Home Insurance Rider vs. Separate Boat Insurance

Many boat owners obtain a boat insurance policy through a rider on their homeowner's policy. The homeowner's policy is the most common way for people to insure their home and other possessions, including expensive items such as boats. Using a rider on this type of policy to insure a boat can be as simple and convenient as checking a box on an insurance application.

A rider on a homeowner's insurance policy may be purchased for a small premium and may appear less expensive than buying a stand-alone insurance policy. However, insuring a boat through this type of rider does have limitations related to the size or type of boat and proper coverage. The insurance may be too limited for some boat owners, with less coverage provided and/or fewer provisions for salvage assistance or hurricane haul-out.

By contrast, a stand-alone insurance policy can be more customized for clients compared to a rider. This type of insurance can provide coverage for a wider range of boats, the ways they are used (i.e., long-distance trips vs. lengthy storage times), and whether they are located in areas prone to hurricanes or other risks. These policies may have higher limits, but they often include provisions not found in a homeowner's insurance policy rider and cover additional aspects of the boat, such as furnishing and fixtures.

To obtain a stand-alone policy, boat owners are advised to find an agent who can provide an insurance policy rather than working with their existing home insurance company. Stand-alone boat insurance tends to be more expensive than a rider because they are typically used for larger vessels and provide more coverage in case of an accident, passenger injury or boat damage.

Owners of small craft seeking the most basic type of insurance may find the coverage they need in a home insurance policy rider, but those who need more options, want higher limits, or have a large vessel should consider obtaining a stand-alone insurance policy.

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