We already know that car insurance pricing is about “you,” and home insurance is about “where.” With boat insurance, it’s about “what.” Unsurprisingly, a 12-ft. dinghy will carry less premium expense than a 30-ft runabout. While sizes matter, much more remains.
Primary pricing components
Below you will find a comprehensive list of the main factors considered when determining a boat insurance premium.
- Type – There are many different styles of boats. A fishing boat will cost less to insure than a deck boat. For this example, the greater the size, not length, the more you can expect to pay for insurance.
- Length – A boat’s length plays a big part in the insurance cost and overall eligibility. Boats more than 27-feet from bow to stern will be more expensive to insure, and the longer ones are more challenging to find an insurance carrier to insure. The average-sized family boat is 20-ft. so usually not a problem.
- Age – Boats older than 25 years are often cheaper to insure, and the reason is that the insurance company offers less coverage on an older boat. So while the cost to insure might be low, so might the protection.
- Horsepower – The more powerful it is, the more you will pay.
- Speed – Anything above 50mph and the cost to insure your boat will begin to accelerate! Most of the time, the speed is appropriate for the boat type. A pontoon is not about to travel at speed above 50mph, but a cuddy certainly will. Once over 75mph, the speed of the insurance carriers leaving the conversation will be the same.
- Motor – They can be expensive to replace, and there can also be more than one. Outboard engines are easier to access and therefore easier to repair, and inboard motors are harder to access and can drive up the insurance price.
- Value – How much is it worth? The higher the value, the more the insurance carrier shells out. Newer boats will yield a higher insurance price tag than a 15-year-old option.
- Waters – Where you sail is another consideration, and inland waterways are the preferred option for insurance companies. Anything beyond occasional use on coastal waters, and you can expect some extra costs and additional questions to answer.
- Storage – Though more “where” than “what,” how the boat gets stored during the off-season is also a factor. When laid-up, it’s best to be inside a closed storage facility.
Other premium drivers
In addition to the specific details about the boat, there are particular insurance coverage options to consider. As with all insurance policies, the more coverage you select, the more premiums will increase. Many of the following options are worth every penny in the right (or wrong) circumstances.
- Towing – If your boat dies on the water, do you want to rely on the current? Towing costs a little extra, but you’re on Oneida Lake with the kids, add a dead battery; this could be a great benefit.
- Roadside Assistance – Adds protection if the trailer is on the boat policy. Roadside assistance is a valuable coverage option if your truck/SUV breaks down and leaves the boat behind.
- Wreckage Removal – If the boat sinks to the bottom of Skaneateles Lake, it can’t stay there!
- Fuel Spill Liability – Many lakes supply drinking water to communities. An accident on the water can lead to fuel spilling into the water, and the cost to clean it up can be significant.
- Personal Effects – The items bolted down throughout the vessel are already covered, but your personal belongings are not. Consider the fishing gear, Bluetooth speakers, and other loose items.
Is that it?
Almost, but not entirely. There is still the “You” factor to consider. Just like with auto insurance, your credit history will carry weight. Past credit problems can increase the overall rate. That’s not even the most significant item, though. What’s most important is your past claims history. Insurance carriers will go back five years to determine if you’ve had to file a claim on any watercraft insurance policy you have had. Prior claims can drastically affect the premium. More than one claim in the past five years can diminish the number of carriers willing to offer a policy.
What’s my next step?
The Horan Companies team of insurance professionals is here to help guide you through those insurance decisions. Call or contact us, and remember, we will not spam you or sell your information. To make it easy, we’ve added a short inquiry form below. Give that a quick fill-in, and one of our insurance pros will reach out. We’ve got you.