Accidents on the water are more common than you might think. In 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard counted 4,145 accidents, involving 633 deaths, 2,511 injuries and approximately $46 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. You can’t always see an accident coming. However, you can have a plan for how you’ll manage if something does happen. Part of this plan should be insurance.
The 5 best boat insurance companies
To help you find the best boat insurance agencies, we evaluated 21 boat insurance companies, considering each one’s coverages offered, discounts, ability to purchases or obtain quotes online, customer service ratings, benefits, bundles options and more. Our top 5 insurance companies for boat insurance are:
- Progressive: Best for Value
- United States Power Squadron (USPS) Boat Insurance Program: Best for United States Power Squadron Members
- Allstate: Best for Budget
- State Farm: Best for Additional (Optional) Coverages
- Nationwide: Best for Bundles
Progressive: Best for Value
- Rates as low as $100 per year (premium based on liability insurance only)
- Coverage for boats worth up to $350,000 and 50 feet long
- Water sport injury coverage available
Coverage and Discounts
Progressive boat insurance is only available for boats up to 50 feet long. There are some age and value restrictions as well, including:
- Boats up to 10 years old and worth $350,000 or less
- Boats that are 11-20 years old and worth up to $250,000
- Boats that are more than 20 years old, but worth less than $40,000
In addition to the standard coverages most boat insurers offer (such as liability, etc), Progressive also offers coverage for full replacement cost with comprehensive and collision coverage, fuel spills (regardless of cause), legally required wreckage removal, roadside assistance for when your car gives out and your boat is attached and injuries from watersports. Optional coverages include total loss replacement for new boats within five years.
Progressive offers discounts on your premiums for safe driving, U.S. Coast Guard or USAA membership, multiple boats on the same policy, boats that have been paid off, safety course completion and on-time payments. The company also offers a diminishing deductible for safe boaters.
Up-to-date with modern technology, Progressive is mobile and online friendly with the option of online quotes and accounts, live chat and a mobile app. Progessive is available almost immediately and can be purchased online, through a phone rep or by meeting with a local agent.
United States Power Squadron (USPS) Boat Insurance Program: Best for USPS Members
- Flexible payment options
- Hurricane safe harbor reimbursement
- $854,000 automatic fuel spill liability
Unlike most other insurance agencies, USPS strictly provides insurance for boats. With automatic coverage for water skiing, free personal effect coverage up to $1,500 and hurricane safe harbor reimbursement, it’s clear USPS offers a competitive package. The company also provides automatic fuel spill liability of up to $854,000.
USPS offers online quotes, 24/7 claims processing, same-day coverage and policy discounts for automatic payments and paying your premium in bulk.
Allstate: Best for Budget
- Rates as low as $21/month
- Boat trailer coverage
- Emergency services, such as towing and fuel, oil or battery delivery
With nearly nine decades of service in the insurance industry, Allstate offers the second lowest starting rate for premiums on boat insurance, at $21/month.
Extensive coverage options are available, and discounts such as 10% off for paying the entire premium immediately and 20% when combined with home insurance, makes this already affordable insurance even more realistic for those on a budget.
Technology and Other Considerations
Allstate provides its customers with an online account, the ability to report claims online and a mobile app.
State Farm: Best for Additional (Optional) Coverages
- Optional rental coverage
- Coverage specific to boat’s engine
- Insures a wide range of boats
State Farm boat insurance insures everything from kayaks and canoes to yachts and houseboats. Like most boat insurance companies, State Farm offers liability, comprehensive and collision coverage, plus optional add-on coverage for parts including the boat engine, personal effects coverage, fishing tournament fee reimbursement, emergency services, boat rental, renting your boat to others and more.
To lower premium rates on boat insurance, State Farm encourages policy holders to complete a boat education course. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer many other discounts to its boat coverage.
Nationwide: Best for Bundles
- Boat insurance packages that help customers save
- Significant multi-policy discount
- Optional on-water boat towing and labor coverage
Nationwide’s basic boat insurance coverage includes uninsured and underinsured motorist, liability, collision and comprehensive. Unique to each customer’s boating lifestyle, Nationwide offers four unique packages for covering fishing equipment, personal effects and towing.
If you already have policies with nationwide, you could take advantage of multi-policy discounts on your boat insurance. Additional discounts with Nationwide’s boat insurance include savings for taking a boater safety course, purchasing a diesel fuel vessel, paying your yearly premium in full and for renewing your policy with no claims.
How to find the right boat insurance coverage for you
The first choice you need to make when searching for boat insurance is the type of policy you want. There are two options:
Agreed value refers to an amount agreed between the buyer and the insurance company. This policy version is more expensive because the depreciation of your boat is not considered. In the event of an accident, the insurance company could end up paying you even more than the boat is worth.
Actual cash value means if something happens to you boat, the insurance company will pay up to actual market value for the craft, minus depreciation. Because the insurance company would pay you less with this type of coverage since the value of the boat includes depreciation, your premium cost will also be lower.
Next, you need to determine whether the companies you are interested in offer insurance for the type of boat you have. Some companies only cover boats up to a certain length and a specific age.
Then you’ll need to consider what type of coverages you want. Are you comfortable solely purchasing liability insurance or do you want the assurance of knowing that even if someone who is uninsured causes damage to your vessel, you are covered to get the repairs and help you need? You’ll want to determine what is most important to you in coverage first and search for those criteria. You should complete this same process with additional coverage options, benefits and discounts.
How much does boat insurance cost?
Your boat insurance rate will vary by company and the coverage you choose. Insurance companies will also look at a variety of factors about you and your boat when determining your monthly premium.
Insurance companies will look at the following factors to determine your boat insurance rate:
- Years of boating experience (if you lack prior boating experience, your auto history will be weighed in)
- Credit score and history
- Boating safety education and other discounts
- Age of boat
- Length of boat
- Speed of boat
- Your age
Frequently asked questions
Do I really need boat insurance?
Legally, most states do not require boat insurance. However, if you are financing your boat, the lender may require proof of insurance. Even if they do not, being a responsible boater means being prepared for every scenario, including accidents.
Help prepare for the possibility of an boating accident by maintaining active insurance coverage.
What states require boat insurance?
Only three states require boat insurance: Arkansas, Hawaii, Utah.
What should I expect to pay for boat insurance?
According to Progressive, annual boat insurance rates for the company ranged from $188 to $495 in 2017, depending on your state. An average medium policy average was about $256 per year.
However, the premium quote insurance companies will provide you will vary by a range of factors, including the size and age of your boat, the type of boat you own, your ZIP code, desired coverages, discounts applied, etc.
Does boat insurance cover sinking?
While most boat insurance policies cover sinking, there are some that do not. Make sure you check potential policies thoroughly for coverage areas, including sinking, before purchasing
Will boat insurance still cover me if an accident takes place in international waters?
While most basic policies do not cover international travel, many insurance companies offer international extensions. Always confer with your insurance company before leaving U.S. waters.