Owning a boat can add a whole new dimension to your lifestyle – dreary landlubber days are transformed into endless fun on the water, and priceless memories with family and friends. But regardless of the type of vessel you’ve chosen, it’s important to protect yourself and your investment by carefully weighing your yacht insurance options before hitting the high seas.
Let’s face it, being out on the water can bring along with it situations that are not within our complete control. Other boaters, weather conditions, equipment failures and more can put even the most experienced captains in need of a marine insurance policy.
While the topic is extensive, and you’ll ultimately want to discuss your needs with a licensed insurance agent, this guide can help you understand some of the basic costs and considerations of international yacht insurance.
Yacht insurance coverage
While some homeowner’s policy riders are adequate for small boats with limited horsepower (usually 25-50hp), this option normally provides coverage only for usage in inland waterways, lakes and rivers. So if you have a larger vessel, like a yacht, large sailboat or jet ski, or if you plan to use your boat beyond the intracoastal waterways, you’ll likely want to explore coverage through a reputable marine insurer.
Damage to your vessel (by natural disaster, collision, theft or vandalism), personal injury (if someone gets injured on your boat), equipment loss and property liability (if you damage someone else’s property with you boat) are things typically covered by marine insurance, depending on your policy.
Additional coverage is usually available for things like medical payments, personal effects or uninsured boater’s liability, which will affect your yacht insurance cost. Many policies will include coverage for permanently attached equipment, and items like anchors, trolling motors and seat cushions, but be sure to discuss these details with your agent.
Yacht insurance add-ons
Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, further coverage add-ons can be available to cover more specialized circumstances. Yacht owners sometimes want coverage for a specific item on their boat that’s especially valuable, like expensive navigation equipment.
Owners of large yachts sometimes add salvage coverage that pays to remove a boat that’s been damaged or disabled. Salvage can be very expensive, with some operators taking a percentage of the vessel’s value as payment.
Towing coverage is becoming a popular option for many boaters, particularly for those that venture further off shore – where towing costs in case of a breakdown can easily run in the thousands of dollars.
International yacht insurance
Boat owners that plan to cruise outside of the USA should consider purchasing an international extension that expands the policy to foreign countries. Risks are often magnified when embarking on long excursions across borders, where even relatively minor mechanical breakdowns can result in substantial repair expenses.
Yacht insurance cost factors
Of course, the cost of yacht insurance varies greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size, value and horsepower of the vessel that’s being insured, as well as the amount of coverage desired. As with car insurance, higher liability limits cost more, and higher deductibles will lower the premium.
So, if you’re asking yourself: how much is yacht insurance? Then bear in mind that some other things that affect cost include:
- The cruising area: Some areas will have a higher risk of damage to your boat due to weather or navigation challenges. If you use your boat only in fresh water, it generally costs less than salt water usage. And salt water, or larger areas of operation, generally cost more – especially when crossing borders.
- Driving record: A good driving record on land can help you secure a better boat insurance rate.
- Boating safety courses: Boating safety training or certifications can help you qualify for discounts.
- Amount of usage: More time out on the water generally results in higher insurance rates. But, if you have your boat in storage for part of the year, ask if you qualify for discounts.
Finding a yacht insurance agency
Be sure to research the available yacht insurance companies before deciding on a policy. Check with your state’s insurance regulatory agency, and ask your boating friends if they have a carrier that they would recommend. A first-hand recommendation from someone that has had a good experience with their agency is a good start.
It can also be helpful to request quotes from more than one carrier. And, be specific and itemize the coverage your seeking to avoid paying for a policy that is more extensive than you really need.
Find out more
Dream Yacht Sales represents the most respected boat brands from around the world. From luxurious sailing monohulls and catamarans to sleek power cats, we have the perfect cruising platform for your lifestyle.