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Cost Of Boat Insurance By State

Last updated 07/10/2024 by

Benjamin Locke

Edited by

Summary:
Boater’s insurance costs vary significantly based on state-specific factors like local regulations, weather conditions, and boating traffic. Just as a life jacket protects you from drowning, boater’s insurance protects you financially if something goes wrong on the water. Understanding the types of coverage available and the factors influencing insurance rates is crucial for boat owners to make informed decisions and safeguard their vessels and finances.
Sailing without insurance is like going out on the water without a life jacket—it’s risky and can lead to serious consequences. Just as a life jacket protects you from drowning, boater’s insurance protects you financially if something goes wrong on the water. Whether it’s an accident, theft, or a natural disaster, having insurance ensures you’re covered for damages and liabilities. Knowing your boater’s insurance options is crucial to safeguarding your vessel and your finances.

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Different Types of Boater’s Insurance

Type of InsuranceCoverageWhat it CoversExample Providers
Liability CoverageBodily injury and property damage caused to others while operating your boat.Includes coverage for legal fees, medical expenses, and repair costs for the other party’s property.Progressive, Allstate, GEICO
Physical Damage CoverageDamage to your boat caused by collisions, sinking, fire, storms, theft, or vandalism.Covers the hull, motors, equipment, and personal items on the boat.State Farm, Nationwide, Travelers
Comprehensive CoverageExtensive protection covering both liability and physical damage, including theft, vandalism, and non-collision damages.Often includes coverage for environmental damage caused by fuel spills and wreckage removal.Progressive, Allstate, USAA
Uninsured/Underinsured Boater CoverageBodily injury and property damage caused by another boater who does not have insurance or has insufficient coverage.Important for areas with many uninsured boaters.GEICO, Nationwide
Medical Payments CoverageMedical expenses incurred by you or your passengers in the event of an accident, regardless of fault.Covers hospital bills, surgeries, X-rays, and other medical costs.Progressive, State Farm
Personal Effects CoverageProtects personal items on your boat, such as fishing equipment, electronics, and clothing.Usually offered as an add-on to comprehensive policies.Travelers, Allstate
Towing and Assistance CoverageCosts associated with towing your boat to a repair facility if it becomes disabled on the water.May cover fuel delivery, jump starts, and other emergency services.Progressive, Nationwide

How Does Boater’s Insurance Cost Vary by State?

Boater’s insurance costs vary significantly by state due to several factors, including local laws, weather conditions, and boating traffic. The main types of coverage people typically have are comprehensive and liability coverage.
Comprehensive Coverage: This type of insurance provides extensive protection, covering damages to your boat from incidents like theft, vandalism, and non-collision damages, as well as environmental damage from fuel spills and wreckage removal.
Liability Coverage: This covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to others while operating your boat, including legal fees, medical expenses, and repair costs for the other party’s property.

States with the Lowest Average Liability Boater’s Insurance Rates

StateAverage Annual Liability Premium
South Dakota$150 per year
North Dakota$155 per year
Vermont$160 per year
Wyoming$165 per year
Idaho$170 per year
South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and Idaho are among the states with the lowest average liability boater’s insurance rates. These states benefit from lower boating traffic and milder weather conditions that reduce the risk of boating accidents and claims. Additionally, competitive insurance markets and favorable regulations contribute to lower insurance costs. For instance, Vermont’s low premiums can be attributed to its low population density and minimal boating congestion, which significantly decrease the likelihood of accidents and insurance claims.

Determinants of Boater’s Insurance Pricing

  • Location: The state and specific area where you boat significantly impact your premiums due to varying risks of weather events and boating traffic.
  • Type of Boat: The size, type, and value of your boat can affect your insurance costs. Larger or more expensive boats typically have higher premiums.
  • Usage: How often and where you use your boat (e.g., inland lakes vs. open ocean) can influence your insurance rates.
  • Coverage Amount: Higher coverage limits and additional coverage options increase your premiums.
  • Boating Experience: Experienced boaters with clean records generally enjoy lower insurance rates than new or inexperienced boaters.

States with the Highest Average Liability Boater’s Insurance Rates

StateAverage Annual Liability Premium
Florida$450 per year
Texas$440 per year
Louisiana$430 per year
New York$420 per year
California$410 per year
On the other hand, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, New York, and California face the highest average liability boater’s insurance rates. These states often have higher boating traffic, leading to more congestion and a higher likelihood of accidents, which in turn increases insurance claims and premiums. Additionally, these states may experience severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes in Florida, that increase the risk of damage to boats. Regulatory factors also play a significant role; for instance, Florida’s high rates are partly attributed to its extensive boating traffic and the high risk of hurricanes.

Expert Insight

“Regulations and weather conditions of an area do affect premiums, but surprisingly, not as much as you would think. More so, premiums are based heavily on the type and size of the boat, the mooring location, navigational territory, and the operator’s experience.
  • Type and Size: Larger, older, high value, high-speed, performance or specialized vessels tend to have higher premiums due to either the higher replacement cost of the vessel or potential for larger liability losses.
  • Mooring Location and Navigational Territory: Boats that are moored in coastal areas and have the gulf or oceans as navigational territories will have higher premiums than boats moored inland which navigate inland waters such as lakes and rivers. The higher premiums are partially due to the extreme weather exposure of hurricanes but also the wider array of dangerous conditions you can find on larger open bodies of water or offshore.
  • Operator: Younger operators with minimal experience boating or a claims history will have higher premiums than more experienced operators who have owned multiple boats and have no claims history. Also, operators who have taken a boating safety course qualify for discounts to be applied to their premiums.”
Ashleigh C. Trent, Personal Lines Director at Tower Street Insurance.

States with the Lowest Average Comprehensive Boater’s Insurance Rates

StateAverage Annual Comprehensive Premium
South Dakota$200 per year
North Dakota$210 per year
Vermont$220 per year
Wyoming$230 per year
Idaho$240 per year
States like South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and Idaho benefit from lower comprehensive boater’s insurance rates due to lower boating traffic, milder weather conditions, and fewer claims. For example, South Dakota’s low insurance premiums can be attributed to its low population density and minimal boating congestion, which significantly decrease the likelihood of accidents and insurance claims. Additionally, these states often have competitive insurance markets and regulations that contribute to lower insurance costs.

States with the Highest Average Comprehensive Boater’s Insurance Rates

StateAverage Annual Comprehensive Premium
Florida$900 per year
Texas$850 per year
Louisiana$820 per year
New York$800 per year
California$780 per year
Florida, Texas, Louisiana, New York, and California experience some of the highest rates for comprehensive boater’s insurance. Florida’s notably high rates can be attributed to its high risk of hurricanes and extensive boating traffic. Texas and Louisiana face similar challenges with hurricanes and severe weather, leading to high insurance costs. New York and California’s high premiums are driven by high boating traffic and the risk of severe weather events.
The biggest factor in insurance is wind as the number one insurance claims is hurricanes. The cost of purchasing insurance for boats in a non-wind exposed areas is less than half what it would cost to insure a boat in a wind area, such as Florida. More specifically, south Florida has been drastic to the point where there are very few insurance companies available. – William Fay, Broker at World Insurance Associates.

Ways to Help Lower Your Boater’s Insurance

  • Shop Around: Prices vary significantly between companies. It’s beneficial to get at least three quotes to compare.
  • Consider the Boat Before Buying: Insurance costs can be influenced by the boat’s make and model.
  • Increase Your Deductibles: Opting for higher deductibles can reduce your premiums.
  • Bundle Policies: Buying your boater’s and other insurance from the same insurer can lead to discounts.
  • Maintain a Good Boating Record: Insurers often provide discounts for clean records without accidents or claims.
  • Take Boating Safety Courses: Completing approved safety courses can earn you a discount on your premiums.
  • Install Safety Features: Equip your boat with safety features like GPS, alarms, and fire extinguishers to potentially lower your insurance costs.

Pro Tip

Boat owners can lower premiums in several ways. Taking a safety course shows you’re serious and cuts risks. Installing anti-theft devices like ignition cut-off switches also helps. Increasing your deductibles to $1,000 or more cuts premiums significantly. Bundling your boat with home/auto policies gives multi-policy discounts. Keeping your boat in a secured marina versus uncovered docking also lowers risks and premiums. Maintaining a clean claims history and not reporting small cosmetic damages help keep rates low long-term. – Paul Schneider, President at Schneider Insurance

What Are the Consequences for Not Having Boater’s Insurance?

If you don’t have boater’s insurance, you’re exposing yourself to significant financial risk. Just like driving a car without insurance, boating without insurance means you’ll have to pay out of pocket for any damage or injuries you cause. This could include expensive repairs to your own boat, medical bills for injuries to yourself or others, and even legal fees if you’re sued. Additionally, if your boat is stolen, vandalized, or damaged by a storm, you’ll be responsible for all replacement and repair costs. In many places, marinas and harbors require proof of insurance to dock, so you might even find yourself without a place to keep your boat. Without insurance, you’re essentially sailing without a safety net, which can lead to serious financial trouble if something goes wrong.

FAQ

Do I Need Boater’s Insurance if My Boat is Stored on Land?

Yes, you still need boater’s insurance even if your boat is stored on land. Risks such as theft, vandalism, fire, and weather damage can occur while your boat is in storage, and insurance can cover these incidents. Additionally, some marinas and storage facilities may require proof of insurance.

What Does Uninsured/Underinsured Boater Coverage Include?

Uninsured/underinsured boater coverage protects you if you’re involved in an accident with another boater who doesn’t have sufficient insurance. This coverage can pay for medical expenses, property damage, and other costs resulting from the accident. It’s especially important in areas with high rates of uninsured boaters.

Can I Transfer My Boater’s Insurance to a New Boat?

Yes, you can transfer your boater’s insurance to a new boat, but you need to notify your insurance provider. They will adjust the policy to reflect the new boat’s specifications and value, which may affect your premium. Ensure you have the new boat covered before operating it.

Does Boater’s Insurance Cover Personal Items on the Boat?

Yes, many boater’s insurance policies offer personal effects coverage, which protects personal items like fishing equipment, electronics, and clothing on your boat. This coverage is usually an add-on to your policy and can vary by provider. Check your policy details to understand the extent of this coverage.

Is Boater’s Insurance Required by Law?

Boater’s insurance is not required by law in most states, but it is highly recommended. Some states may have specific requirements for certain types of boats or boating activities. Additionally, marinas, lenders, and boat storage facilities often require proof of insurance.

Key Takeaways

  • Boater’s insurance costs vary widely by state, influenced by local laws, weather conditions, and boating traffic.
  • Comprehensive coverage is more extensive, covering damages from incidents like theft, vandalism, and non-collision events, while liability coverage focuses on bodily injury and property damage caused to others.
  • States with higher boating traffic and severe weather conditions, like Florida and Texas, tend to have higher insurance premiums.
  • Lower insurance rates are often found in states with milder weather and less boating traffic, such as South Dakota and North Dakota.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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