As a boat owner, you must be thrilled to own a brand new recreational vehicle which you can use for fishing and cruising to your favorite holiday destination. What a lot of people don't realize is that getting an insurance is vital, since, like any other means of transport, boats can also fall prey to damage or theft. Boat insurance is a must and will save you thousands of dollars in property damage. It's not just your boat that's prone to a mishap, but in an unfortunate event you may run into another boat or even the dock and damage them. In such a case, having insurance will help you pay off for the damages that have been caused.
Boat Insurance Buying Tips
Before you begin hunting for an insurance company, check the length of your boat. If it's 26 feet long or smaller, then you can buy insurance. More than 27 feet, and you have to go in for yacht insurance. Most insurance companies offer various types of insurance coverage specifically suited for jet boats, fishing boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, etc. Look up the yellow pages for the insurance companies listed that provide boat insurance, and call up several of them, asking for a quote.
Ask a lot of questions to the insurance agent. Many people, after being involved in a boat accident, claim insurance, and are horrified to know that what they are claiming for is not covered in the insurance policy. Do not let this happen to you. A lot of companies also provide online insurance quotes.
Once you get several quotes, go through them carefully. You must study and analyze each one in detail, so you know what all is covered by the insurance policy. Look for additional features like coverage for roadside assistance, fuel spill, fishing gear, wreckage removal, and on-water towing. You need to understand what and how much coverage does physical damage involve.
You must provide information like your boat's make and model, year of manufacture, any other related information to the insurance company. One of the most significant aspects of coverage is what type of Loss Settlement you decide upon. There are two types offered: Agreed Cash Value and Total or Actual Cash Value. If you total your boat, the insurance company will have to pay you the entire amount that's declared in the policy, in the case of Agreed Cash Value. If you have opted for Actual Cash Value, the insurance company will only pay you the current value of your boat. Though Agreed Cash Value is more expensive, you must take into account factors like market depreciation in case of Actual Cash Value, which could mean a considerable difference between the price you paid for the boat and its current market value.
Premium is something a lot of boat owners have doubts about. Again this depends from one insurance company to the other. But there are a few pointers you can keep in mind if you want a low monthly premium. Your engine size makes a noticeable difference to the premium. The bigger the engine size, more the monthly premium you need to shell out.
Does your boat have an outboard propulsion motor or an inboard propulsion motor? An inboard motor is more likely to catch fire, and hence the premium rates are likely to shoot up, as compared to a boat fitted with an outboard motor. Just like a defensive driving course lowers your insurance rates, a boating safety course will help in the same way, by bringing your premiums down. An insurance company may also look at your driving record. A spotless driving record might help you to gain lower premium on your boat insurance as well, as the insurance company will think of you as a relatively safe driver.
Insurance Company Customer Service
When you are calling insurance companies, try to judge which one is better based on their customer service. A couple of calls will help you decide where better service is being offered. At the same time, check whether the company's services are available every day of the year. The chances of you being out on the waters is higher on holidays rather than on weekdays; and if the insurance company does not work on holidays, what is the use of buying insurance from them?
National Boat Owners Association
If you are not yet a member, think of joining the National Boat Owners Association. This organization has ties with some of the best insurance companies, and you can avail of better insurance rates and check out the useful services they offer, like boat financing, towing programs, and also provide up-to-date information on boating equipment and safety.
So to sum it all up, carry out an exhaustive study about the various insurance options available, and ask numerous questions to clear away all your doubts. If you are not satisfied with the answers provided, do not buy the insurance, even if the premium amount is substantially low. Ask friends and others you know who own a boat and also have insurance, for their guidance. After all a boat is a big investment, and you obviously want the best for it.