On the Water
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Shopping for the Best Boat Insurance

By Beth Erickson
Published: March 1, 2008
webmoneyboat
Photo by dreamstime.com
Buying a new boat is exciting. But before your boat hits the water, decide whether to insure it and what type of insurance you want to buy. Different from home or auto insurance, boat policies can vary widely from one insurance company to the next.
   
First off, do you want or need insurance? Regardless of the value of the watercraft, there are many advantages to insuring your boat for either physical damage or liability.
   
Physical damage insurance covers repairs needed for a variety of reasons, such as vandalism, fire, wave action, wind, rain and hail.
   
Liability insurance covers you should you ever be sued by a third party for an accident or incident. Currently, Arkansas and Utah are the only states that require liability insurance for boats and personal watercraft.

But if you have frequent guests driving your boat or if you live on a high-traffic lake, insurance is an excellent idea.
   
To insure your boat, look for licensed companies with boat insurance experts. “They should have a department that specializes in watercraft insurance that understands your needs and has claim adjusters who really know boats,” said John Zinno, assistant vice president for GEICO.
   
Secondly, a variety of factors determine what you’ll pay, including: type of vessel, its age, value, length, your experience, driving record and navigation area. Similar to car insurance, the deductible and overall value of your insurance will also influence the price. Also, if climate prevents you from boating year round, be sure to check for discounts.
   
Finally, when looking at liability insurance, “make sure your policy covers you as well as your boat for any water sports liability such as towing a skier or wakeboarder,” Zinno said.
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