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What is boat insurance and why do you need it?

Warm sun. Cool breeze. If you have a boat, you get it: There’s nothing like being out on the water.

You cherish your boat, and the memories you create there are the reason your investment is worth every penny. Having the right insurance coverage for your boat can help you sail on, worry-free.

If you’re ready to buy boat insurance, talk to a local professional. They can talk about your coverage options so you understand what fits your needs and budget.

Continue reading for answers to frequently asked questions about boat insurance.

What is boat insurance?

Boat insurance can provide you and your boat with protection should something unexpected happen. The insurance can cover damage to your boat or its equipment as well as injuries to people and damage to property or other boats.

Boat insurance covers most vessels with engines or sails, but not all boat insurance covers “watercraft”

; such as jet skis, wave transmitters and WaveRunners.

Good news: At ERIE we can cover outboards, inboards/outboards or inboards; sailboats; houseboats; and jet skis.*

Why do I need boat insurance?

It’s a fair question: If your country doesn’t require boat insurance, why should you get it?

The short answer: Financial security. If a covered accident occurs and you have the right insurance, you are usually responsible for paying the deductible and the insurance may cover the rest. But without insurance, you could be stuck paying out of pocket (or draining your savings) for the full cost of repairs to your boat (or someone else’s); Legal costs; or even someone else’s medical bills. .

While your boat may be partially covered by your homeowner’s policy—more on that below—a separate boat insurance policy gives you more options for specialized coverage. It includes increased limits for physical damage, coverage under more situations (such as collision under the water carrier) and coverage for medical payments.

In short: Boat insurance is specially designed to protect your boat almost anywhere you go – over land, out on the water and for storage. (And isn’t owning a boat about having adventures?)

Is boat insurance required?

Some states require a boat to have liability coverage. Check with your ERIE agent to see if boat insurance is required in your state. Liability coverage can help pay for damage to someone else’s boat, dock or other property. (Medical payments coverage can also help cover the cost of injuries, but it’s usually not mandatory.)

Although not mandatory in your state, many marinas require you to have boat insurance to dock your boat there. Also, if you take out a loan on your boat, banks often require you to purchase boat insurance.

Is my boat covered under my homeowner’s policy?

It could be. Of course, separate boat insurance is designed to offer higher limits and more types of coverage, but your homeowner may have some things already built in.

For physical damage: Some carriers limit the amount of coverage you can get under a homeowner’s policy, depending on the size or horsepower of your boat. An ERIE homeowner’s policy provides physical damage coverage for all personal watercraft up to $2,000. (Of course, many boats are worth more than $2,000, which is why separate boat insurance is a smart investment for better protection.)

Regarding liability coverage: It varies depending on the insurance company. Some homeowner’s policies do not automatically cover liability for boats at all. Other times, you can add a small amount of liability coverage if you have a smaller vessel or a vessel with low horsepower.

An ERIE homeowner’s policy includes liability coverage for motorized watercraft under 75 horsepower (such as a small runabout) or for sailboats under 26 feet in length. You can also add personal watercraft liability coverage for up to four faster or longer vessels.

What types of insurance can I get for my boat?

Just like car insurance, boat insurance can be tailored to fit your specific needs and budget. The size, type, age and value of your boat – including where the boat is used – can determine which coverage is best for your vessel.

In general, most boat insurance policies are designed to cover:

  • Bodily injuries sustained by you or someone else as a result of the boat
  • Property damage to your boat – for example theft or vandalism
  • Property damage to your boat – for example, damage to another boat if your boat causes an accident

Boat owners can choose from a variety of coverages to protect boats, passengers and even permanently attached boating equipment. With ERIE, you have a local, independent insurance agent to help you understand your options and feel good about how to protect your investment.

Where is my boat covered?

Go ahead and explore. Erie Insurance’s boat insurance protects boaters anywhere in the continental United States, Washington DC and Canada, as well as the coastal waters.

Boat insurance also covers your vessel when it is on land or under tow.

Does boat insurance cover hurricane damage?

This may vary depending on the details of your policy and which insurance company you work with.

Generally, wind damage (including wind from hurricanes) is covered under standard homeowners and boat policies. Water-related damages, such as floods or storm surges, are calculated and insured in different ways. Ask your insurance agent to explain what your policy generally covers (and doesn’t cover) from hurricanes.

Regardless of the insurance company you work with, you generally need to purchase boat insurance in advance to be covered during a hurricane. It varies by state, but in most places, state regulations prohibit anyone from buying insurance coverage (or changing their current coverage) at the last minute when a hurricane watch or warning is in effect.

If a hurricane or other severe conditions are in the forecast, stay out of the water and get your boat to a safe place to weather the storm.

Am I covered in the winter?

While your boat is being stored during the off-season, you may wonder why you need coverage. However, a lot can happen when a boat is in storage – including fire, theft or other damage – and a boat policy is a smart way to protect your investment all year round.

Ready to set sail? Contact us today to get a personal boat insurance quote.

*Coverage is subject to policy provisions. See individual policies for specific coverage details. Some terms and conditions may apply. ERIE’s Boat Protector Policy is not available in Kentucky. See our disclaimer for further information.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home office: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York). The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to do business in all states. See the company’s licensing and business information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are effective as of July 2022 and are subject to change at any time.

Insurance products are subject to conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of coverage, terms, conditions and exclusions.

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states. ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York. ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York. ERIE long-term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York.

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based on applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer any questions you may have before you buy.

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