There are several interesting issues regarding insuring your personal boat. If you are trailering the boat with a vehicle insured by a personal auto policy you should have liability insurance under your personal auto liability for damages to others done by the trailer. Also, under the broad form homeowner’s policies you actually have coverage for the boat while the boat is on your home’s premises.
There are two common ways that people insure their boat. One is by adding a watercraft liability endorsement to their homeowner’s policy and then buying a boat policy through their homeowner’s insurance company. Often, this is the less expensive route.
Another route is to purchase a boat policy from an insurance company that specializes in boat insurance. Even though this route could be more costly, it might be better protection.
Your neighbor and you go water skiing. While you are skiing, your neighbor is operating the boat. He runs over another boat. There’s damage to your boat, the other person’s boat and its passengers. Your boat is covered either way, but the homeowner’s watercraft liability endorsement only covers the named insureds of the homeowner’s policy. Since your neighbor is not an insured, there is no liability protection. Meanwhile the specialized boat policy’s liability section could have liability insurance called Protection & Indemnity, P&I. The P&I will cover all operators that have your permission. There is coverage.
Your fishing gear is stolen from your boat parked at a North Padre Island hotel. The gear was locked in the storage compartments of the boat. Damage to the boat is covered under either policy, but your Shimano Calcuttas are different. With your homeowners’ company’s boat policy will protect only your boat, motor and trailer. Then, the homeowners’ policy pays for your $2500 worth of fishing tackle. The homeowners’ policy will have a deductible. If you have a 2% homeowner’s deductible on a $200,000 home. That’s a $4,000 deductible. The tackle is below your deductible. Many of the specialized boat policies allocate a certain amount of coverage for your personal property, so there could be coverage. Be careful in this area. Many of these policies have requirements that the equipment must be in locked compartments within the boat.
Either route you go, you need to be sure that your boat and your liability are covered.