Buying Boater’s Insurance
Best tips for buying boater’s insurance
We’ve all seen this commercial.
Choosing Your Policy
When shopping for insurance, if you have no mortgage on the vessel, you have the ability to choose how much and what kind of coverage you want. There are quite a few options depending on the agency. There’s towing, salvage, pollution liability, personal effects, and even coverage for your four-legged friends.
All marine lending institutions require ample insurance coverage on vessels over 26’ in length. Basic marine insurance includes coverage for hull damages in the water or on the land. Also, P & I, or protection and indemnity or injuries resulting in claims or for property damage claims is included in the marine insurance. Insurance binders naming the loss payee are due prior to or at the time of the vessel closing.
Many boaters might not realize that their policy only covers their boat when it is in a certain region, i.e. Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. There is insurance coverage called coastal extension that will cover your boat if you plan to travel somewhere outside of your area. It is increasingly popular to find marine insurance companies who offer to pay for haul out fees when a named hurricane is imminent. If you plan to keep your boat on coastal waters, be sure and find out how your insurance company views hurricane haul outs.
Finding the Best Price
Now we’re at the part that often matters the most to some boaters. “How much is this going to cost me?” and “Can I save money?” are questions that come to mind. In order to get the best price, consider the following:
• Wintertime Blues- You can also ask if there is a discount for your off-season time of the year. In other words, is there a lay up period?
• Get a few more Electronics- Extra safety equipment on board may reduce the cost of the premium. Certain safety electronics may be worth buying and installing to reduce the premium. Do a cost analysis and see if the additional electronics are worth getting to reduce your payments. You always want to be safe on the water.
• Take a Class- Just like auto insurance, a boater’s education can reduce the risk level and the cost of their insurance.
• Safe Driving Record – Boaters with excellent driving records will typically qualify for a lower insurance premium. Just like with car insurance, a safe driving record often translates to better marine insurance rates. If your driving record is not good, expect to pay more for marine insurance, too.
Make sure to shop around before settling on one policy. Some quotes may vary by as much as $200.00. Talk to other boaters about their vessel insurance and how claims were addressed. Saving a little money is always a good thing, but you also want to be sure that you get the right coverage so it doesn’t cost more in the end.
Good Luck and Happy Sailing!