|Buying and Insuring Used Boats|
If you’re in the market for a used boat, this is your year to buy. Even as the economy improves, you can continue to ﬁnd great deals. Shopping for and insuring an older boat takes some time and thought. If you answer these four questions, you’ll be on your way to ﬁnding the boat and insurance coverage that ﬁt your needs.
1 What’s the boat worth? Depending on the year, make, and model of the used boat, it may be difﬁcult to get accurate information about its value. Yes, you can ﬁnd useful information in “book” and online sources, but for a complete picture, I recommend getting a thorough evaluation by an accredited marine surveyor to determine the real value and condition.
Knowing the boat’s value can help you determine the type of insurance you should buy, too. If the boat has a relatively low value, you may choose Liability-only coverage, which would pay for damage you cause to others. If it is highly valued, consider physical damage coverages like Comprehensive and Collision that cover repairs for your own boat.
With an older or classic boat, ask your agent or insurance company about Agreed Value coverage. With Agreed Value, if the boat is damaged beyond repair, you’ll receive payment for the value that the boat had when you purchased coverage, not the boat’s current market value, which may be lower due to depreciation.
2 What can I afford? Understanding what you want to pay for a boat will help you focus your search, but asking the same question will help when selecting your insurance company and coverage, too.
Raising your policy’s deductible will save you money, but choosing an insurance company that you can call for help on the road and on the water will save you on towing and repair costs. Some companies, like Progressive, will reduce your deductible as much as 25% for each claim-free policy term—another great way to save.
3 How do I want to use my boat? Whether you plan to ﬁsh inland lakes or cruise open water will determine what kind of used boat you buy. What you bring on-board can also help you select the right coverages.
For example, if you water ski often, ask whether your insurance company offers water sports coverage that covers damage caused by skiing, knee boarding, wakeboarding or tubing. If you’re an angler, ask for specialized coverage for ﬁshing equipment such as rods, reels or tackle.
4 How do I take care of my investment? If the used boat of your dreams is a classic, consider joining a club where you’ll meet people who can help you with maintenance and upkeep questions. Be sure to get the boat’s maintenance documents from the previous owner, read the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Document the work you perform on the boat—from sanding and varnishing to outdrive replacement. This can help you with re-sale, and can also help your insurance company in the event of a claim.