Boat Insurance or Marine Insurance is insurance for a watercraft, whether that watercraft is a boat, powerboat, runabout, sailing dinghy, kayak, windsurfer, jet ski, sailboat, a yacht or some other marine vehicle.
Marine insurance products:
Moored or Berthed Yacht & Launch Insurance
which is permanently moored at a marina, boatshed, on piles or swing
Trailered Yacht & Powerboat Insurance
which are runabouts, sailing dinghies, kayaks, windsurfers and rowing skiffs
Personal Watercraft Insurance
Which is a vessel popularly known as a "Jet Ski".
Charter Craft Insurance
Which means skippered charter, yachts and/or launches
Offshore insurance is anywhere in the Pacific Basin.
You also have insurance for Commercial Vessels, Marina Operators Liability, Ship Repairers Liability, Charterers Liability, Stevedores Liability & Work Boat and Marine Cargo cover. Let your marine insurance broker pick the best options for you.
Why is it important to have Marine Insurance?
Marine insurance can be confusing. Boat owners need to take the time to question and understand the insurance they are purchasing. In most cases, boat values (even small boats) are in the thousands of dollars. A few dollars saved on an insurance policy could jeopardize needed coverage. If your agent cannot thoroughly explain the coverage, ask to speak to a company representative who can interpret the small print.
Boat owners should be aware of several aspects of boat policy coverage. Most, if not all, policies state, "It is the responsibility of the owner to immediately take all necessary action to protect the property from further damage when his boat is in peril."
I have encountered insurance companies that would not cover the expense of recovery of a vessel because the vessel itself was not damaged. The insurance companies did not consider the fact that had the owner not taken protective action the vessel could have been a total loss.
If a wreck breaks up and its debris floats in the path of another vessel, causing damage to that vessel, liability can be extreme.
In recent years, towing coverage has been added to most policies (usually to the nearest harbor). You need to carefully check your policy, however, because some companies offer no coverage for towing, especially for small boats.
Towing coverage is important, because the Ports Authority no longer offers assistance towing if there is no danger to lives or property. The cost of towing by a commercial tower averages $100 to $150 per hour from the time the tow gets under way until the tow boat returns to its dock (port to port).
Marine insurance coverage involves many other variables. Only too often, the insured has no idea what coverage they have until a claim occurs and it's too late to change.
Insurance coverage is not an item you should skimp on. Cents saved on a cheap policy could cost you your boat if you encounter a major claim. In addition, you could be left with a big bill to add to your problems.
If you own a high-priced vessel, even though it's only a runabout, it would be wiser to purchase a yacht policy. Avoid adding it to your homeowners insurance.
Many boaters spend a lot of money on a boat, then they buy the cheapest insurance they can find thinking they won't need it. They may feel secure, because they are well schooled on safe boating and proper navigation, but the unforeseen can happen and good insurance provides peace of mind as you enjoy your watercraft.