Boat and Yacht Insurance – THERE IS A DIFFERENCE

By Patrick Farrell August 4, 2009

Boat Insurance Yacht Insurance

When you look at a boat insurance policy, you’ll notice the language is unlike your typical homeowners or auto policy. What you may not know is that vessel insurance can even vary from policy to policy, depending on a variety of factors. It is important to understand your coverages so you’ll know how to apply them based on your needs. Do you own a large cruiser or a small bowrider? There are many differences when it comes to insuring yachts and boats.

Yachts are classified as vessels 27 feet or more in length, while boats are 26 feet or less. No matter what type of vessel you have, when it comes to the type of policy, seek out Agreed Value. Agreed Value policies are cover all damages, except for sails, outboard motors, canvas covers, cushions or other specified items. They do not reflect depreciation or market value, which means you will get a greater settlement in the event of a claim. Other policies such as Actual Cash Value may be cheaper, but they also factor in depreciation and market value and will subtract that from your payout.

Also, when it comes to navigation limit, boat and yacht insurance policies can vary due to different exposures. For example, a boat policy typically includes unlimited overland transportation on a trailer, while a larger yacht policy would restrict overland trailering to only several hundred miles.

Deductible amounts can also differ. A yacht policy can offer deductibles of up to 3 percent for any hull damage. However, deductibles for a total loss, marine electronics loss or a windstorm loss can vary depending on your specific policy. By contrast, a boat policy offers a flat deductible, typically of $250, $500 or $1,000.

Because yachts inherently incur more risk due to their size and navigation, the liability feature of yacht insurance provides broad coverage designed to shield you from the effects of the maritime law. Your coverage is much broader than with a typical watercraft liability policy and offers protection to permissive users, captain and crew liabilities, along with the Jones Act, a federal law that allows a seaman who gets injured on the job to bring a suit for damages against his or her employer.

In addition, yacht insurance addresses salvage to a damaged yacht, legal liability to remove a sunken wreck and uninsured boater coverages. In a typical boat policy, only general liability protection is included. For example, if your boat sinks in the Great Lakes or any of its tributaries, the U.S. Coast Guard says it must be raised. There will be salvage costs, fuel clean-up – and you’ll have to pay the bill regardless of your coverage.

While most yacht policies provide salvage coverage, they do so in different ways. Some choose to limit the dollar coverage to a stated amount or percentage of the hull amount.

Another very important part of the salvage issue is wreck removal. Some companies include wreck removal under their hull coverage, which then limits its value. A true yacht policy will include it under the protection and indemnity limit, which will provide much higher limits and additional coverage.

Another difference is that in yacht policies, your legal defense is in addition to protection and indemnity limits, while boat policies offer legal defense within the limit of liability.

Yacht policies have warranties, including the seaworthiness, navigation limits territories, and navigation lay-up limits. While some boat policies do not require warranties, others may incorporate them.

Many boaters consider adding their vessels to their homeowner’s insurance in an attempt to reduce their costs. Although the cost is substantially less when you add a boat to a homeowner’s policy, you don’t get near the coverage. In this case, the old adage still holds true – you get what you pay for. The bottom line is not the amount of your policy premium, but how much you will collect at the time of loss.

For more information on boat and yacht insurance, or to talk to an experienced agent about different coverage options, contact NBOA Marine Insurance. Representing several A+ rated carriers, their insurance specialists will be able to create a customized policy that fits your specific needs and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Call 1-800-248-3512 or visit for more information.

Get Quote