7 Best Boat Insurance Companies of 2021

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Boat insurance helps cover repairs due to accidents, theft, fire, storms and other perils. It also offers liability protection in the event your watercraft injures someone or damages someone else’s property.

Even if you don’t use your boat regularly, insurance can provide peace of mind in case of unexpected events. To help you find the policy that best fits your lifestyle, check out Money’s guide to the best boat insurance companies for 2021.

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  • Wreckage removal and fuel spill cleanup included
  • Accident forgiveness and disappearing deductibles
  • Coverage limitations for expensive watercraft, and for big boats in hurricane-prone states

Not every insurer includes in its standard coverage the removal of your boat if it is wrecked and damage from fuel spills. Progressive is among those that do, but there are limitations. Wreckage removal is covered only when it is deemed to be legally necessary, and fuel spills only to the limits of your liability coverage.

Progressive boat insurance policies include accident forgiveness which keeps rates from increasing if your claims are for $500 or less. Boaters who’ve been Progressive customers for at least four years and remained accident-free for three are exempt from rate increase for any boat accident, regardless of the claim amount.

For an additional cost, you may include a “disappearing deductibles” policy that deducts 25% from your deductible amount for every claim-free period on your boat policy — until it reaches zero.

But Progressive has more limitations than some insurers on the vessels they will insure, and where they will do so. Personal watercraft (such as jet skis) worth more than $27,000 are not covered. In hurricane-prone states, insurance is not available for boats over 35 feet in length or that are worth more than $175,000.

Insurance companies generally offer policy discounts if you’re insuring multiple boats, have taken safety courses or combine your boat insurance policy with homeowners or auto insurance. Progressive, on the other hand, offers those and more, for a total of more than 10 discount options which might help you lower your boat insurance cost.

You can get discounts for being the original owner of the boat, a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCG), United States Power Squadron (USPS) or United Services Automobile Association (USAA), not having any watercraft or motor vehicle violations or accidents on your record for the last three years, making payments on time and more.

Like other insurers, Progressive offers a wide array of optional coverages. These include those for total-loss replacement, which provides full reimbursement without depreciation;
on-water towing; and full replacement cost and repairs to the lower unit of an outboard motor — even if it’s caused by wear and tear.

Additional coverage options:

  • Total-loss replacement
  • On-water towing
  • Fishing equipment
  • Personal effects
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Medical payments
  • Trip interruption
  • Uninsured/underinsured boater
  • Comprehensive coverage

Progressive policy discounts:

  • Multi-policy
  • Responsible driver
  • Original owner
  • Transfer from another company
  • Association member
  • Multi-boat
  • Advanced quote
  • Pay in full
  • Prompt payment
  • Safety course
  • Small accident forgiveness
  • Large accident forgiveness
  • Disappearing deductibles
  • Free boater safety and education programs to earn discounts
  • Extra-cost towing and emergency assistance plans available
  • Geico auto insurance policyholders may get a discount
  • Option to extend your coverage to Alaska, Bahamas, Mexico and the Caribbean
  • Not all policy options available in every state or vessel type
  • Does not offer replacement-cost insurance
  • BoatUS membership required to sign up for unlimited towing benefits

BoatUS is one of the largest membership-based organizations for recreational boat owners. While a membership isn’t required to get a BoatUS insurance quote, buying one entitles you to benefits much like those offered by AAA or other auto clubs for your car. These include BoatUS safety courses (free to all, regardless of whether they have BoatUS insurance), the completion of which can earn you discounts on your boat insurance.

The company is owned by Geico and offers agreed value, actual cash value and liability coverage policies for most types of boats — though not replacement cost coverage, which many insurers offer.

The Membership program offers discounts on charter cruises, towing, fuel, boat supplies and fishing stores, watercraft storage, repairs and other services. There is also towing assistance, which varies by the membership level you choose.

The four membership plans vary in price between $25 and $179 per year. Each plan includes 24/7 towing assistance, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft grounding. As you move up a price tier, the plans may cover up to 100% of emergency tows and provide a reimbursement of up to $3,000 for tows not provided by the BoatUS towing network.

Also, do note that since BoatUS is a subsidiary of Geico, they offer the same policy. In fact, the Geico boat insurance quote process redirects you to the BoatUS website.

Not every insurer allows you to buy extra-cost coverage for countries other than the U.S. from them or facilitate buying it from their partners. BoatUS allows you to extend your coverage to Alaska, Bahamas, Mexico and the Caribbean — all of which are rarely or ever included in standard boat insurance.

Additional coverage options:

  • Dock contract liability
  • Fishing guide
  • Ice and freezing
  • Lifetime repair guarantee
  • Lower deductible for dinghies
  • Lower deductible for electronic issues
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Personal effects coverage
  • Medical payments
  • Unlimited towing
  • Trailer coverage with roadside assistance

BoatUS policy discounts:

  • Safety courses
  • Multi-policy
  • Eight packages by boat type
  • Multiple discounts, such as those for boaters 55 years or older
  • Bahamas and Mexico navigation included with Elite package
  • Specialized insurance options for USAA members
  • May not cover boats over 50 feet in length or $500,000 in value
  • Some coverage options only available with the Elite package

Insurance companies usually offer a base policy that boaters can customize by adding optional riders or by choosing policies tailored to boat type. Foremost offers an unusually high number — eight — of such packages, tailored to boat type, age or coverage level. These can simplify the selection of the policy features you need.

Foremost also offers three main packages: the Saver, Plus and Elite. The Saver is an inexpensive insurance option that provides actual cash value settlements which take depreciation into account.

Upgrading to the Plus allows you to add total loss replacement settlement, which pays to repair your boat to the condition and with the same materials as before an accident, rather than only to a depreciated amount.

The Elite is the most comprehensive choice, adding pollution (spill) liability, navigation across the Bahamas and Mexico, towing services and more.

There are also packages for pontoon boats, boats that are more than 25 years old, speedboats that reach speeds of 77 mph or greater and personal watercraft such as jet skis.

Every plan can be customized with extra coverage options for medical payments, personal property, the boat’s transport trailer and more.

Additional coverage options:

  • Personal Liability
  • Uninsured Watercraft
  • Medical Payments

Read More:7 Best Boat Insurance Companies of 2021

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