With summertime right around the corner, many New England residents are eager to get out and enjoy the warm weather. With beaches and lakes opening up, these destinations become a hot spot for locals and vacationers alike. Where there is water, you can be sure that there are plenty of boats. When the sun comes out, individuals start to get out on the water for even more excitement. Owning a boat is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects an individual or family can accomplish. From a casual fishing trip, to water skiing with the family, to finding that perfect spot to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July, the possibilities are endless when you own your own boat.
In order to protect your boat and all of the memories that it has created (and those yet to be made), you must find the right insurance policy. Even the most seasoned boaters can struggle when it comes to insuring their vessels. By following these 5 steps, boat owners will be able to grasp the concept of insuring their boats with much more ease.
1 - Every boat is unique: All boats are made differently depending on the use it was intended for. The rusty aluminum fishing boat that has been handed down in the family for 50 years is much different than the sailboats or yachts you'll see out on Nantucket. Because each boat is distinct, the policy that covers your boat needs to be distinct as well. Knowing all about your boat will help you to find the best policy.
2- Understand boat insurance policies - Providers usually offer two types of boat insurance, Actual Cash Value policies and Agreed Value policies. Actual Cash Policies are the cheaper of the two because the policy pays out the value which the boat was worth when an incident occurred. A big factor within this policy is the depreciation of the boat over time. Less expensive boats would be better suited for Actual Cash Value policies. Agreed Value policies are more expensive but cover much more. This policy covers the stated value of the boat in the occurrence of a total loss. Also included in this specific policy is the partial loss factor - this replaces a lot of items on a "new for old" policy.
The best way to understand a policy sometimes is to talk to other boaters. The boating community is one of the most friendly communities established. Boat owners would be more than happy to lend a few pointers or refer their agents to new boaters.
3- Search Around: After assessing your boat and being sure you know all of it's nooks and crannies, it's time to start looking for the insurance. Don't be afraid to explore multiple websites - this is what the internet is made for. Many insurance agencies will give quotes directly from their website. Any free time you have should be spent researching and comparing quotes. Many insurers will have you complete a survey in order to give you the most optimal quote for your scenario. This way, the company is able to understand exactly what your boat looks like and requires for insurance.
Companies take everything into consideration when it comes to your boat - where you will be boating, how often, and even the purpose of it. If you are water skiing, you should expect to have more coverage. Anything else that is on the boat is also up for insurance. Radios, trailers and equipment for fishing or other activities all can be insured within a policy. Frequently active boats can expect to see a million of liability on their policy - this means in the event of an accident, you have up to 1 million dollars in general liability.
* A convenient method that works in more cases than not is that your current home or car insurer will be able to bundle your boat into your present policy and be able to reduce your monthly rate.
Another thing to take note of is your driving record. A clean record could substantially lower your rates!
4 - Get to know your boat insuranceagent: Sure, your agent may know everything about houses and cars, but do they know about boat motors and other marine damages that frequent boats? Some companies will cover boats, but know little to nothing about the coverage or what to expect. Having an agent who knows the minimum amount about boats may not be the ideal candidate. Make sure that your agent is knowledgeable about marine vehicles before trusting them to cover it.
5 - Pick a policy: Now that you have researched and spoken with boaters and potential agents, you should feel much more comfortable to select the policy that best suits you and your boat!
It's now time to get out on the water and show off your newly insured boat!