Congratulations on your ticket to endless adventures on the seas! Well, at least that’s how I felt when I bought my first boat...
Boat ownership can be a love/hate relationship, but in my experience, it’s been more love than hate. At Harrell Agency, we get a decent amount of questions about boat insurance. So we wanted to write about it and maybe clear up some misconceptions about boat insurance.
Do I have to?! (Is boat insurance required in Florida?)
A lot of people are used to getting told what they have to do when dealing with insurance, but that’s not the case with boat insurance. You don’t have to buy it unless you have a loan on your new toy. Then the bank will, of course, want you to protect your new water retreat. Simply put, though, there are no state requirements that force you to buy insurance, but you might find it worth your while to go ahead and get some insurance. We will talk about that a little later!
How much coverage do I need?
I recommend boat owners carry the same (or similar) liability limits that they have on their auto insurance policy. Your car insurance liability coverage should reflect the assets you have to lose, therefore your boat insurance coverage should be similar. The more you have to lose, the higher your liability limits should be. If you are unclear about what your car insurance coverage should be, see our auto insurance glossary or simply message or email me with #AskHarrell in the subject line. As far as covering your boat itself… It works pretty similar to car insurance as well. Most policies will ask you how much you want to cover your boat for. So either cover it for what you paid for it, or if you got a really good deal on it, just use a site like NADA to value your boat and use that amount.
Will I need to sell a kidney to pay for boat insurance?
Well, you might need to sell a precious organ if the motor ever burns out on you, but no… Boat insurance is relatively cheap. Unless you are insuring a yacht, it’s pretty inexpensive. The average boat policy we write is $200 - $300 a year. Some companies offer discounts on boating experience and safety classes, so check with your agent to see how much those can save you. Something else you might want to consider is storage. If you are storing the boat in your garage versus at an open lot, you will pay a decent amount less when it is stored in your garage.
Owning a boat in Florida is a must as far as I am concerned! It’s the best way to enjoy some of the most beautiful bodies of water in the country. Just make sure that just in case someone gets hurt or you accidentally sink your new toy… You are covered, and covered properly!