You want to protect your boat from incidents and hazards and financial liability. But you don’t want your boat insurance premiums to stress your monthly budget. We know that boat insurance can be a pricy addition to the already large costs of owning a boat. Luckily, there are ways to save on boat insurance.
Boat insurance isn’t as regulated as other forms of insurance, so there can be a lot of variations based on your carrier and policy. Policies not only vary greatly, but they can also be priced high or competitively.
What can you do to ensure you find the right amount of boat coverage, at the best price? We’ll give you 12 ways to save on paying for your boat insurance, so you can be the captain of your ship with fewer worries and woes!
What boat insurance covers
Standard boat insurance will typically cover:
- Lightning, storms
- Explosions, riots, acts of terrorism
- Bodily injury liability
- Property damage liability
- Guest passenger liability
- Medical payments
Chat with your insurance agent to find out which covered perils are included in your boat insurance coverage.
Read: Optional Boat Insurance Coverage To Consider This Summer
What boat insurance does not cover
Most boat insurance will not include:
- Normal wear and tear
- Defective machinery
- Damage from animals
- Damage from mold, insects, and zebra mussels
Ask your insurance agent if your boat insurance covers salvage (towing), gadgets, mechanical breakdown, and emergency aid.
See the other 8 common boat insurance exclusions here.
How can you save on your boat insurance?
1. Know what coverage you need.
How do you use your boat? A lot of boat policies are custom or partially-custom written, so you can tailor it specifically to your maritime needs. If you don’t know what kind of coverage you need, you could end up paying a higher premium for policies that you don’t actually use. So it’s important to know what kinds of coverage you want, where you’ll be sailing, and how you’ll need to best protect your boat.
(See the most common sorts of boat insurance claims here.)
If you don’t know what kinds of coverage you need, talk to a trusted, licensed agent who can help find the right plan for you. Working with an InsuraMatch agent is the best decision for boat insurance, since we’re not trying to sell you on a specific company or plan. We look at a variety of quotes to make sure you find the best policy with the right amount of coverage for your individual boat needs. Give us a call today at (844) 824-2888.
What are your insurance needs? Find out here.
2. Get a marine survey.
We usually recommend getting a survey before you shop for insurance. This inspection will tell you the value of your boat, based on the vessel condition and market value, so you can work with your agent to get accurate quotes for the appropriate amount of coverage.
The survey valuation should be within 30 days of purchasing insurance. For convenience, you may want to get a survey when you take your boat in for maintenance, and then start comparing quotes.
3. Consider your deductible.
A lot of “experts” will tell you just to raise your deductible as high as you can, so you can get a lower insurance premium. But that’s not how it works.
First, the numbers aren’t proportional. It’s not like raising your deductible $1,000 will save you $1,000 in premiums. Although a higher deductible will result in lower premiums because you are assuming more risk, the cost difference may not be all that dramatic.
Second, if your deductible is too high, you could end up having to pay that cost out of pocket (and potentially more than once), without ever receiving assistance from your insurer on any claims.
So make sure you choose the right deductible (not necessarily the highest) that balances your risk tolerance, ability to pay the deductible out of pocket, and monthly budget for premiums. Learn more about insurance deductibles here.
4. Shop around.
Like any sort of insurance, comparing quotes is the best way to find the best boat insurance. Since boat insurance varies so dramatically in rates, getting multiple quotes can help you see exactly what you’re paying for and why.
InsuraMatch does the shopping for you. In just minutes, one of our insurance advisors can find you multiple quotes for your boat. Call us today at (844) 824-2888 and check out the benefits of using an independent insurance agency to shop for insurance rates.
5. Take a boating course.
Insurance companies want to know that you’re experienced out on the water. Taking a boating course shows that you have expertise, which means you’re a lower risk. (lower risk = lower premiums)
Most insurance companies will take into account if you’ve taken boating courses, and they may even give you a discount on your premiums. Reach out to your agent to see if there are any premium adjustments for safety-related boating courses.
6. Demonstrate responsibility.
Along with a boating course, insurance companies want to see that you’re a responsible driver overall. Lower risk individuals tend to have lower premiums for their coverage. Good driving records with few tickets and accidents, as well as a strong credit score can show whether or not you’re low-risk to your boat insurer. Anything that shows you’re responsible could help lower your premiums, so don’t be afraid to bring it up with your insurance agent.
7. Upgrade your boat gear.
A lot of insurance companies will offer safety discounts if you can prove you have certain safety items on-board. This includes:
- Lifejackets and personal flotation devices
- Life rafts
- Throw-able flotation devices
- Fire extinguishers
- Personal locator beacons (EPIRB)
- Visual and sound signaling devices
- High water alarms
- Extra bilge pipes
- Emergency kit
- First aid kit
Your insurance company wants to know that you’re taking steps to protect against liability claims (someone getting injured due to your boat) as well as damage to your own boat.
Talk to your insurance agent about safety items they require in order to get a discount.
8. Consider actual cash value.
There are two types of “payouts” for your boat insurance claims in the case of a total loss. Actual cash value means you’ll receive the value of the boat at the time of damage, including depreciation. Agreed amount value (or replacement cash value) means you’ll receive the value of the boat as it was surveyed and agreed upon when you purchased the policy (or at the most recent insurance valuation).
For example, you purchase a $50,000 boat. Agreed amount value means you’d likely get about $50,000 in the case of a total loss. However, two years later, your boat is now worth $35,000. If you have an actual cash value policy, you’d receive $35,000 from your insurance company.
Actual cash value tends to have lower premiums, because you would be paid less in the case of a claim. However, you’ll also receive less money and it may not be enough to replace the boat. It’s important to balance your risk and monthly budget to see which kind of payout works best for you.
9. Be aware of your navigational limits.
Marine policies have navigational limits, meaning you can only sail around in a specific territory. The smaller and safer that territory, the lower your insurance premium will be.
Let’s say you spend most of your time boating around the Jersey Shore. This is pretty safe and secure, so your premiums wouldn’t be as high as someone who sails their boat from California to Hawaii frequently.
Now, let’s say you want to sail down from the Jersey Shore to the Bahamas on a family vacation one year. You probably don’t actually need to redo your navigational limits (which would raise your premiums). You can reach out to your insurance agent to get a local cruising range policy, so you can purchase a rider for the territory you’re planning to cruise to on vacation for that one-time event. This will save you money while also giving you freedom to sail as you please.
10. Think about your layup period.
We don’t recommend ditching your boat insurance while storing during the off-season. Damages can still occur to your boat, even when it’s stored away. Plus, lapses in coverage—even for a season—mean you’ll likely have higher premiums come springtime.
Instead, chat with your insurance agent about layup period credits. Some insurance companies will give you a discount during the winter months to incentivize holding your insurance. You may also have the option to minimize unnecessary coverage while the boat is not in-use (like liability).
Read: Cold Weather Boat Insurance Considerations
11. Avoid small claims.
You wouldn’t go to the doctor for a little scratch, and you don’t want to go to your insurance company for every little thing, either. The more claims you make on your insurance, the higher your premiums will be. Of course, your insurance is there to protect you. But it also makes sense to weigh the financial responsibilities, so you’re not losing money in the long run with every claim you make.
For example, a gust of wind breaks your mast. It’s going to cost $1,000 to repair. Your deductible is $500. Your insurance company would pay out $500. They could theoretically raise your premiums $20 a month for that claim. That means in just over two years, your monthly premiums will start costing you more than what you would have had to pay out of pocket. (These numbers are just examples.) For some people, they’d rather pay out that $1,000 to keep premiums low and save their insurance for larger claims.
Also, if you have a lot of claims on your history, your insurance company will assume you’re a higher risk. That means they might radically increase your premiums the next time you look to purchase boat insurance.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a claim on your boat if you need it. Your insurer is there to help! This just means you want to weigh your finances against the number and severity of claims to ensure you can keep your premiums low.
Bundling your insurance is always one of the smartest decisions to save money on your policies. Insurance companies want to be your one and only insurer. So they’ll usually offer great discounts if you bundle home, auto, boat, and other insurance from the same company.
Learn more about the advantages of bundling here.
Save on your boat insurance
There are a lot of ways to save on your boat insurance, and each carrier offers different discounts or guidelines. It’s worth inquiring about options for your premiums. Better yet, it might be worth shopping around to find the most competitive option for your boat insurance.
So reach out to an InsuraMatch advisor for help finding the best coverage, cost, and discounts for your boating needs, so you can get back out on the water with peace of mind.
Want more info? Read: The Ultimate Guide For Insuring Your Boat
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