You insured your boat the way your insurance broker recommended with a specialty market. You made sure you have coverage for “When Muskrats Attack”, but now you find out that you can’t take your boat where ever you want to. Marine policies that are offered today have boundaries for where your boat is covered and where it is specifically not covered. If your broker did not specify where your boat has coverage and where you are personally insuring your own boat, please read on to find out if you’re as covered as you think you are.
You plan a trip down to Florida with your friends and family. You have everything planned out and you will be driving down with your boat to enjoy the beautiful ocean that Miami has to offer. There is only one problem; your friend mentioned they had to buy extra insurance to get their boat covered for the trip. Every insurance company has different rules and this causes a lot of confusion amongst your friends and you. You assume you have coverage, but chances are, you don’t.
The insurance companies will have a list of the navigational limits of your boat insurance. This does not just apply to fishing boats, but it also applies to any type of watercraft insured. The insurance companies will have a detailed list of the areas you are covered and areas you are not covered. They will even have a certain amount of miles/kilometres you are allowed to be from a body of land. For example, the inland waters of New York State could be covered depending on your insurer, but most likely excludes New York Harbour and the Hudson River below the Tappan Zee Bridge. The navigational limits can be very specific to which areas you are covered, which makes it important to have a conversation with your broker as to where you are covered.
It’s not all doom and gloom with these boat policies, there are extensions of coverage (endorsements) that you can add to your policy that will allow you take your boat where you want to go and still have the coverage that makes you sleep better at night. The insurance companies will add an endorsement to your boat policy that will be tailored to your specific trip or the specific areas you wish to use your watercraft. As with all things in life, there will be an extra fee for this coverage. The extra fee will most likely be a lot less then replacing your boat or paying any environmental damage fees out of pocket. Remember, when we are talking about boat insurance, we are also talking about liability coverage for claims related to use and operation of the boat. When making the decision you have to weigh the options and look at the consequences of not being insured. Adding an extension to your policy will be the least amount of trouble compared to not being insured.
Before you make your next trip, please contact your broker/agent to find out if you are covered for the trip. One phone call or one email could save you thousands of dollars and an enormous headache. If you don’t have a broker looking out for you, call us today so we can make sure you have the coverage you want.