Boat Insurance in Florida: A Comprehensive Buying and Coverage Guide
Did you know that there are more than one million boat registrations in Florida alone? Florida has some of the highest rates of boat ownership in the United States. This is no surprise since there are plenty of places you can take your boat and enjoy the water.
You need boat insurance in Florida if you want to make sure your vehicle is safe. But what should you look for when choosing boat insurance coverage? How can you know if an insurance plan is right for you?
What should you avoid when choosing? Keep reading and learn more about what you should look for below.
Do You Really Need Boat Insurance in Florida?
Some people second-guess the importance of boat insurance. This is because a boat insurance plan can be quite expensive. Why should you bother paying for something to protect your boat from something that might or might not happen?
Isn’t it more affordable to not insure your boat as long as you’re careful when driving it? Not necessarily. Going without boat insurance is a dangerous thing.
Florida laws don’t force you to get boat insurance if you don’t want to. If you get a loan to buy your boat, some lenders may want you to get a boat policy to make sure your boat is safe. But other than that exception, there is nothing that says you have to get boat insurance.
But this doesn’t mean that you should go without it. This is because any damage to your boat can be very expensive to repair. Suppose your boat gets stolen.
If you don’t have insurance, you’re out of luck unless you can find your boat. There won’t be any way to reimburse you for your lost boat. This is also true if your boat gets severely damaged or destroyed.
Suppose your boat gets set on fire and most of it is destroyed. Without insurance, if you wanted to do any repairs or replacements, it would have to come out of your own pocket. These repairs may cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Even small damages can be very expensive.
Suppose the boat’s exterior paint gets scratched off due to a minor collision. This would require an entirely new paint job, which may cost thousands of dollars.
Unless you have thousands of dollars sitting around in your pocket, this could be a serious problem. It would also cause stress every time you want to use your boat. Without insurance, you would have to be very careful not to damage your boat.
There are also damages that you can’t control no matter how careful you are. You can’t control if your boat gets stolen or gets damaged in a storm. If you can’t afford to repair your boat once it gets damaged, you may have to get rid of the vehicle.
But you can save yourself the trouble by getting yourself some boat insurance. Boat insurance will act as a safety net for your boat and your finances. This ensures that your wallet won’t be drained in case something bad happens to your boat.
But some boats don’t need to be insured. If you have a canoe or a very small boat with a small motor, you won’t need insurance. This is because these boats are too small and cheap to require a traditional coverage plan.
If you have homeowner’s insurance, that plan may cover these small boats. Most homeowner’s plans cover around $1,000 for boats. Others may cover 10% of what your home is insured for.
While this isn’t a lot, it will be enough if you have a very small boat.
What Boat Insurance Does and Doesn’t Cover
Many people believe that once they get boat insurance, their plan will cover everything, but this isn’t true. The coverage you get will depend on the plan you buy. It will also depend on what kind of damage your boat sustained.
You can also get liability insurance. This covers damages your boat might do to other boats or structures. The good news is that most forms of boat insurance cover a wide variety of potential damages and other issues.
If your boat is damaged from vandalism, fire, lightning, or a collision, you’ll be covered. The insurance will also cover stolen boats. Your insurance should also cover individual parts of the boat that are permanently attached.
Suppose your anchor gets damaged or destroyed. Your coverage plan should cover this without any issues. You also won’t have to worry if someone gets injured while on your boat.
This bodily injury liability will be covered. This ensures that you shouldn’t have to pay for that person’s medical bills. Guest passenger liability is also included.
This is when you permit someone to drive your boat. If this guest damages your boat or another structure while driving the vehicle, those damages will be covered. Boat insurance will also pay for any injuries you may sustain while on the boat.
How It Works
While it isn’t common to get injured while on your own boat, you never know when it might happen. Another boat might come out of nowhere and crash into yours. Your boat may get struck by lightning or overturned by a rogue wave.
As long as you and your boat are protected, you’ll feel much more secure every time you take your boat out. But there are certain things that most boater’s insurance plans won’t cover.
Suppose that your boat sustains normal wear and tear after years of using it. Florida boat insurance won’t cover this because it is a normal part of a boat’s lifespan. It also won’t cover defective machinery.
If the boat’s machinery stops working or starts malfunctioning, you’ll have to use your own money to get to the root of the problem. Most insurance plans also don’t cover damage caused by marine animals. This includes sharks and other creatures.
Your boat insurance plan also won’t cover boat damage caused by small pests. These include insects, zebra mussels, mold, barnacles, and more. The good news is that the issues that aren’t covered by insurance aren’t very common.
This will keep down the overall cost of maintaining your boat.
How to Choose the Right Type of Boat Insurance
If you’ve never bought boat insurance before, you may be wondering what you should look for. There are so many insurance plans out there that it can be hard to choose. This is why you need to narrow down your options until you find the right one for you and your boat.
You first need to check what kind of damages an insurance plan will cover. Some are very specific about what they cover. Some may only cover crashes and similar types of damage.
They may not cover other important things like theft or guest passenger coverage. There are also additional types of coverage that some insurance plans may have. Consider salvage coverage.
Your boat may be damaged and need to be towed away for salvage. If your insurance plan doesn’t cover this, you’ll have to pay for it out of your own pocket. But you won’t have to deal with that if salvage is already part of your insurance plan.
Most insurance plans also won’t cover high-tech gadgets unless they’re permanently affixed to the boat. Consider advanced coolers, radar, touchscreen devices, and so on. If they get damaged, you will likely have to be the one paying for them.
You should also check for mechanical breakdown coverage. Suppose you’re taking your boat out and your motor gives out. If this problem is not due to wear and tear, a good insurance plan should cover it.
It is best to choose a coverage plan that handles all of these problems. This ensures that your boat will be covered, no matter what happens.
What You Need to Know
Many people don’t read the fine print when buying an insurance plan.
This is a big mistake. You never know what you might miss if you don’t read everything closely. You might be stuck with an insurance plan that barely covers anything.
This would be a waste of money and your boat wouldn’t be as protected as you need it to be. You should also check what kind of damage coverage the plan offers. Some plans will give you the actual cash value of whatever was damaged.
Suppose your boat was destroyed in an accident. The boat insurance company will determine the market value of your boat and give you that amount as compensation. But this may not be as much as you’d expect if your boat is old.
A boat’s market value will decrease as it gets older and more worn down. The market value of an older boat might be a fraction of what it used to be. But this is still better than nothing if the boat gets destroyed and you need compensation.
The other method of compensation is an agreed amount value. You can come to an agreement with your insurer about how much money you should get as compensation for the damage. It is important to consider all these factors before you decide on an insurance plan.
Some plans may be more tailored to what you’re looking for in a coverage plan. You may not need a general coverage plan, but instead something more specific, or vice versa.
Other Factors to Consider When Buying Boat Insurance
The cost is important to think about before you buy an insurance plan. Insurance plans can be expensive, especially those that offer a lot of coverage. You need to figure out if a plan with a lot of coverage is worth the cost of your boat.
What kind of boat do you have? If you have a small boat, there is no need to go all-out with advanced coverage options. If a small boat gets damaged, it won’t cost that much to repair or replace it.
But if you have a yacht or a sailboat, this is a different story. Large and fast boats are very expensive to buy, maintain, and repair. You’ll want to make sure that this kind of boat is covered from all angles.
Otherwise, you might be stuck with some massive bills if your boat ever gets damaged.
What to Know
Finding coverage for larger boats will require you to spend more money. But this doesn’t mean that you always have to spend an arm and a leg to get a good insurance plan.
There are ways that you can avoid very high costs. Some plans may offer discounts depending on what kind of boat you have. If you have a diesel-powered boat, some insurance plans may give you a certain percentage off the total price.
If you have not made a boat insurance claim before, this may also make you eligible for a discount. Suppose you have homeowner’s insurance and car insurance with the same company. If you get boat insurance from the same company, you may get a discount as well.
This can be a big help if you are worried about the cost of an insurance plan.
All About Boat Insurance in Florida
Boat insurance in Florida is vital. If you have a boat that is larger than a canoe, you should get insurance to protect it. This ensures that you won’t pay an arm and a leg to fix your boat if it gets damaged, stolen, or destroyed.
Are you ready to get a new insurance plan? Check out the options we have available.