Boat insurance is a type of specialty insurance that is often called marine insurance and is offered by boat insurance providers. It protects you from financial loss due to a boating accident or a natural disaster. Boat insurance policies vary widely but generally cover any physical damage to your vessel as well as liability coverage in the event your boat caused damage to other property or persons.
The best boat insurance providers offer policies tailored to your specific boating needs, have easy-to-navigate websites, and competitive pricing. They are also reputable companies with strong financial standings and industry experience that are familiar with the intricacies of the boating industry.
Best Boat Insurance Providers of 2021
- Best for Professional Fishermen: Markel
- Best for Affordability: Allstate
- Best for Safe Boat Drivers: Progressive
- Best for Additional Coverage Options: Foremost
- Best for Policy Bundling: Nationwide
- Best for Individualized Customer Service: United Marine Underwriters
- Best for Emergency Services Coverage: State Farm
- Best for Additional Benefits: BoatUS
Best for Professional Fishermen : Markel
Markel customizes your boat insurance policy based on your needs. It also has fishermen add-ons to replace the cost of fishing equipment.
Decades of boating industry experience
Policies tailored to your boating needs
Free online quotes
Need to contact company for policy details
Website could be updated
Not as well-known as other providers
The Markel Corporation is a specialty insurance company that offers specialized coverage for boats. They have an A (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best and an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau. The company has been in business since 1930 and offers comprehensive boat insurance policies for boats and personal watercraft (PWCs or jet-skis). The Markel policy has an option to add coverage if you’re a professional fisherman which provides replacement cost coverage for a preset agreed upon value of fishing equipment. Several discounts are available including an accident-free discount, operator over age 40 discount, and an experienced boater discount for boaters who have five years or more of boating experience. If you happen to qualify for all of the discounts available through Markel, you could save up to 35% on your boat insurance premium. Extra features also come standard without having to pay an additional premium.
Best for Affordability : Allstate
Allstate is an insurance powerhouse that offers affordable boat insurance, multiple discounts, and additional boating resources on its website.
Financially sound company
Boat education discount
Easy to use website
Need to speak to agent for policy details
Doesn’t specialize in boat insurance
May not get personal attention of a smaller company
Allstate is one of the biggest personal insurers in the United States, consistently drawing high financial strength and customer service ratings from a variety of rating institutions, including A+ (Superior) from AM Best. Allstate advertises its boat insurance as being affordable for a variety of boat types and coverage options, with some policies available for as low as a $25 monthly premium. The company offers a variety of payment options to fit your financial situation, including Allstate's Easy Pay Plan where you can save 5% by having your boat insurance premium automatically deducted from your checking account. Or, if you opt to pay in full, you can save up to 10% on your policy premium. If you already have other policies through Allstate, it makes sense to check into their boat insurance coverage since you can save up to 20% on your policy premium by combining it with a home policy. Allstate also offers a 10% discount on boat insurance to all home owners.
Best for Safe Boat Drivers : Progressive
Progressive offers a variety of comprehensive boat insurance policies and offers discounts for safe boat drivers.
Marine surveys not required
Detailed and organized website
Need to contact for pricing
New boaters may be overwhelmed with choices
Don’t insure houseboats
Progressive Insurance is well-known throughout the United States and has an excellent reputation for providing comprehensive coverage at competitive prices. Progressive has been writing boat policies for over 35 years and now insures more than one million watercraft. You can buy a boat policy for several types of personal watercraft vessels up to 50 feet long and up to $500,000 in value.
There are several attractive discounts to reward safe boat owners, including a decreasing deductible, in which your policy deductible will decrease for each policy period you remain accident-free, and a safety course discount for anyone who completes a state-approved safety course. New policyholders will enjoy small accident forgiveness for claims of $500 or less, while customers who have insured their watercraft through Progressive for at least four years and been accident-free for the past three years are awarded large accident forgiveness that ensures no increase in rates for any accident.
Best for Additional Coverage Options : Foremost
Foremost offers various boat insurance packages with unique add-ons including trip interruption services.
Unique add ons like onboard pet coverage
Contact agent for pricing
Contact agent for specific coverage maximums
Website could give more details
Foremost is a part of the Farmers Insurance Group of companies. It is a specialty insurance company that has been in business since 1952, and it's known for providing affordable coverage for boat insurance in all 50 U.S. states. Foremost offers some unique coverage options for an additional premium, including hurricane haul-out, enhanced towing services, fishing tournament fee reimbursement, additional pollution liability coverage, pet coverage and trip interruption service. (The Elite policy provides the most comprehensive coverage.)
There are several discounts available through Foremost that are designed to save you money on your premium. This includes a lay-up discount, paid-in-full discount, boating safety course, protective device discount, multi-policy discount, multi-unit discount, loss-free renewal discount, prior insurance, insured age (discount if you are 55 or older), and affinity and alliance discounts for boat operators who are a part of an approved affinity group or alliance organization. Coverage is also available for classic boats over 25 years old.
Best for Policy Bundling : Nationwide
Nationwide is a well-known insurance provider that offers several packages to choose from and offers bundling discounts.
Multiple packages to choose from
Rental reimbursement coverage
Need to enter zip code for policy details
Contact for pricing
Website could be more detailed
If you are already a Nationwide policyholder, then you may be eligible for the multi-policy discount offered through Nationwide Insurance, which gives you a discount for combining your home, boat, vehicle or life insurance policies. A few perks of this policy include optional towing and rental reimbursement coverage, as well as roadside assistance when you insure your boat trailer.
Several options are available for boat insurance with a variety of package options. You can get coverage for fishing equipment from $1,000 to $10,000, personal effects from $3,000 to $5,000 and towing coverage from $500 to $2,500. Other discounts include multi-boat, boater safety course, diesel fuel, paid-in-full discount, and a claims-free renewal discount that goes into effect for the policy renewal period if you have remained claims-free for the entire policy period. Nationwide also has a rewards program through a partnership with Plenti, which allows customers to earn points that can be applied as discounts at certain stores.
Best for Individualized Customer Service : United Marine Underwriters
The provider offers personal attention to its customers, doesn’t make them feel like a number, and each customer gets assigned a primary customer service agent.
High coverage limit
Discounts for boat safety courses
Can’t buy other types of insurance from them
Contact for pricing and policy details
As it emphasizes on its website, United Marine Underwriters is a specialty insurance company that writes insurance for just boats. It has been in business since 1990 and provides boat insurance in all U.S. states except New Mexico. Boat insurance navigation is also available to Canada, the Bahamas, and Mexico. Liability limits are available up to $1,000,000, with discounts available for completing one of several boating safety courses approved by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Power Squadron and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, among others, according to its website.
One of the more unique things about United Marine Underwriters is its policy service. When you purchase a boat insurance policy through United Marine Underwriters, you are assigned a primary service person who takes care of all of your servicing needs. This company really cares about its customer service.
Best for Emergency Services Coverage : State Farm
State Farm is a well-known insurance provider that offers additional coverages including emergency services reimbursement.
Optional coverage including wreck-removal
Coverage for houseboats and jet-skis
No online quotes for boat insurance
Website needs more detailed information
Need to contact agent for policy details
In business since 1922, State Farm is one of the best-known names in insurance in the United States. They offer boat liability and property damage insurance for common risks like storms, collision, theft, and more, with add-on coverage options available (for an additional premium). Their property damage coverage extends protection not only to equipment permanently attached to your boat but also to accessories such as detachable canopies, life preservers, and seat cushions. State Farm has resources available for boat owners including articles on boat trailer safety tips, boat safety, and water safety. Boat insurance is available for a multitude of watercraft: runabout/sport boats, cruisers/yachts, sailboats, bass boats, jet skis, houseboats, and kayak/canoes.
If you find yourself in perils such as sinking, explosions, fire, capsizing, or stranding, you may benefit from having State Farm's emergency services coverage that pays up to a certain amount of reasonable costs resulting from emergency service for your boat, a boat trailer, or your boat motor (details specified in your plan). Other add-on options include wreck-removal coverage, temporary repairs (to protect your boat from further damage), and “new boat” coverage, which protects your newly-acquired watercraft until you are able to add it to your insurance policy.
Best for Additional Benefits : BoatUS
BoatUS offers boat insurance as well as towing services and additional discounts on boat charters and services.
Coverage for fishing and watersports gear
Teamed up with Geico
Contact for quote
Mixed customer reviews
Overload of boating services on site
BoatUS offers boat insurance through the Boat Owners Association of the United States and was acquired by GEICO in 2015. The company has been in business since 1966, resulting in a mix of online customer reviews. But a great majority are positive, especially in the area of claims service. BoatUS offers boat policies in all 50 states for many different types of personal watercraft and yachts.
While membership is not required to get a quote, added benefits for BoatUS members include discounts on popular boating and fishing businesses, fuel, slips, and charter cruises. The basic membership fee is relatively inexpensive at $25/year and goes up to an Unlimited Gold Towing membership for $179 that comes with perks like 100% payment dock-to-dock tows as well as $3,000 for tows outside of TowBoatUS service area. Other membership packages include Unlimited Freshwater Towing for $90/year and Unlimited Saltwater Towing for $165/year.
All of the best boat insurance providers that made our list have different things to offer. Some offer custom policies tailored to your boating needs and others specialize in the marine industry. Overall, we recommend checking out Markell. The company has more than three decades of marine experience, offers multiple discounts, and offers competitively priced policies with customized coverage.
Compare The Best Boat Insurance Providers
|Company||Price||Coverage Limit||Policy Types (#)||Discounts|
Best for Professional Fishermen
|$100+/year||Contact for details||1 custom policy||Yes|
Best for Affordability
Best for Safe Boat Drivers
|Contact for quote||$500,000||5||Yes|
Best for Additional Coverage Options
|Varies||Contact for details||3||Yes|
Best for Policy Bundling
|Contact for quote||Varies||4||Yes|
|United Marine Underwriters
Best for Individualized Customer Service
|Contact for pricing||$1 million||4||Yes|
Best for Emergency Services Coverage
Best for Additional Benefits
Guide to Choosing the Best Boat Insurance Provider
Do You Need Boat Insurance?
In order to determine if you need boat insurance, you need to assess your needs and keep the costs in mind. Typical boat insurance policies can cost 1-2% of the boat’s value over the course of a year. These payments are typically split up into monthly payments.
If your livelihood depends on your boat, such as a boat charter business, you’re a fisherman, or offer boat tours then you should definitely get boat insurance. It’s also recommended for recreational boat users because boat repairs add up and you don’t want the headache and out-of-pocket costs, not to mention liability, if you’re in an accident or your boat is damaged in a storm.
Comparing Boat Insurance Providers
Owning a boat is a major expense and you should choose your boat insurance provider with care. Remember to research the company and check out its ratings and reviews. Some other things to keep in mind when comparing providers include:
- Coverage options: What type of coverage is offered? Make sure you understand the different plans and if things like running aground or hitting the dock are covered.
- Pricing: Know how much you’re paying for coverage and what that includes. Also, keep due dates in mind and if a downpayment is required.
- Discounts: What discounts does the provider offer? Some things to ask about are bundling discounts, safe boater discounts, age-based discounts, and discounts for experienced boatmen
- Specializations: Know if the provider specializes in marine coverage and make sure the agents are knowledgeable because it is much different than auto insurance. Some companies specialize in recreational boating and others specialize in commercial boating and yachts.
- Coverage Exclusions: Research ahead of time what is not covered so you know before you choose a policy. Some providers won’t insure boats that go above a certain amount of knots and others won’t insure boats with aftermarket parts.
Selecting A Boat Insurance Provider That Works For You
After you’ve researched providers, compared them, and found one you’re comfortable with, it’s time to apply for a quote. This can usually be done online or over the phone with an agent. You will need to provide your identification, a vessel license(if required), and the information of your boat including its make, model, year, and the date you purchased it. Be prepared to answer questions about the age and approximate hours on your boat, as well as what you will be using it for.
After you get a quote and sign up for the policy, a payment may be required and this is usually done via credit card. Then you will have access to view and manage your policy online. Some companies also have apps where you can manage your policy on the go.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Boat Insurance?
Boat insurance is a contract between you and an insurance carrier that protects you from financial loss in the event of a boating accident or natural disaster that damages your boat. Boat insurance for larger vessels typically has restrictions as to what it will cover and where in the world the coverage applies. Boat insurance is for vessels that have a motor and is not for canoes or small paddle boats.
How Does Boat Insurance Work?
Boat insurance works similarly to car insurance, but it covers the financial loss of large boats instead of automobiles. You generally pay a set monthly fee for coverage on your boat, and in exchange can place claims against financial loss or damage for things related to your boat. When the claim is received by the insurance provider, they will investigate to determine the fault of any accident, what the damage costs are, and how much should be covered. Once that is complete, the insurance carrier will send you a check for the amount of coverage you are entitled to for whatever claim you submitted.
How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?
Boat insurance costs vary greatly based on the type of boat you’re insuring, the size of the boat, what you plan on doing with the boat, and how much coverage you need. The generally accepted estimate on insurance costs for all motored boats is that you’ll end up paying between 1% and 2% of the value of your boat per year, broken up into equal monthly installments.
What Does Boat Insurance Typically Cover?
Boat insurance coverage will depend on what type of boat you have, what insurance provider you use, and what coverage you’re willing to pay for. General boat insurance typically covers physical damage to your boat, as long as none of the restrictions of the policy were violated, and liability coverage for damage to other property caused by you while operating your boat. You can add additional coverage types, such as medical payment for injuries you sustain while on the boat.
What Does Boat Insurance Typically Not Cover?
What a boat insurance policy does not cover in relation to a boat is generally called an exclusion. These exclusions almost always include:
- Wear and tear of the boat
- Damage done by marine life such as sharks
- Faulty machinery such as an engine going out
- Infestations with bugs or rodents
- Accessories that break
- Damage caused by the incorrect storage of your vessel during offseason
- Damage caused when an unnamed operator is using the boat
- Damage caused during a boat race
Many policies for yachts or large sailing vessels also exclude certain geographic regions during certain times of the year. They won’t, for example, cover damage during hurricane season in parts of the Caribbean.
We researched and reviewed 20 different boat insurance providers before narrowing it down to the top eight contenders. These boat insurance providers are all reputable with overall positive ratings and reviews and have years of marine industry experience. When evaluating companies, we considered factors such as policy types, custom coverage, available discounts, and pricing.