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What is boat insurance?

To ensure that the fun lasts as long as possible when you’re out on the water this season, make sure you have this critical insurance that protects you financially against any boating accidents that can happen.

If only the New England boating season could last as long as our winters seem to do. But, sadly, it can feel frustratingly short. However, somewhere around April, it does typically start to warm up around here, and boat owners like you can finally turn your thoughts and actions to getting your watercraft ready for long lazy days tubing around the lake regions of New Hampshire or Maine, sailing around Cape Cod Bay, or catching some bluefish off Plymouth Harbor.

At Austin Insurance, we understand that there is a lot of pre-launch day prep work for you to do before your boat is water-ready. You’ll be inspecting all safety equipment on board, cleaning your entire vessel, putting a fresh coat of paint on the hull, giving the engine a tune-up, and much more.

But there’s one more checklist item we don’t want you to forget to do before that long-awaited first boating day arrives. We recommend that you spend some time with us reviewing your boat insurance policy to make sure that it is properly designed to safeguard you, your boat, your passengers, and other boaters on the waterways. Otherwise, your boating season could get off to a very rough start – or end abruptly – if you get in an accident where your coverage is not sufficient.

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Getting – and maintaining – the proper boat insurance coverage

Boat insurance is designed to cover the inherent risks that come with spending the day on the water. This type of policy provides financial protection for many types of vessels, including inboard and outboard motorboats, sailboats, utility boats, cruisers, saltwater fishing boats, performance boats, yachts, and more, against:

  • Physical Damages and losses caused by common risks, such as sinking, fire, storms, theft, and collision. This coverage typically extends to the hull and other permanent components of your boat, including motors, extra fuel tanks, batteries, anchors, and onboard safety equipment, such as flotation devices and fire extinguishers. It also generally applies to damages to your boat whether it is on the water or on land at the time of the incident.
  • Liability should your boat cause injury to others or damage others’ boats, docks, or structures. This coverage typically extends to accidents where the injury or damage is due to direct contact with your boat. It also generally covers situations indirectly caused by your vessel, like if you cause a large wake that hits another boat and results in its passengers getting thrown around, or even tossed overboard, and injured. The best liability coverage should also provide some level of protection against lawsuits, including paying settlements and legal fees. However, you may also want to consider purchasing a personal umbrella policy, which could provide extra liability protection above the limits stated in your boat insurance. In the event you were ever sued for an amount that exceeds the basic liability limits of your boat policy, then your umbrella policy would act like a life preserver, keeping you from drowning under all those legal expenses.
  • Other Customizable Coverages that could be added to a boat insurance policy include protection against damages to your dinghy, boat trailer, a rented boat, professional fishing guide equipment, or special accessories you’ve added to your boat. In addition, you may want to consider investing in coverage for other boating risks such as salvage work, wreck removal, pollution damage, environmental damage, consequential damage (rot, mold, corrosion), towing, and more.

While large and powerful watercraft – those with horsepower of 100mph or more – will always require a separate boat insurance policy, if you have a smaller boat with less get-up-and-go, then it’s possible that it is currently covered under your homeowners insurance. A standard home policy will sometimes provide a minimal level of protection for vessels like a canoe, an undersized sailboat, or a small aluminum skiff with less than a 25 mile per hour horsepower outboard motor.

Whether you are just now thinking of getting into boating or you’ve enjoyed exploring all of New England’s waterways since you were a kid, it’s a smart idea to consult with an experienced, local insurance agent, like Austin Insurance. Our team will help you determine the proper insurance policy for your unique vessel and how you use it.

How Austin takes care of you and your boat is different from all the rest

When it comes to getting the right boat insurance coverage and quote, there is nothing more important than working with a thorough and knowledgeable insurance professional.

At Austin Insurance, we will work collaboratively with you to fully understand your boat’s unique characteristics, to make sure no stone is left unturned, and to do all of the necessary fact-finding that will lead to an accurate insurance policy at the best possible rate.

While the type of boat you have is clearly a key factor we will use in determining the right insurance solution, there are many other factors we will consider in order to make sure that we place your boat insurance policy with a top-quality marine insurer who is a match with your distinct needs, including:

  • What is the age, length, and value of the boat?
  • What speed/horsepower is the boat capable of?
  • What condition is the boat in?
  • Was the boat crafted to meet U.S. Coast Guard Standards at the time it was built?
  • Where do you store your boat during the off-season?
  • Is the boat used as a primary residence?
  • If the boat is a houseboat, does it have a motor?
  • Is the boat homemade, and what kit did you use?
  • Is there one, two or more owners of the boat?
  • Do you intend to use the boat in a river, on the lake, at the ocean, or other?

Not only will the answers to these questions, and a few more, make it much easier for us to identify which company and insurance solution is the best fit for you and your boat, but these facts about your watercraft may also help us find ways to reduce your insurance costs.

From putting your boat in safe storage during the winter, to having a good driving record, to taking a boater education class, all of these can be an opportunity for you to receive discounts, deductions, or credits from an insurer. And, if you’ve already saved money by bundling your home and auto insurance with the same carrier, it might result in even more savings if you use that same provider for your boat insurance.

Perhaps the most valuable service that we provide our boat owners, though, is our personalized and very hands-on approach to claims assistance. In the unfortunate event that you sustain a loss to your vessel, and need to report a claim, you should contact us as soon as possible. We are dedicated to supporting you throughout the claims process, from giving you our professional guidance on filing your claim, to answering any questions and helping you navigate any issues that may arise. Our team is here to see you all the way through to the satisfactory resolution of your claim and to make sure that you, and your boat, can get back out on the water as quickly as possible.

To experience our personalized approach to boat insurance, please call the Austin team today, 781-447-5561.

The Austin Family takes care of your Jet Ski, WaveRunner and Other Personal Watercraft too

There’s nothing like getting that perfect summer day to get out on the water, with friends and family, and to bring out all the “toys.” Using Jet Skis, WaveRunners, Sea-Doos and other personal watercraft (PWC) is a guaranteed way to have a lot of fun.

However, would it surprise you to know that PWCs are also likely to come with a whole lot of risk of an accident as well? According to the U.S. Coast Guard, these vehicles have higher rates of collision than any other type of boat. Most of these crashes involve another boat, and often result in throwing the rider – and sometimes boat passengers – into the water at breakneck speeds that can lead to broken limbs, teeth, or worse.

This is why protecting yourself with the proper personal watercraft insurance is so important. This policy covers you or someone you’ve allowed to operate your vehicle for incidents that result in:

  • Bodily injury to another person
  • Bodily injury to you caused by an uninsured watercraft operator
  • Property damage
  • Liability and the associated legal costs if you’re sued due to an accident

A PWC insurance policy can also be designed to cover theft, towing, and water sports liability, which is the risk that comes with activities like waterskiing or tubing. Please contact the Austin team for help figuring out the appropriate insurance coverage for all your personal watercraft and for more tips on how to safely enjoy them.