A boat is a big, exciting investment! It gives you the freedom to literally expand your horizons, meet new people, and enjoy adventures on the water. Owning a boat also has potential financial risks, which means you need a boat insurance plan. But which one is perfect for you? Here is a helpful guide on how to pick the best boat insurance policy for you and your family. There are even ways you may be eligible for discounts and reduce the amount you have to pay for boat insurance.
What does boat insurance in Florida cover?
Boat insurance in Florida may be able to cover everything from damages to your watercraft, vandalism, and liability-related charges. A critical question when it comes to boat insurance is not what it covers, but what coverage do you specifically need?
Florida boat insurance property coverage
A policy that includes boat insurance will provide you with coverage whether the boat is stored on water, land, or being operated in the water. There are two main types of coverage: actual cash value coverage as well as agreed amount coverage.
Actual cash value coverage takes into account of depreciation when you need to pay for things such as repairs.
Agreed amount coverage offers you financial compensation based on the agreed upon valuation of your boat. This is decided by both you and your insurance company when you are purchasing coverage.
Uninsured watercraft coverage
If you have uninsured watercraft coverage, that means that you can still have financial assistance in case you are involved in a collision with another boater who is either uninsured or underinsured. Not all policies offer uninsured watercraft coverage, so you may want to ask about it.
All risk insurance
If a policy is called “all risk”, it still may not comprehensively cover every type of loss. “All risk” insurance means that if a risk has not been omitted or excluded in the policy’s terms, then it is likely able to be covered.
Is Boat Insurance Required In Florida?
Before diving into the calculation specifics, let’s discuss some of the key aspects of boat insurance every vessel owner should know.
In the case of Florida, there is no legal requirement that states you must obtain insurance to properly operate a boat. Currently, only three states require boat insurance, but Florida is not among them.
However, such an investment is no small purchase. If you’ve taken out a loan using your boat as collateral, the lender will typically request that you obtain insurance to cover any potential damages to the boat.
And even though no law states boat insurance in Florida as mandatory, it would be ill-advised to go without it. If an accident occurs, boat damage and repair can result in thousands of dollars.
What Does Florida Boat Insurance Cover?
Just like car insurance, boat insurance offers various coverage types according to your budget and vessel needs. Property coverage for boats protects the boat from theft and damage resulting from an accident or sinking. This type of coverage insures the boat both on land and on water.
Also, boat owners can select a replacement cost coverage — choosing between cash value or an agreed value — if the boast is damaged or stolen.
If you select liability insurance for your boat, that means you’ve received protection in the case that your boat injures someone in an accident, or damages another homeowner’s property. Also, this insurance type will cover additional problems caused by your vessel, such as leaving a large wake.
In the case where one of these accidents takes place, your liability insurance will cover any legal fees if you’re sued over such an issue. Boat owners can also obtain medical payment coverage, which covers you and your passenger's medical bills in the case that someone gets injured in a boating accident.
Similarly, uninsured watercraft coverage lost protects your boat if an uninsured boater hits or causes damage to your vessel.
In addition to those listed above, boat owners can also invest in boat insurance add-ons or additional coverage for specific cases. These insurance types include coverage for boat trailers, towing, dock contract liability, boating accessories, mechanical breakdown, and other special equipment like fishing gear.
What Does Boat Insurance In Florida Not Cover?
Just as it's important to know what your insurance covers, you should also be aware of situations where your boat insurance will not apply. In general, boat insurance will not cover general wear and tear, including weathering, deterioration, mold, and insect damage.
Additionally, your insurance won’t cover damages inflicted on your boat by animals or marine life. If a raccoon ransacks your vessel, or barnacles eat away at your boat, these are incidents that you will have to pay to repair yourself. Defective or faulty machinery is also excluded from basic boat insurance policies.
But if your boat is damaged by a covered incident like a storm or collision with another vessel, your insurance policy will likely cover the damaged machinery in these cases.
Likewise, your policy may partially cover damages that the machinery causes to the rest of the watercraft. For example, if your water pump gets clogged because you haven’t cleaned it, that’s on you.
But if the water pump erupts and causes flood damage to the entirety of the boat, your policy might cover the damage caused to the boat from the water pump. Also, your boat insurance will not cover unnamed operators. Just like with auto insurance, anyone who isn’t listed as an operator on your insurance will not be protected if your boat gets into an accident.
Your insurance policy will also have navigation limits. If you sail out of a specified geographic region or areas that are off-limits, your boat insurance becomes obsolete. So, it’s important to understand on where your watercraft is and isn’t covered.
Common coverage add-ons
These are types of coverage that are usually not included in the typical boat insurance policy. However, they are common add-ons that you might want to consider getting for your insurance.
If you own some specific type of navigational equipment or an extra prop that is kept on your watercraft, you might need specialized coverage for it.
This also means that it is incredibly important to read the fine print of your insurance policy before you agree to pay for it, since it might purposefully exclude certain equipment that you assume is covered but is actually not protected.
Not all kinds of losses are from accidents. Rot, mold, and other kinds of damages may be covered if you choose a consequential damage add-on.
If you own an older boat or are worried about maintenance issues and costs, it could be helpful to ensure that your policy includes coverage for the different types of consequential damage.
If you plan on leaving your coverage perimeter, perhaps to travel outside of the United States, you might need to apply for an extension so that you have financial protection in more navigational waters.
Approval is important, so it is always a good idea to apply as early as possible once you find out that you might be going on a trip to somewhere outside of your usual perimeters.
If you get injured on a boat, you might be worried about medical costs, whether the victim is you and/or another party.
You might be surprised to learn that a boat insurance policy can cover medical costs as well, despite not being health insurance.
In cases of injury sustained on the boat, your additional medical policy may offer adequate coverage to make sure you are financially protected from treatment costs.
Liability coverage is critical if you are operating a boat. If you are found liable, which essentially means that you are proven responsible for an accident due to negligence or malice, then the litigation costs could be devastating.
Sometimes, you might get stranded on the water and need towing assistance. This might happen if your fuel filter became clogged somehow or if your batteries fizzled out. In these cases, you will probably need the help of towing services.
If your boat needs to be towed across the water for safety reasons, it can be quite expensive. A good towing policy add-on could save you a headache, since it means your policy can cover the necessary towing costs.
Fishing gear insurance
If you go fishing, you probably have expensive gear attached to your boat. However, sometimes fishing gear will get vandalized, stolen, or damaged. Some fishing gear and equipment may be costly to repair or replace, so make sure you have adequate fishing gear coverage.
Watersports gear insurance
Watersports, including jet-skiing, tubing, surfing, and more, come with expensive equipment. If you enjoy this hobby, you might want to add this specialized coverage to your boat insurance policy.
In Florida, there is always the possibility of watersports equipment being damaged by hurricanes or storms. It may also be vulnerable to vandalism or theft.
Faulty parts and repairs
The more well-built your boat, the less likely it is to fall apart and need repairs. But even the best world-class boats might just have things going wrong with them.
If there’s a fuel line spill, broken propeller, or another problematic faulty part, repair is probably necessary for the safe continued operation of the boat.
Be aware of what faulty parts your policy covers so that you can repair your boat without worrying about the costs.
Do you need luxury boat insurance?
Of course, a million dollar yacht won’t have the same cost of insurance as a budget, entry level Bayliner.
This means that the insurance rate and kind of coverage required might be quite different. If you need additional coverage in case of a major financial loss, luxury yacht or sailboat insurance may be desirable for you.
How is the boat insurance cost determined?
Many factors influence the rate of your boat insurance, including:
Deductibles you select for your boat insurance policy
Coverage limits of the policy
Type and size of the boat you are insuring
Boat storage location
Boat operational territory
The deductible is essentially the amount that you have to pay in case of any expenses such as a boating collision before your insurance coverage kicks in. A high deductible means that the insurance premium will be lower than if you have a low deductible.
A common way of approaching insurance deductibles is to choose a high deductible if you are worried about more “catastrophic” costs in case of a collision with injuries or total loss of your boat. Depending on your needs and financial statuses, you may have a different optimal deductible for your boat.
Insurance policies tend to have a coverage limit. A limit is the maximum insurance claim payout after a covered loss. This means that insurance companies will not pay the entirety of your expenses if they exceed the coverage limit.
While typically, insurance limits are hard to exceed, it is still important to be aware of the limits so that you can adjust your policy based on your needs.
Florida boat insurance discounts
Once you know what policy and types of coverage you want, you’re probably worried about the insurance premium. In Florida, the annual boat insurance can usually range anything from $100 to $700.
There are many factors influencing the exact cost of your boat insurance rate, such as boat type, boating history, coverage necessitated, and value of the boat. It’s important to be aware of what your policy covers and whether it’s enough or too much coverage.
Fortunately, there are ways in which you can get insurance premium discounts! Whether that’s through a discount tip and trick or chatting with our agents at Worth Insurance, here are some of the ways you may be able to net a cheaper boat insurance rate in Florida.
Just like if you’re a safe car driver, operating a boat safely means an insurance company might reward you with a safety discount if you ask for one.
You may be able to get a sweet discount if you keep extra safety equipment on your boat or if you get additional certificates for courses on boat safety. Showing a boating history without any accidents may also help garner you a safety discount.
Ask about ongoing discount offers
Many boat insurance companies will offer incentives in the form of additional discounts. It is often a good idea to ask your insurance company whether there are other discounts the company offers.
For example, a company may give you a discount if you are willing to pay the lump sum of a year of insurance coverage at the start instead of in monthly installments.
If you own a boat, it is likely that you also own an automobile, a house or apartment, or even multiple types of watercraft. If you need insurance for more than just your boat, you may be able to take advantage of bundle discounts that insurance companies tend to offer.
Insurance companies love it when you purchase and activate multiple insurance policies with them. That is why they typically offer multi-policy or bundle discounts, which help promote customer loyalty and confidence.
Make the most out of your boat warranty
If your boat encounters certain defects and needs to be repaired, you should check whether you have an active warranty for your boat. Usually, boat parts and boat engine defects show up within the warranty period of your model.
It is a good idea to make the necessary repairs when issues arise, that way you may be able to avoid costly expenses following a collision caused by defective parts you were aware of.
Check with an insurance advisor
Insurance can be tricky to navigate. Our team of advisors at Worth Insurance can consult with you to help you find out what kind of insurance might be optimal for you and your family in Florida.
Our experts are familiar with how to get cheap boat insurance that still offers adequate financial protection. You can get fast, meaningful insights into what kind of policy you might want to get for your boat. Make the most out of every penny you spend on insurance with Worth Insurance!
Boat insurance and hurricanes
It’s no secret that Florida has extreme weather conditions at times—insurance companies are very well aware of the fact. Hurricane damages can wreak havoc on a Florida marina, resulting in millions of dollars of boat damages.
A hurricane or severe storm can cause hazardous debris to fly around and destroy boats that are out in the water.
If you can prove to your insurer that you have devised a reasonable Hurricane Plan to keep your boat safe from hurricane damage, then the insurance company may offer you additional discounts.
How To Choose The Right Boat Insurance
Boating grants you immense freedom and enjoyment. Whether you’re fishing for a big catch or enjoying wakeboarding, your boat allows you to adventure and relax the way you want.
Unfortunately, a surprise accident can ruin your day and your boat. By choosing the right boat insurance for you, you can protect your investment. Let’s dive into what factors to keep in mind when picking your boat insurance.
Do you need boat insurance?
The only three states where boat insurance is mandatory for boat owners are Arkansas, Hawaii, and Utah. While boat insurance may not be legally required by the state you live in, many private marinas and ports require you to show them proof of insurance before they will let you dock your boat on their property. If you want to finance the purchase of your boat, banks also expect a minimum amount of coverage.
Reasons you need boat insurance:
Your boat could get caught in a storm or hurricane
Theft and vandalism do occur
If you accidentally damage someone else’s property or boat, repairs can be costly
Boat insurance will help you pay for any medical bills
How do I choose a useful boat insurance policy?
To know this, it’s essential to first know what the standard boat insurance policy is. Here’s what boat insurance typically covers:
Bodily injury coverage – Covers medical and legal bills that are related to any injuries sustained while on your boat
Property damage coverage – If you cause a boating accident that results in damages to someone else’s boat or property, property damage coverage will kick in and help out.
Collision coverage – If your boat is damaged following a collision and needs to be repaired, this kind of insurance
Comprehensive coverage – This helps you pay for any repairs needed by your boat if it was damaged for some reason other than a collision.
Uninsured and underinsured boaters insurance – Not everyone gets boat insurance. If either you or your boat gets into an accident with someone who doesn’t have any adequate coverage, having uninsured boaters insurance means you at least have help for your repairs or bills.
Medical payments coverage – The good part about medical payments coverage is that it doesn’t matter who is at fault for medical injuries, it will kick in and cover the bills.
If you purchase a boat insurance policy, it’s important to double check and see what coverage you obtain. While the above is what a basic boat insurance policy will have, you may not require every single kind, or you may not need high coverage limits. If you want extra coverage, many insurance companies will offer add-ons and endorsements so you can customize your policy to suit your needs.
What is the minimum boat insurance I need?
Generally, you want to at least cover liability insurance for your boat. That way you will be insured in case you damage someone else’s property or you are found liable for a boating accident. Medical payments for injuries occurring on your boat will also be covered, which can often be quite expensive.
If you have a homeowner’s insurance policy, it may provide some boat coverage, but it won’t be substantial. That is why it is usually advisable to procure proper boat insurance.
You can also check with your marina or port to see what minimum proof of insurance you need to show.
What boat insurance add-ons do I need?
Boat insurance needs can vary greatly depending on what you use your boat for and what boat you have. Here are some common policy add-ons that boatowners opt into having:
Consequential damage coverage
On-water towing coverage
Boat trailer coverage
Fishing equipment coverage
Boat rental reimbursement
Coverage for if your cell phone falls overboard
Fuel spill coverage
How much should boat insurance cost?
Depending on what state you live in, what insurance carrier you choose, and what customizations you make, boat insurance can cost anything from $200 to $500 a year.
Your boat is a serious financial investment. It’s critical to make sure you have adequate boating insurance, that way if any unexpected accident occurs, you won’t have to break the bank to pay for repairs or medical expenses.
What insurance company should I choose?
When you’re shopping for insurance, it can be a pain to compare different quotes and see which is the most affordable option. It’s a good idea to sift online to see customer reviews, that way you can get an idea of how well received a certain company is and how their claims process works.
If you want the fastest, most affordable quotes, reach out to Worth Insurance. We help you compare competitive quotes from top boat insurance carriers quickly. Shop for boat insurance now.
Get the best boat insurance for you
Owning a boat is both a financial and a sentimental investment. Adequate insurance coverage can go a long way in protecting you and your family from any expenses, such as collision-related damages, injuries, and other kinds of losses.
Our experienced team at Worth Insurance can help you get affordable quotes for the type of insurance that is optimal for you. The process takes only a few minutes, and then you can get the lowest quotes from the top boat insurance providers!