The Best Boat Insurance: How To Get a Quote Today

Premier Angler is a freshwater fishing resource and brand written, edited, curated, and crafted by fishing enthusiasts for fishing enthusiasts. We also participate in the Bass Pro Shops Affiliate program. Some links on this page may direct you to the Bass Pro Shops website. If you make a purchase through one of those links, we may receive a small commission.

You’ve Got a Boat. Now You Need Boat Insurance

Do You Need Boat Insurance
Photo via Wayne National Forest

For the roughly 50 million anglers who fish in The United States each year, the dream is usually to own the nicest boat on the water. For many, simply owning a boat in the first place would be a nice start.

Others can’t seem to stop themselves from upgrading.

That 16.5′ Bass Tracker eventually becomes a 18 foot Ranger. Then, the inevitable upgrade to a Lund or Triton takes over.

Before long, many anglers have an easy $50,000 in their boat. When you add up the cost of motors, gear, and miscellaneous items, lots of boats cost more than a brand new truck.

Now, since you have insurance for your home, your vehicles, your health and even your life, it makes sense to have insurance for your boat, right?

Even if you own a fairly modest rig, making sure you insure your vessel is always a smart idea.

Below, we will take a look at some of the reasons why you should carry boat insurance, as well as some reputable providers who regularly insure boats.

Do You Need Boat Insurance?

Bassmaster Classic Boat
Photo via Michael McCarthy/Flickr

If you landed on this article, that might be the question you were hoping to answer.

As with most questions, the answer is: it depends.

Let’s expand upon that a bit, though. Ultimately, the answer is no, you do not need to carry boat insurance (in most cases).

States Where Boat Insurance is Required

Now, there are a few exceptions. Three states require conditional boat insurance requirements. They are:

  • Arkansas: Your are required to carry a minimum of $50,000 liability coverage if your boat is powered by a 50 HP motor or higher
  • Hawaii: Only boats that are parked in the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation facilities require insurance. If this applies to you, your liability insurance needs to be at least $500,000.
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation
  • Utah: Bodily injury coverage of $25,000/$50,000 and property damage coverage of $15,000, or a combination of $65,000 for both. This only applies to boats powered by 50 HP or higher motors, however.

States Where Boat Insurance is Not Required

Outside of the three aforementioned states, no other state in the U.S. requires boat insurance.

In other words, you are need legally required to carry any form of boat insurance in the following states:

  • Michigan
  • New Mexico
  • Montana
  • Texas
  • Massachusetts
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Wyoming
  • Vermont
  • New York
  • Arkansas
  • West Virginia
  • South Dakota
  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • Rhode Island
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • Alaska
  • Wisconsin
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Pennsylvania
  • Nevada
  • Colorado
  • California
  • Maine
  • Oklahoma
  • Delaware
  • South Carolina
  • Indiana
  • North Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Arizona
  • New Hampshire
  • Minnesota
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • Washington
  • Maryland
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee

Now, just because you aren’t required to carry boat insurance doesn’t mean you should neglect it. In fact, for what you pay per month, you could save yourself thousands (or more) in the long run.

When Should You Buy Boat Insurance?

How Much Does it Cost to Insure Your Boat
Photo via Aaron Schultz/Premier Angler

While it’s definitely a good idea to carry some form of boat insurance, not everyone who uses a watercraft necessarily needs it.

Let’s take a look at some instances where you don’t need to insure your vessel:

  • Canoes
  • Kayak
  • Inflatable Fishing Rafts
  • Inexpensive Jon boats with older, smaller engines (think 9.9 HP or lower)

Now, if you are investing a few thousand dollars in your fishing kayak, you might want to reconsider. Plans can normally be purchased starting at under $100 per year.

For folks who have thousands (or more) wrapped up into their boats, however, you will definitely want to consider the possibility of purchasing boat insurance.

If you own any of the following, then you should continue on to some the best boat insurance plans listed below:

  • Very large boats (like yachts)
  • Speed boats or river cruisers
  • Recreational or fishing boats with 50 HP or higher motors
  • Newer boats (regardless of engine size) that cost more than $10,000
  • Jet/water skis, wave runners, etc.
  • Fishing Kayaks worth several thousand dollars

There’s More Than Just the Cost of Your Boat to Consider

Now, here’s the catch. While you might not worry about the value of your boat, accidents happen on the water all the time!

In 2019 alone, over 4,100 boating-related accidents were recorded by the U.S. Coast Guard. The financial damages amounted to well over fifty million dollars!

Even worse, however, is the fact that those accidents accounted for over 600 lost lives.

When you are considering purchasing boat insurance, then, you are making a commitment to cover more than just the cost of your boat. When other peoples’ property (and lives) are at stake, you want to make sure your bases are covered!

This is especially true if you plan on partaking in recreational boating, jet skiing, or other higher-risk activities on lakes and rivers with lots of traffic.

Will My Home Insurance Cover Boats, Kayaks, and Fishing Gear?

Kayak Fishing_PFD Life Jackets
Kayak Fishing with a PFD Vest (photo via Brandon McGraw/Camping Coyotes/Premier Angler)

When it comes to home (or renter’s) insurance covering your boat, kayak, or fishing gear, the old adage returns: it depends.

That said, most home insurances only cover a property damage in low amounts. These rates can be roughly $1,000 or 10 percent of your home’s insured value.

Usually, these policies might cover an older, smaller boat (with less than 25 HP capacity) or low-cost kayak. If you have placed serious money into your watercraft, though, you will want to look at insurance policies that are specifically for boats and other aquatic vessels.

Here’s a helpful rule of thumb. If you watercraft is worth more than $2,000 (and, in some cases, just $1,000), you are better off looking at other options.

Will Auto Insurance Cover My Boat While I am Hauling It?

Again, it depends.

Many auto insurances will allow you to claim your trailer as part of the package.

Now, does that necessarily mean it will cover everything on the trailer? No.

For a more comprehensive answer, your will need to check with your auto insurance agent directly. There are far too many variables to try and determine an answer directly from this (or any other) article.

When it comes to figuring out what your home or auto insurance cover in relationship to your boat, then, the best bet is always to check those specific policies.

How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?

Like car or home insurance, there are lots of factors that can determine how much you will pay for boat insurance.

For starters, the length and weight of the boat are considered. Next, the overall value of the boat is factored in.

Finally, the types of waters you will be fishing or navigating, and how frequently, will also determine your cost. If you are planning on taking a to fish your local lake with a 9.9 HP limit a few times per year, your quote might be a bit lower.

Many boat insurance providers also request that operators take a boating safety course. This can also be a requirement on some lakes above a 9.9 or 20 HP limit.

You can also lower your monthly premium by taking on a higher deductible.

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

FLW Chevy Fishing Boat
Photo via US Army Corps of Engineers

Depending on the type of coverage you buy, boat insurance can cover quite a few things. Keep in mind that coverage under your home or renter’s policy may only cover the cost of the boat, trailer, and motor (and even then, just a portion if the boat is valued over $1,000-2,000).

The best boat insurance policies will cover some (or all) of the following, however:

  • Boat Theft: If your boat is stolen, you may be compensated for the entire value of the craft.
  • Theft of Property: Some property theft is covered under home insurance. This could include stolen fishing rods, trolling motors, fish finders and other electronics, or even tackle bags and boxes. Be sure to check your policy beforehand.
  • Property Damage: This included physical damage caused to someone else’s boat or other property.
  • Medical Costs: This is generally for the boat’s owner and passengers on that boat.
  • Bodily Harm: Generally refers to any injuries sustained by individuals who are not on your boat.
  • Guest or Borrower Liability: If someone uses your boat without your permission, this could help cover any legal expenses.
  • Towing: In the event of an accident, this helps cover the cost of having your boat towed.
  • Physical Damage to the Boat: This may include damage to your boat’s furnishings, fittings, hull, or permanent equipment. Damage resulting from general wear-and-tear, defective machinery, animal attacks, mold, or insects might not be covered, however.

Three Major Types of Boat Insurance: Which Is Best for You?

Finally, before we look at the best boat insurance providers and policies, it is important to consider the type of insurance you are looking for.

In the world of boating, there generally three major types of insurance you can purchase. They are:

  • Agreed Hull Value: In this type, you and your boat insurance provider will agree upon a certain value for your boat. If parts need replaced, they are replaced “new for old.” This policy type will pay the most whenever you make a claim, but will also carry the highest premiums.
  • Actual Cash Value: This policy type will cover the market price for your boat in the event of a total loss. While the payout will be lower, your will also pay a lower premium.
  • Liability Only: The least expensive policy type, it does not come with hull coverage. If you have a cheap boat with no lien holder and aren’t worry about replacing it in the event of an accident, this might be your best bet.

What Are the Best Boat Insurance Policies?

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s look at the best boat insurance policies.

When choosing a policy, you will want to look at more than just your monthly premium (the cost you pay out-of-pocket each month to maintain the policy). You will also want to look at the list of coverage options above and find policies that meet your specific needs.

Foremost Insurance Group

Foremost Insurance Group Logo

Foremost Insurance Group might not be the most recognizable name in the world of insurance. That said, some of the best boat insurance policies (and insurance policies in general) often come from companies without immediate name recognition.

In the case of Foremost, boaters will have a plethora of policy and discount options available.

In terms of standard coverage, boaters can expect the following with their Foremost policy:

  • Personal property
  • Towing and Roadside assistance
  • Personal liability
  • Trailer
  • Uninsured watercraft
  • Medical payments
  • Watercraft physical damage

Foremost also offers several packaging tiers, including “saver,” “plus,” and “elite.” Special packages, including those for pontoons and “classic” boats – those over 25 years old – are also available.

More of a WaveRunner or other personal watercraft lover? Foremost even covers those!

Nationwide

Nationwide Insurance logo

With Nationwide by your side, you can expect highest standards from one of America’s most reputable insurance providers.

While Nationwide does specify that not all of its policies an coverage models are available in every state, there is still a lot of like about its boat insurance offerings.

For starters, Nationwide has policies available for all levels of boater, including “overnighters,” “weekenders,” “light-tackle anglers” and “deep water pros.” As you can guess by these titles, there is a sliding scale of coverage options and, understandably, cost of premiums.

The list of coverage options for boat insurance is also impressive. Some or all of the following are available on Nationwide policies:

  • Personal effects insurance
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • On-water boat towing and labor
  • Uninsured/underinsured boater
  • Fishing equipment insurance
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Bodily injury and property damage liability
  • Roadside assistance (for boats and trailers)
  • Collision coverage

Farmer’s

Farmers Insurance Logo

Aside from having entertaining commercials, Farmer’s also offers some really great boat insurance packages.

While many providers will tailor packages specifically to their boater’s needs, however, Farmer’s keeps it simple. Most insured boaters will choose between three standard options:

  • Saver: The most basic (and affordable) option, this is the option for owners who want to cover the actual cash value of their boat
  • Plus: The mid-range option from Farmer’s, this package comes with additional options, including the “diminishing deductible”
  • Elite: The highest-end of the three, it is also the most expensive. This will come with all of the options found in the other packages. You can also obtain additional coverage if you plan to travel off the U.S. coast to Mexico or the Bahamas.

Like other boat insurance providers, Farmer’s also allows you to choose options specific to your type of boat. You can get coverage for “classic” models, pontoons, and performance crafts.

Markel

Markel Insurance Logo

Another name that many folks might not be familiar with, Markel has a solid reputation in the world of boat insurance.

Markel also offers plenty of perks for anglers. If you are a tournament angler, fishing guide, or the type who has invested in lots of gear, this might be the right company for you.

With annual packages starting around $100 per year, you can expect many of the following from the standard Markel boat insurance packages:

  • Watercraft liability
  • Wreck removal
  • Pollution liability
  • Theft away from home
  • Agreed value watercraft and equipment
  • Personal effects
  • Tournament fee reimbursement
  • Uninsured/underinsured boater
  • Medical payments
  • Replacement cost settlement
  • Trailer
  • Fishing equipment
  • Professional angler liability
  • Boat lift
  • Crash damage
  • General Theft
  • Emergency towing

Markel also offers discounts for boat operators over the age of 40. For folks with some years on them, it’s nice to be compensated for your tenure.

The biggest issue with Markel is probably the fact that not all policies are available in each state. For specific questions, be sure to follow up with an agent.

Allstate

Allstate Logo

One of the most recognizable names in the insurance world, it’s not surprising that Allstate offer comprehensive boat insurance.

Starting at around $20 per month, you can find a policy with Allstate that comes with tons of features. Comprehensive packages may contain some or all of the following:

  • Watercraft liability coverage
  • Agreed value
  • Property coverage
  • Medical payments
  • Uninsured watercraft coverage
  • Trailer coverage
  • Repair costs
  • Emergency services, including towing, oil, fuel, and labor
  • Additional equipment and personal effects

Allstate also offers a handful of discounts. You can save between 5 and 10% when you complete a boater safety course, owning a home, and paying your premium in full.

You can even safe a whopping 20% when you combine you Allstate home and boat insurance policies!

Progressive

Progressive Logo

Another national powerhouse, Progressive is another trusted brand in the insurance world. It should come as little surprise that Progressive also covers boats.

As you can imagine, packages start at affordable rates (around $100 for the year) and come with plenty of discounts. Policies may also cover some or all of the following:

  • Propulsion Plus mechanical breakdown coverage
  • Full boat replacement cost
  • Collision coverage
  • Uninsured/underinsured boater
  • Medical payments
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Sign & Glide on-water towing
  • Bodily injury and property damage liability
  • Fuel spills and wreckage removal
  • Fishing equipment or carry-on items
  • Water sports injury coverage
  • Roadside assistance

Progressive also provides excellent discounts for boaters who remain accident free for three years, insurance more than one watercraft, are the original owner of the boat, make prompt and regular payments, and who pay their premiums in full.

If you have an older, expensive boat, however, some restrictions may prevent your from obtaining insurance through Progressive. Boats that are 10 years or older and worth $500,000, 11 to 20 years old and worth more than $250,000, or 20 years or older and worth more than $60,000 may not be insured.

Likewise, boats that function as the primary residence or houseboats without motors are also ineligible for insurance.

Comments are closed.