What to look for in good boat insurance
Finding quality insurance for boats can be a significant challenge, and leave you trying to decipher the big game talk and the sales pitches to find a good insurance company for your own budget and needs. Typically, looking for insurance for boats isn’t any more time consuming or difficult than it is looking for insurance for a car, or any type of vehicle really!
The problem is that because the boat industry is typically seen as a “high-class” one, many companies are only too happy to give you an outrageously priced insurance quote. However, while many prices are obscene if you know what signs to look for in a company you can usually separate the good from the bad.
Here are the questions to ask:
Here are the questions to ask:
Are They Stable?
One thing you should always be trying to find out is just how stable the company is. It might surprise you to know that the insurance industry is full of people looking to make a quick buck and skipping regulations all over the place. While getting the accounts for an insurance company isn’t going to happen, you’ll be able to tell how stable a company is from their actual membership scale. How many policy holders do they claim to have?
You can find news articles scattered all across the web giving you great ideas on this. Stability comes from the companies that have a lot of policy holders, and typically come with positive reviews. Negative reviews are always going to occur – no company can keep everyone happy – but you can usually tell if it’s been a rare occurrence or the norm from the volume of reviews.
How Are You Treated?
One thing a review can give you is an average, but it won’t give you an actual first-hand impression. If you have time to kill, the easiest way to see how an insurance company will treat you is to put in a claim. See what the response is like when they give you a call about the claim – this is the quickest way to see how the reaction is.
They shouldn’t be falling over themselves to get you to sign up, as any good insurance company should be engaging in a thorough process and dialogue with you first. As well as being courteous and expansive with their dialogue, a good insurance company will make you feel at ease and feel informed long before the idea of sales and policies should be brought up.
Another good indicator is the amount of claim centers that they have, and this can usually be found on their website.
Are They Managed By Professionals?
Speaking of the website, a good insurance company for boats will have a very clear and effective website. If it feels like it’s full of sales pitches and over the top calls to action, you might want to look elsewhere. A quality insurance company lets their facts and figures do the talking, not overblown hype.
Because a boat is such a prized asset, you need to get it insured. Therefore, a good company will let themselves do the selling through being professional and transparent about what they offer. If you find that the company is doing an awful lot of talking without telling you a whole lot, you might want to look elsewhere.
Quality Over Cost
While things like the price they offer you will always come into it, these smaller indicators will give you an idea of who you are dealing with first and foremost. The price might be good, but the service could be an absolute joke!
Test out the service quality first before deciding that the boat insurance you have decided upon is for you. A little bit of research and a few hours spent trying and testing different options can go a long way should you ever need to file a claim.
Top tips for getting the most from your boat insurance:
- Consult with a knowledgeable marine insurance agent/broker to get a less biased opinion.
- Take a boater's safety course or get your captain's license to save on your insurance premium.
- Consider suspending insurance coverage during layup periods and winter storage. Check your home owner's policy to see if your boat is covered if stored in your garage or on your property.
- If you plan to cruise, travel, or otherwise use your boat outside of your normal boating location, check with your policy to make sure you're still covered.
- Ask about getting insurance policy riders for special situations such as cruising out of the country or living aboard.
- If you own a trailer for your boat, check your boat insurance policy to determine how/if it is covered.
- Some insurance policies offer a towing/on-water-assistance add-ons. Check with your agent if you're interested.
- Keep a good inventory of equipment and personal belongings on your boat in case of theft, damage or loss.
- Keep good maintenance, repair and purchase records for the boat, parts and equipment.
- Some insurance policies require a professional marine survey to be conducted on your boat prior to issuing the policy. If you have a current marine survey for your boat, be sure to mention it to your agent when shopping for insurance.
- Get several quotes from different sources when shopping for a policy and be sure to let agents/companies know that you are getting multiple quotes to compare.
- Ask what percentage of an insurance companies policies/business comes from watercraft to ensure they are experienced with the unique situations that boaters face.
- Before purchasing a policy, ask how claims are reported and handled.
- Make sure you understand exactly how your boat's value was determined by your insurance company.
- Ask about environmental impact protection from things like fuel spills and leaks from a sunken or partially sunken boat. Are your salvage/recovery costs also covered?