Boat Insurance

by Captain Bill Rountree

I have some advice regarding boat insurance that I have learned during my many years of boating that I wanted to make you were aware of.

  1. Get quotes from several different companies. Boat insurance has gone up dramatically in the last 4 or 5 years as the result of a few years of severe hurricane activity so you need to shop around for your best quote. The insurance on my 40 foot sailboat has gone up almost 7 fold since 2004. I got quotes on my boat last year that ranged from $1900 to almost $5000 a year. Don't automatically choose the lowest quote though because you need to make sure the company you choose is rated well so that they will pay your claims. Do your research and work when choosing your boat insurance, it will be well worth the effort.
  2. Make sure you know what your policy covers and what conditions they may require. Many boat insurance policies have requirements regarding inspections that may need to be done on your boat or areas that your boat is covered to operate in. In 2004 an acquaintance of mine lost his boat in Florida during a hurricane and he was nearly in tears when he found out that his $100,000 boat wasn't covered. He wasn't aware that his boat had to be north of Cape Hatteras, NC during the hurricane months so his insurance company would not cover his boat. And this was a large well known insurance company. So verify the requirements and coverage area of your boat insurance.
  3. Discounts for training and certification. Many policies will give you a discount on your boat insurance if you have training or a certification for different boating courses. With the cost of insurance the discount could easily pay for the cost of the class - plus the more you know about how to operate your boat safely and the 'rules of the road' the better off you and your guests will be.


About the author: Bill Rountree is a lifelong boater, holds his US Coast Guard Masters license and a US Sailing instructor certification. He has owned motor yachts, sailing yachts, racing sailboats, rowing shells, kayaks, windsurfers and on and on. He spent two years living aboard and cruising on a forty foot sailboat and has over 10,000 blue water miles.