Back To Basics – Boat Insurance 101

By Patrick Farrell March 30, 2009

Boat Insurance

Whether you are an experienced captain or new to boating, you should always review your marine insurance policy to make sure you know the ins and outs of your coverage. In the spirit of new beginnings, let’s step back and define marine insurance and what certain coverages mean for the boater.

Marine insurance is meant to indemnify any financial loss due to damage to a ship and any accompanying properties, including the cargo, from port of departure to port of destination. Specialty marine insurance policies exist such as marine cargo insurance and marine business insurance, but for the recreational boater, most policies are written as individual watercraft insurance.

Individual watercraft insurance is aimed to target insurance of non-commercial usage watercraft. Similar to automobile insurance, individual watercraft insurance policies might not only cover property losses, but also offer individual protection and watercraft liability coverage.

The liability coverage may cover bodily injury to watercraft occupants, along with others who are involved in any accident. Further medical coverage is generally available in a separate policy rider. Uninsured boater coverage is available as well to cover any damage incurred from hit-and-run vessels, or from vessels which lack insurance coverage.

There is also the option of towing and salvage insurance. It can help with smaller incidents such as an engine failure, mechanical breakdowns, or even having fuel delivered to a stranded ship. Towing and salvage insurance can also help to offset the high costs associated with a vessel that has sustained much damage.

Agreed Value or Actual Cash Value forms are what are generally offered for hull coverage on a standard vessel. Because for insurance, it depends on the cash value policies to determine whether when the vessel ages if it will depreciate in value. NBOA Marine Insurance works only with the preferred Agreed Value coverage, which is a better option because whatever amount is on your policy is the amount we have “agreed” on paying. There is no depreciation on this coverage.

Similarly, boat insurance can cover any and all risks, or just risks and perils specified in the policy. No matter the policy type, it is very important to fully understand all of the stipulations which may render the policy null and void. For example, many policies specify navigational limits which render the policy void if exceeded. Depending on the area, accidentally exceeding navigational limits can be very easy on the water where boundaries are not well marked. Always be aware of your navigational limits, and be sure to contact your insurance representative before you leave.

Personal watercraft insurance is available for virtually all watercraft, from small pleasure boats and fishing boats, to large yachts and high-performance boats. Specialty coverage can include coverage for watercraft rentals, fishing excursions, and other charter boat trips. With a wide selection and options available, finding the right coverage for your craft and situation simply takes a phone call and NBOA can find the policy right for you. If you have any further questions about your policy, please do not hesitate to contact any of our experienced representatives at 800.248.3512.

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