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Boat insurance basics: What's covered

Learn about boat owners insurance and what the coverage means to you.

Did you know that boat insurance is one of the earliest known forms of insurance? Ancient sailors knew firsthand about the risks of a life at sea and sought to insure their boats against hurricanes and other unpredictable weather and waters. And it still applies today.

Boat insurance policies can vary widely in what they do and do not cover based on a number of considerations, including the type of boat, the waters it will traffic, and how many months of the year the boat will be used. Still, there are a few basic kinds of coverage you can expect to receive, as well as some potential discounts for safe boaters.

Physical damage

This coverage insures your boat against damage and loss caused by common risks, such as sinking, fire, storms, theft and collision. The property covered can vary, but the policy will usually cover the hull and other components, such as:


-Extra fuel tanks, batteries, etc.


-Onboard safety equipment, such as flotation devices and fire extinguishers

A boat trailer may or may not be covered, depending on the policy. Talk with your agent to determine if your boat insurance policy covers your trailer.

When choosing your policy, be sure to ask whether you will be insured for the boat's replacement cost or its actual cash value. A replacement cost policy will reimburse you the cost of repairing the boat to its original condition or replacing the boat with the same or a similar model. A policy based on actual cash value will reimburse you for the current market value of the repair or replacement (the original price minus depreciation). Some insurance policies may include agreed value loss settlement for total loss situations. This ensures you receive the policy coverage limits if your boat Is determined to be a total loss.

Liability coverage

This coverage applies if your boat causes injury to others or damage to other boats, docks or structures. Keep in mind that the injury or damage can be due to direct contact with your vessel or situations caused by your vessel, such as large wakes. Boat liability coverage typically protects you from covered claims and lawsuits including payment of settlements and legal fees. Be sure to talk with your agent about your needs and possible risks so you buy the right coverage.

Other coverage

Your insurer may offer additional kinds of coverage to go with your basic boat insurance. A State Farm® boat insurance policy provides medical payments coverage for covered injuries to the insured or their guests. If you have other needs, ask your insurance agent what coverage is available.


The best way to lower your boat insurance premiums is to become a safer boater. For example, many insurers offer discounts to boaters who have completed an approved boating safety course. You may also be eligible for a lay-up discount if you don't use the boat year-round, or a discount for boating in fresh water instead of salt water. Ask your agent for details.

Other frequently asked questions about boat insurance

What sets State Farm boat insurance apart?

We've got nearly 19,000 agents nationwide – chances are there's one near you.

State Farm has been insuring customers since 1922.

We offer competitive rates and broad coverage options to meet your needs, including agreed value loss settlement for total losses.

Does boat insurance cover sinking?

State Farm typically insures against perils like sinking, fire, theft and storms, just to name a few. Check out more details on boat insurance, or talk to a State Farm agent for more information.

What types of boats are typically insured by State Farm?

State Farm offers boat insurance for a wide variety of water-going types, like sailboats, fishing boats and even jet skis. Contact a local insurance agent for a quote today!

Yacht insurance quotes

To get yacht insurance quotes, you can follow these steps:

  • Determine the coverage you need: Before you start getting quotes, you should determine what kind of coverage you need for your yacht. This can include liability coverage, physical damage coverage, and other optional coverage such as personal property and equipment coverage.
  • Gather information about your yacht: You will need to provide information about your yacht, such as its make and model, length, age, and value. You may also need to provide information about its current condition, any recent repairs or upgrades, and its intended use.
  • Research insurance providers: Look for insurance providers that specialize in yacht insurance and have experience working with yacht owners. You can search for providers online or ask for recommendations from other yacht owners.
  • Request quotes: Contact several insurance providers and request quotes based on the coverage you need and the information you have provided about your yacht. You may be asked to provide additional information or documentation, such as a survey report or recent maintenance records.
  • Compare quotes: Once you have received quotes from multiple providers, compare the coverage and rates to determine which policy is the best fit for your needs and budget.
  • Purchase a policy: Once you have selected a policy, work with the insurance provider to complete the necessary paperwork and make the required payments to purchase the policy.

Keep in mind that the cost of yacht insurance can vary depending on a number of factors, including the value and age of the yacht, the intended use, and the coverage options you choose. It's important to carefully review the terms and conditions of the policy to ensure that you understand the coverage and any limitations or exclusions that may apply.

Boat liability insurance

Boat liability insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides coverage in case you are held responsible for causing damage or injury to another person or their property while operating your boat. Boat liability insurance is typically required by law in most states and is an important part of protecting yourself and your assets as a boat owner.

Here are some key things to keep in mind when shopping for boat liability insurance:

  • Liability Coverage Limits: The liability coverage limit is the maximum amount that your insurance policy will pay out for any damages or injuries you cause while operating your boat. The minimum liability coverage limit required by law can vary by state, so be sure to check with your insurance provider to determine the minimum requirement in your area. Consider choosing a higher coverage limit if you have significant assets that you want to protect.
  • Coverage for Passengers: Make sure that the policy includes coverage for injuries to passengers who are onboard your boat at the time of the accident. This is usually referred to as "passenger liability" coverage.
  • Coverage for Property Damage: Check to see if the policy covers damage to another person's property, such as another boat or dock, caused by your boat.
  • Coverage for Legal Fees: Some policies may include coverage for legal fees if you are sued as a result of an accident or incident involving your boat.
  • Premiums: The cost of boat liability insurance can vary depending on the coverage limit, your boat's value, your boating experience and safety record, and other factors. Shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurance providers to find the best coverage and rates for your needs.
  • Exclusions: Be aware of any exclusions or limitations in the policy, such as coverage for intentional acts or damage caused while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
By obtaining boat liability insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are protected in the event of an accident or incident while operating your boat.
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