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Our Guide to Boat Insurance: Safeguard Your Lake & River Adventures

by | Feb 11, 2022

We LOVE the lakes in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. From Palisades to Bear Lake, it’s all a ton of fun; but with the excitement of the water comes risks. Accidents can happen, and when they do, having the right insurance coverage is crucial. Many boat owners may not fully understand the importance of boat insurance or the available coverages. This guide empowers boat owners to make informed decisions about their insurance coverage, ensuring they’re well-protected and can enjoy their nautical adventures with peace of mind.

Understanding Boat Insurance Coverage Options

Liability Coverage: It protects you financially if you’re found responsible for an accident while operating your boat.

  1. Bodily Injury (BI): Covers medical expenses, lost wages, and legal fees for the injured party.
  2. Property Damage (PD): Covers repair or replacement costs for the other party’s vehicle or property.

Collision Coverage: Pays for repairs or replacement of your boat if it’s damaged in an accident, regardless of fault. This coverage can be especially important if you’ve invested in an expensive boat, as it helps you avoid significant out-of-pocket expenses in case of an accident.

Comprehensive Coverage: Protects your boat from non-collision events like theft, fire, vandalism, or natural disasters. This coverage is valuable for those who store their boats outdoors or in areas prone to extreme weather events, as it protects from various risks.

Uninsured/Underinsured Boater (UB/UIB) Coverage: It safeguards you if you’re involved in an accident with a boater who has no insurance or insufficient coverage. It covers your medical expenses and, in some cases, property damage. This coverage is essential because not all boaters carry insurance, leaving you vulnerable to financial losses if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured boater.

Medical Payments (MedPay) / Personal Injury Protection (PIP): MedPay and PIP cover medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of fault. PIP also covers lost wages and other non-medical expenses. This coverage can be especially beneficial if you frequently have passengers on your boat, as it helps ensure their medical costs are covered in the event of an accident.

Additional Coverage Options

  • Equipment Coverage: Protects any equipment or accessories on your boat, such as electronics, fishing gear, or safety equipment. If you’ve invested in accessories or equipment for your boat, this coverage can help you avoid significant replacement costs in case of damage or theft.
  • Towing and Assistance Coverage: Provides protection for costs related to towing your boat or receiving assistance on the water. This coverage is valuable if you frequently travel far from shore, as it helps safeguard your investment in your boat and ensures you receive help when needed.
  • Trailer Coverage: Covers your boat trailer for damage or theft. This coverage can give you peace of mind knowing your trailer is protected, even if an accident occurs.

Selecting Appropriate Coverages for Your Boat Insurance

Determining Your Needs: Consider factors like the value of your boat, how often you use it, and the type of waterways you navigate when deciding on the appropriate coverage. For example, suppose you use your boat primarily on private lakes and have a low risk of encountering other boaters. In that case, you may not need as much liability coverage as someone who frequently navigates crowded waterways.

Importance of Higher Liability Limits: We recommend a minimum liability coverage limit of $300,000 to ensure you’re well-protected in case of a serious accident. Higher liability limits can protect your financial assets and provide peace of mind in the event of a costly accident involving injuries or significant property damage.

Considering an Additional Umbrella Policy for Added Protection: An umbrella policy can provide extra liability protection beyond the limits of your boat policy, safeguarding your assets in case of a large claim or lawsuit. This type of policy can be particularly valuable for boat owners with substantial assets or those who frequently navigate in high-risk situations where accidents are more likely to occur.

Real-Life Stories Illustrating the Importance of Boat Insurance

The Financial Cost of an Uninsured Boating Accident: In 2018, a family in Florida enjoyed a day of boating when an accident occurred, resulting in serious injuries to several passengers. Without a boat insurance policy in place, they faced mounting medical bills and rehabilitation expenses, which led to financial hardship and even bankruptcy.

Adequate Coverage Saves the Day: A seasoned boater in Michigan was enjoying a weekend on the lake when a sudden collision with another boat caused significant damage to both vessels. Fortunately, the boater had a comprehensive boat insurance policy with sufficient coverage, which allowed for the necessary repairs and medical expenses without any out-of-pocket costs.

Compelling Boating Accident and Insurance Statistics

Boating Accidents Resulting in Lawsuits: According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, about 15% of boating accidents result in personal injury lawsuits. This highlights the importance of having adequate liability coverage to protect against potential legal costs.

Uninsured Boats and Stolen Vessels: The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported that in 2019, over 4,000 boats were stolen in the United States. Without boat insurance, owners of stolen vessels face significant financial loss in replacing their stolen boats.

How to Save Money on Boat Insurance Premiums

  • Raise deductibles: Increasing your deductible means you’ll be responsible for a higher amount of expenses in case of a claim, but it can lead to lower premiums.
  • Maximize discounts: Take advantage of available discounts such as safe boater, anti-theft device, or multi-policy discounts, which can lower your premium without reducing your coverage.
  • Bundle policies: Combining your boat insurance with other policies like home or auto insurance can result in significant savings.
  • Shop around: Comparing quotes from different insurance providers can help you find the best coverage at the most competitive price.

Common Boat Insurance Myths Debunked

Myth 1: My homeowner’s insurance will cover my boat. Fact: While some homeowner’s insurance policies may provide limited coverage for small boats, they typically don’t cover larger or more expensive boats. Relying on homeowner’s insurance alone may leave you underinsured and vulnerable to financial losses in case of an accident.

Myth 2: I don’t need boat insurance because I’m a safe boater. Fact: While safe boating practices can significantly reduce your risk of accidents, they cannot completely eliminate the possibility. Unforeseen events or other boaters’ actions can still lead to accidents. Boat insurance is crucial to protect you from potential financial losses.

Myth 3: Boat insurance is too expensive. Fact: Boat insurance premiums can vary based on factors like the type, size, and value of your boat, as well as your boating experience and chosen coverages. By shopping around, maximizing discounts, and bundling policies, you can find affordable boat insurance that meets your needs.


Q: Is boat insurance required by law?
A: While boat insurance is not required by law in all states, some states or marinas may require a certain level of insurance. Additionally, if you have a loan on your boat, the lender will likely require insurance coverage.

Q: What factors affect the cost of boat insurance?
A: Various factors can influence the cost of boat insurance, such as the boat’s size, type, age, and value, your boating experience, where you store and operate your boat, and the types and levels of coverage you choose.

Q: Can I get coverage for personal belongings on my boat?
A:Yes, many boat insurance policies offer coverage for personal belongings on your boat, such as fishing gear, electronics, or other equipment. Be sure to review your policy details to understand the extent of coverage for personal items.

Q: Is my boat covered when it’s out of the water or being transported?
A: Boat insurance policies typically include coverage for your boat both in and out of the water, as well as during transport. However, it’s essential to review your policy details to understand the specific coverage limitations and exclusions.

Q: Will my boat insurance cover me if I travel to international waters or other countries? A: Coverage for international waters or other countries depends on your specific policy. Some boat insurance policies include coverage for a specified navigational area, while others may require additional endorsements for international coverage. Be sure to discuss your plans with your insurance agent to ensure you have the appropriate coverage for your boating adventures.

Contact Our Team of Experts at Page Insurance for Help

Understanding the various boat insurance coverage options and selecting the appropriate coverages for your unique situation is crucial for safeguarding your nautical adventures. Our team of experts at Page Insurance is ready to help you navigate your boat insurance options and ensure you’re well-protected. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance and support, so you can enjoy peace of mind as you embark on your boating journeys.


John Page, President of Page Insurance, has been a driving force in the insurance industry since 1998. As a licensed agent in Property & Casualty, Life, and Health insurance, John has won numerous awards for agency management and works tirelessly to improve agency operations with the clients in mind. He is passionate about building and investing in the Page team of experts, ensuring they deliver top-notch service to clients. In his free time, John enjoys snowmobiling, gaming, reading, and traveling with his wife and three kids, who are the loves of his life. John is a big hockey fan who loves rooting for the local Idaho Falls hockey team.