A boat can be anything from a jet ski to a pontoon boat to a small cruiser. Boats are generally defined as watercraft that are 26 feet or less in length, depending on the hull design and the insurer. Boat insurance is often called watercraft insurance. It provides both broad standard, and specific coverage for losses or risks that a boat owner doesn't want to be without.
Standard insurance is much like standard car insurance, but your car coverage won't protect you on a boating claim. A homeowner's policy might provide minimal boat coverage like theft of personal property, but it's wholly insufficient for a claim that might arise on the water. That's because your home doesn't travel on the water. When you travel on the water, different risks are involved.
Boat insurance includes coverage like bodily injury, medical payments, comprehensive, collision and uninsured boaters. It also provides special coverage like on-water towing, wreckage removal, theft of fishing and electronic equipment, and fuel and oil spills. Other specific coverage is also available, like hurricane haul-out in Florida and freeze coverage in Wisconsin.
When you buy your insurance, you must decide on the types of coverage and the amounts of the premiums and deductible. Any claims would be filed just like car insurance claims. Note that your policy will define where you're covered. As opposed to auto or homeowner's insurance, your policy might define when you're covered. A season's final outing in November that results in a claim might not be insured, because your coverage might lapse at the end of October every year.
When compared with the cost of towing a car, the cost of a commercial tow after a mechanical breakdown can be exponential. If injuries and property damage occur in a boating accident, hospital and medical costs plus lost income for the injured person could be staggering. With fitted watercraft insurance, you've covered these risks.
Whatever the size or type of your boat, you've invested some serious dollars in buying and maintaining it. Protect your use and enjoyment of that investment by insuring it from stem to stern.