Most people think of a boat insurance policy as a straightforward, all-encompassing document and that one policy is pretty much like another…only the rates are different. Wrong, wrong, wrong…
Text by Ryan Jarrell | February 9, 2018 | Lifestyle

1. Consequential Damage: Don’t just assume that everything — sinking, fire and more — is covered. Also, check if your policy covers salvage. Many don’t.
2. Potential Payout: The declaration pages of two policies may show the same amounts but there is a large difference between “agreed value” and “actual cash value.”
3. Seaworthiness/Maintenance: Many carriers will deny a claim if your boat is unseaworthy or deferred maintenance led to the claim, such as in the case of sinking at the dock.
4. Popular Update: A clause that is becoming much more common lately is one that involves the exclusion of any alcohol-related incidents.
5. Navigation Limits: Beware of going outside your agreed-upon territory or you will not be covered. This usually applies to yachts and larger boats.
6. Underage Operators: Just because your 12-year-old can “hold the wheel just for a minute” doesn’t mean they should. Age requirements vary from state to state.
7. Dockage/Storage: If you move your boat, you must inform the insurance company. Location plays a significant part in insurance calculations, even if you don’t move it far.
8. Liveaboard Coverage: Some companies charge extra for it it, some don’t, and in some cases it’s not allowed at all.
9. Almost Done: Lastly, ask your agent to play around with the value of the boat, medical coverages, etc. A small tweak to the policy can often mean a significant discount.
10. Get Rewarded: Better companies give credit for not having claims with a reduced rate or lowered deductible. Don’t forget to ask over the coming years.