Boat Insurance Basics



The sun was bright and the wind was blowing at a perfect eight miles per hour. I was itching to sail.

At the marina, I buckled the kids into their lifejackets and herded them through rows of watercraft to our slip. This, I thought, was going to be a day to remember—one of those summer days upon which I could look back when I was old.

And I was right. I wouldn’t forget it. Just as we got ready to board, I spotted a sailboat aiming for the spot next to us. My stomach dropped when I realized it was coming in way too fast. Then, of course, I heard that gut-wrenching sound of grinding gel coat as it clipped our stern.

It was also a day I thanked the Lord for boat insurance. My advice to you is to know your policy.


The Basics:

A collision is just one several boating mishaps that could ruin a perfectly nice outing. Common scenarios include:

  • Collision with underwater objects or other watercraft
  • Theft
  • Storm damage
  • Injury
  • Running aground
  • Fire

Any of these will heighten your stress levels, but they can also damage your bank account. Hibbs Insurance makes sure you have the right policies to help you get back on the water as quickly as possible. 

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First Thing’s First:

As soon as an accident happens, you should tend to injuries, of course. Don’t discuss fault or cause, and file a police report if necessary. Then, worry about insurance. After my accident, I thoroughly documented the damage boat with photographs and notes. I wrote down information such as the number of people involved, the contact info for the other party, and the license and registration numbers of the boats involved. Then, I got a copy of the police report for my insurance agent.

When Should You File a Claim?:

I filed an insurance claim against the other party’s boat liability policy because he was at fault. But, your type of insurance coverage will determines whether or not you should file in other situations. For example, a liability-only policy doesn’t cover storm damage, so if that’s what you have, you shouldn’t file if lightning strikes your mast.

Read your policy carefully and know what situations it covers. Hibbs Insurance agents are also available to answer any questions.

Why a Claim Might Get Denied:

A company will deny your claim if it suspects that claim to be fraudulent. This is why photos and notes are so important. Make sure the information you collect is as accurate as possible.

A company will also deny your claim if your policy doesn’t cover the issue or if the claim falls under certain exclusions. “Exclusions” are damages not covered. These can include:

  • Scratches and normal wear and tear
  • Corrosion
  • Ruined or lost personal items
  • Damage from marine life
  • Manufacturing defects

You need to understand your exclusions so you know what and what not to include in your claim.

An accident is unfortunate, but with a little prior policy knowledge, you can sort it out quickly. Don’t stress. You’ll be back at the marina in no time!

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