Hello! I'm Dan Lyles with Lyles Insurance. And in this video, we're going to go over what you need to know before you buy boat insurance.
It's important to understand that not all boat insurance policies are alike. Some are good, some are very lousy. And some things you need to watch out for include crazy policy restrictions. And I've included some examples here where some policies won't even cover your boat while it's moored at a marina, or cover you while you're participating in things such as fishing tournaments, regattas or poker runs. Are you kidding me? That's the reason we buy boats in the first place. What good is boat insurance if they're not going to cover you during those events? And also watch out for crazy mileage restrictions. Make sure you're covered wherever you're planning on taking your boat. And also remember that some companies don't offer all the same coverages that a good boat insurance policy does. And I'm going to get into that more here in just a little bit. And also keep in mind that the difference in premium between a good policy and a bad one is, you'd be amazed sometimes very close to one another, like pennies on the dollar. So it's always worth it to spend a couple extra bucks just to get much better coverage.
I can't stress this enough, but please! Do yourself a favor, and do not buy boat insurance directly online from an insurance company. When you do this, you leave the agent out of it. And it's very hard, if not impossible to tell a good policy from a bad one that way. In fact, many companies won't even let you see the terms until after you've paid for the policy. What good does that do? You need an agent who can review coverage on a policy before you buy it.
There are two major types of boat insurance policies. This is where they kind of fall into two categories. Number one, exclusive standalone boat insurance, meaning, it's not attached to anything. It's just boat insurance. This is usually where you find the best type of boat insurance coverage. The second is boat insurance that is attached to a homeowner's insurance policy. A lot of homeowners do this when they buy a boat. They just simply attach it onto their homeowners insurance policy because it's simple and easy. However, you got to watch out with that because not all homeowners insurance policies cover boats the way a standalone policy usually does. Sometimes, it only offers minimal types of coverage, plus some have those crazy policy restrictions I mentioned earlier.
I quickly want to go over the five basic parts of a boat insurance policy. These are the basic meat and potatoes parts of your policy. Any good boat insurance policy should offer at least all five of these. Number one is liability coverage. That's if you're at fault in a boating accident and you caused damage or injury to others. It pays the other guy. Number two is uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage. That's if another boater hits you, and they either don't have liability coverage, or don't have enough liability coverage to cover all the injuries they caused. That's when this part kicks in. Number three is medical payments coverage. That's for injuries from a boating accident for you or your passengers regardless of who would be at fault. And number four and five kind of go together. Comprehensive and Collision Coverage. They’re the actual physical damage coverage on your boat. And I like to learn it backwards. A collision will cover you for any boating accident. Comprehensive coverage will cover your boat for anything else.
Here are some other secondary coverages that you'll find only on a good boat insurance policy, usually only on the stand-alone policies. Number one is contents and accessories coverage. That covers you for things such as fishing equipment, navigation equipment, stereo equipment, things like that. You'll normally be offered this for free up to a certain amount, and then have an option of purchasing more coverage if you need to. Number two is trailer coverage. The trailers you use to haul your boat with… The coverage on them are very inexpensive and worth looking into. Number three is personal property coverage. This is things such as life jackets or life vests, flotation devices, skis, inner tubes, wake boards, things like that. Number four, total loss or gap coverage. This only applies to brand new or nearly brand new boats. But it's excellent coverage to have if you have a newer boat, especially if you're financing it. And finally number five, roadside assistance and towing. There, I can't give you a thumbs up or thumbs down because each policy is so different from the next. You just got to read what is actually covered, see what the price is, and decide for yourself whether or not you think it's worth having.
Finally, let me give you a quick tip about helping you find the best rate. One thing you do not want to do is shop one company at a time because that's very time inefficient. You're much better going through an independent insurance agent who can quote you with multiple companies at once. And let the agent do the shopping around for you. Plus they'll be able to answer your questions of some of the things I've mentioned earlier about the quality of your policy. You won't get that if you're shopping online or calling directly to a customer service rep. So I hope this has helped you understand the basics of buying a boat insurance policy. Thanks and have a great day!
Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..