complicated claims policy, should you need to file.
Finding the Best Boat Insurance for Your Needs
Finding the best rates on insurance is perhaps your most important goal, but you want to consider all of the factors as you compare insurance rates. As boat is property, you may also want to consider title insurance, depending on your boat. Just as with other types, title insurance in PA and other states can vary widely, so it's wise to scrutinize it as you would other types of insurance. To get the best rates for your boat, consider these factors:
- Deductible. If you have a higher deductible, your premium will be more cost-effective. This is true for insurance of all types.
- Liability limit. Your cost will be higher on liability insurance with a higher liability limit. A lower liability limit equals lower cost.
- Being a good driver. Your agent will check both your driving and boating records. If both are sterling, you'll be offered a lower rate.
- Safety certifications. If you've passed a boat safety training course, you'll likely be offered a lower rate.