If you get into a boating accident, you might owe a fortune in repairs, medical bills, or lost wages. Boat insurance can save you from financial disaster.
Who provides the best boat insurance?
The best choice for many or most people is Allstate Boat Insurance. Allstate offers affordable but powerful insurance that can protect you even when you make a mistake. There are other great companies that are better than Allstate for some people.
I have sold boat insurance for many years and recommend Allstate first. Progressive is also good, but there are too many types of boats they don’t insure. State Farm is good if you have a rented boat.
If you’re wondering if you really need boat insurance, the answer is yes. If you’re wondering why you need boat insurance, check out our guide.
Allstate Boat Insurance
Allstate insures boats of all kinds – pontoon boats, motorboats, fishing boats, sailboats, and more. Their insurance is cheaper than average and it can be quite cheap at the lower end of the range. It’s even cheaper with discounts.
Allstate Insurance is powerful enough to protect you if you injure another person. Even if you are at fault, your insurance will pay for the other person’s lost wages and medical expenses, plus damage to another person’s boat.
The insurance also covers damage to your boat in an accident, even if the accident was your fault. Members of your party have their medical bills covered. The insurance policy is also generous in situations where the other boater does not have insurance.
- Insurance for many types of watercraft
- Powerful for its low price
- Protects you even if an accident was your fault
- No significant drawbacks
Progressive Boat Insurance
Progressive boat insurance lets you choose how much coverage you want. You can pay very little for basic coverage, or add coverage for many specific events.
For example, you could choose to pay extra for protection against mechanical breakdown, fuel spills, or water sports injuries. You can pay for insurance for events that could plausibly happen and avoid insurance for events that are highly unlikely.
Another thing that makes progressive insurance stand out is its transparency and clarity. The company’s website is easy to understand and clear about what you are getting if you buy their insurance. They also offer a good selection of discounts.
On the plus side, progressive boat insurance lets you take your boat where you want, with few restrictions on cruising locations. However, there are many types of boats progressive won’t insure.
- You can pay extra for protection against specific things
- Insurance against mechanical breakdown is available
- Clear and transparent website
- Few restrictions on cruising locations
- Many types of boats are not accepted
Foremost Insurance Group Boat Insurance
Foremost Insurance Group stands out by having so many options to choose from. There are several insurance packages, and each is tailored to your type of boat. Foremost also offers a lot of different discounts.
The cheaper packages are impressive for their price. You can get actual cash value reimbursement for surprisingly little if you go with the cheapest option.
If you pay more, the insurance includes a total loss replacement settlement. If you pay significantly more, you can have things like pollution insurance (protecting you from liability if there is an oil spill), towing services, and coverages for some places outside of the US.
- Many options to choose from
- Cheaper options are impressive for their price
- Pollution insurance
- Lots of options for discounts
- Does not cover very large/expensive boats
State Farm Boat Insurance
State Farm is the best company out there if you want insurance for a rented boat. Rented boat insurance is harder to find, and State Farm is pretty clearly the best choice.
State Farm also offers liability insurance, so if you damage another person’s boat or injure anyone, the insurance protects you. Even with rented boats, you still get liability insurance.
You can also use State Farm insurance if you rent your boat out to someone else. State Farm will pay you if the renter damages your boat.
State Farm also offers emergency services assistance. If your boat needs towing, insurance will cover it.
Anyone with a fishing boat can get commercial fishing insurance or insurance for a fishing tournament they could not attend due to an accident.
Fishing insurance is optional, as is insurance that protects you if the other person’s boat was uninsured or underinsured. If a wrecked boat needs to be removed at your expense, State Farm also covers that.
- Insurance for rented boats, which is uncommon
- Good selection of optional insurance add-ons
- Liability insurance, including for rented boats
- No significant disadvantages
BoatUS Boat Insurance
BoatUS offers boating safety education programs that qualify you for discounts on your insurance. They also have a membership program for further discounts. You can get coverage to take your boat to Alaska, Mexico, and the Caribbean through BoatUS.
BoatUS is a Geico company, so you can get a discount if you have Geico car insurance. There are many extras you can pay for, such as emergency/towing insurance.
The main drawback is that BoatUS does not offer full replacement-cost insurance. However, BoatUS may still be the best choice if you want relatively cheap insurance.
- Discounts if you complete safety training/education
- Coverage outside of the US
- Membership program
- No full replacement-cost insurance
Chubb Boat Insurance
Chubb Boat Insurance is the best choice if you have a yacht or a very expensive boat. Many companies have a limit on length (eg, 50 feet) or value (eg, $500,000) and refuse to insure anything more expensive than that.
Chubb will cover a luxurious yacht that is more than 70 feet long and costs over 3 million dollars. There is also coverage for yachts that are 36-70 feet long and cost less than 3 million.
Chubb offers liability insurance, emergency boat towing, and optional insurance against marine environmental damage. Insurance will pay for it if you have to suddenly dock your boat because of a storm. Liability insurance extends to the boat’s crew.
Chubb Offers Agreed Value Coverage
Agreed value coverage is better than the actual cash value reimbursement that many other companies offer. With actual cash value reimbursement, an older boat may be worth significantly less based on what it would sell for. With agreed value coverage, you get an agreed-on value without depreciation being counted.
- Insurance for large and expensive vessels
- Liability insurance even for the boat’s crew
- Agreed value coverage
- Discounts are not mentioned
|Allstate Boat Insurance||Insurance for many types of watercraft, powerful for its low price, protects you even if an accident was your fault||No significant drawbacks|
|Progressive Boat Insurance||You can pay extra for protection against specific things, insurance against mechanical breakdown is available, clear and transparent website, few restrictions on cruising locations||Many types of boats are not accepted|
|Foremost Insurance Group Boat Insurance||Many options to choose from, cheaper options are impressive for their price, pollution insurance, lots of options for discounts||Does not cover very large/expensive boats|
|State Farm Boat Insurance||Insurance for rented boats, which is uncommon, good selection of optional insurance add-ons, liability insurance, including for rented boats||No significant disadvantages|
|BoatUS Boat Insurance||Affordable, discounts if you complete safety training/education, coverage outside of the US, membership program||No full replacement-cost insurance|
|Chubb Boat Insurance||Covers luxurious yachts, agreed value coverage, liability insurance extends to the boat’s crew||No significant disadvantages|
Marine Insurance Terms
- Trip insurance coverage: if something goes wrong and you need to return home in the middle of your trip, you might lose money. For example, your hotel might be non-refundable. Some companies cover this.
- Emergency services coverage: This pays for towing if your boat breaks down.
- Actual Cash Value Reimbursement: This means you may get as much as your boat was currently worth, including wear and tear, from an insurance claim. It does not mean you will get nearly as much as the boat cost when it was new.
- All Risk Coverage: This means your boat is protected against damage of all kinds unless specifically excluded. It is one of the main things to look for in a marine insurance policy.
- Liability insurance: This protects you from being sued if you damage another person’s property or hurt anyone with your boat.
Does Boat Insurance Cover Accidents?
Yes, a lot of insurance policies cover damage to your boat during an accident, usually within some limitations.
Is Boat Insurance Mandatory?
In some places, you can legally be out on a boat without it. However, this is probably too risky to consider.
If you damage someone else’s boat, you might have to pay more than your boat’s value. Also, remember that your boat could be destroyed in a situation that wasn’t your fault and could not have been predicted or avoided.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Insurance
How you use and store your boat can make insurance more or less expensive. You may pay more if you live in an area with hurricanes or don’t have much boating experience.
To lower the cost of boat insurance, you might take a boating safety course or store your boat in a good location. Other things affecting insurance costs include:
- Size, age, and length of the boat
- Engine power
- Type of boat
- Recreational vs commercial
- History of insurance claims
Boat Insurance Doesn’t Cover Everything
Unfortunately, boat insurance doesn’t cover everything that could go wrong with your boat, so you will have to pay for certain things yourself. Even the best boat insurance companies probably won’t pay for wear and tear. Maintaining a boat is expensive, and you have to pay a lot more than boat insurance coverage.
The main point of a boat insurance company is to protect boat owners from sudden, serious losses.Insurance is always a gamble, and boat insurance providers understand this in detail.
Most boat insurance companies stay in business because a lot of people never need their insurance coverage. You can either save money if something disastrous happens or lose money if you never file an insurance claim.
Some things boat insurance policies usually don’t cover include:
- Wear and tear: Your boat won’t be in the same condition after a few years of use. Recreational boat owners have to pay for their own maintenance even if they have personal watercraft insurance.
- Corrosion or weathering: Corrosion is a somewhat preventable form of damage you can avoid. Your boat insurance provider quite likely won’t pay for it.
- Accidents that are your fault are sometimes not covered. Like auto insurance, boat insurance often won’t cover damage due to the owners’ negligence. However, many insurance policies protect you even if the accident was your fault.
- Damages from vermin and sea animals: It is your responsibility to avoid that.
- Intentionally damaging your boat in any way.
- Mechanical, structural, or electrical breakdown: Unfortunately, even comprehensive coverage probably excludes that.
- The best boat insurance companies include Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm.
- Driving a boat without insurance is too risky and in many places illegal.
- Boat insurance is worth it even in places where you don’t have to have it.
- Liability insurance can protect you from being sued for causing an accident.