Questions to Ask Before Buying Boat Insurance

  • Does your policy cover salvage assistance?

  • Salvage assistance is a provision of a boat insurance policy that pays for all or part of the substantial costs of salvaging the boat if it has sunk or run aground. This coverage is in addition to any costs paid for the value of the lost or damaged boat. While this insurance is valuable, it usually requires an additional premium, so consumers need to decide whether they truly need salvage assistance they want or need.
  • Does your policy cover hurricane haul-out?

  • Hurricane haul-out coverage is an additional provision offered in some insurance policies. This coverage is designed to prevent boat damage from a hurricane or other major storm by guaranteeing relocation of the boat once there is a warning. It also guarantees that there will be a safe place to store the boat prior to the storm warning, when it can be difficult finding places to store a boat. Again, this feature usually involves an additional premium.
  • What about fuel spill coverage?

  • Boat insurance policies may also include fuel spill coverage to provide liability insurance for property damage or personal injury due to accidental fuel or oil spill from an insured boat when the boat owner is responsible. The amount of fuel spill coverage will depend on a number of factors, including the type of boat and where it will be used. Some policies may require an additional premium for this coverage.
  • Travel insurance: Is my policy in effect both domestically and internationally?

  • Some insurance policies include travel Insurance to cover costs related to delayed or canceled travel because of the boat, including hotel costs or airfare. Insurance policy protections can vary widely, because some only operate domestically while others provide international coverage. Boat owners who plan to take long trips on their boats may want to purchase this type of insurance to ensure their safe return in case the boat is damaged and can no longer be used.
  • Does insurance coverage for my boat only cover property?

  • Boat insurance usually provides coverage for both property and liability claims. Liability claims involve lawsuits related to the actions of the boat, including property damage, injury to others, and indirect damage from an incident like a fuel spill. Often, the liability portion of a policy will include a duty to defend provision to cover the costs of defending against a lawsuit arising from the boat. However, some boat owners may find that they have adequate liability insurance through another policy and decide to only purchase property insurance for their boat. They still need to discuss these issues with an insurance agent to make sure they have adequate but not overlapping coverage.
  • What about injuries to persons aboard my boat?

  • Similar to auto insurance, most insurance policies for boats include coverage for injuries to passengers on board the boat, called medical payments coverage. The coverage usually applies to the named policyholder as well as other passengers and covers some or all of the medical costs associated with any injury sustained while on the boat. However, the details of different policies and how much insurance is provided can vary.
  • How are claims processed?

  • It is important to understand how claims are processed to ensure payment is timely. Insured boat owners need to know how to report and file a claim on their insurance policy, and what paperwork is necessary to expedite the claim. In some cases, the claim will go through an agent, but other times the boat owner might need to make a claim by calling a dedicated number at their insurance company. Any costs associated with a boat accident should be documented well for more efficient reimbursement.
  • What is your customer complaint rate?

  • When evaluating an insurance company for their insurance offerings, consumers should ask about the customer complaint rate to measure just how satisfied current customers are with company policies and procedures. Insurance policies are only as effective as the process that occurs when a claim is filed. The best insurance companies have a strong reputation for handling claims quickly and easily, with minimal stress for consumers.
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