Is Insurance Required On A Boat? : Navigating The Seas

Is insurance required on a boat? Hitting the open water can be exhilarating, but it’s important to remember that boating isn’t all sunshine and smooth sailing.

Just like your car, your boat needs protection against unexpected hazards, and that’s where boat insurance comes in.

But is it mandatory to have a policy, or is it just another expense to add to the pile?

Let’s dive into the murky waters of insurance requirements and explore why, even in the absence of legal obligations, having coverage might be your best bet.

An image illustrating is insurance required on a boat

Do I Need Boat Insurance?

Legally, only two states require boat insurance, and one focuses on boats with engines over 50 horsepower.

Some states add extra insurance criteria, so check your state’s marine board.

Typically, banks or marinas demand boat insurance, especially if it’s collateral for a loan.

Global Marine Insurance Agency notes some lenders may force insurance if you lack proof.

Marinas often need ongoing boat insurance for mooring. Beyond legalities, your risk tolerance guides whether to insure your boat.

Like any risky activity, insurance helps with boating hazards, given the substantial investment and potential costs of unexpected events.

What Kind Of Boat Insurance Do I Need?

Boat insurance encompasses various types, such as liability, uninsured motorists, and collision/comprehensive coverages.

Liability insurance, mandated by states, banks, and marinas, is recommended at a minimum of $1,000,000, with higher amounts suggested for riskier and more powerful boats.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage typically has a standard minimum of $10,000, considering potential injuries and damages.

Collision and comprehensive coverage should be tailored to your boat’s value, and consultation with your lender, especially for leased boats, is advised to ensure compliance with their requirements.

Whether navigating serene lakes or adventurous waters, understanding and securing the right boat insurance is crucial for protecting against potential risks and damages.

What States Require Boat Insurance?

Currently, only two states, namely Arkansas and Utah, have enacted laws about boat insurance.

In Arkansas, any motorboat with an engine exceeding 50 horsepower, as well as all personal watercraft (PWC), must be covered by a liability insurance policy.

This policy is required to offer a minimum of $50,000 in liability coverage, and operating a PWC without the mandated insurance is considered illegal.

In Utah, both motorboats and PWC are obligated to carry liability insurance for owners or operators when navigating Utah waters.

However, exemptions apply to motor boats equipped with engines under 50 horsepower and airboats.

Operating a PWC on Utah waters without the stipulated insurance is against the law.

Utah’s boat insurance policy outlines specific minimum coverage limits per occurrence:

– $25,000 for bodily injury per person.
– $50,000 for total bodily injury if multiple individuals are injured in the incident.
– $15,000 for property damage.

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Basic boat insurance protections include:

1. Damage to Others’ Stuff: If you accidentally mess up someone else’s boat or personal watercraft, this insurance helps pay for the repairs.

2. Fixing Your Ride: In case your boat or personal watercraft gets banged up in an accident, this optional coverage steps in to cover the repair or replacement costs, minus what you have to pay out of your pocket (called a deductible).

3. Hurt Someone Else: If you’re in a boating accident and it’s your fault, this part of your insurance takes care of the costs linked to injuries suffered by other people involved.

4. Protection for Your Boat: This coverage handles the nitty-gritty of things – if your boat, trailer, equipment, motors, or accessories get damaged (think fire or a rough windstorm), this insurance has your back.

An image of is insurance required on a boat
A picture of a boat PHOTO: Freepik.


 What Is The Best Type Of Boat Insurance?

Optimal boat insurance is defined by coverage that aligns with your legal and contractual responsibilities while providing a sense of security regarding potential risks.

Given the unique nature of each situation, it’s crucial to identify the coverage aspects that are most pertinent to you and your family.

Dedicate time to thoroughly research your insurance options and engage in discussions with various insurance brokers or agencies to make informed decisions.

How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?

Boat insurance usually costs around $300 to $500 per year, on average.

Your insurance expenses can go up based on the kind of boat you have and your details.

The type, length, and how you plan to use the boat will mostly decide your insurance rates.

Whether it’s a speed boat, a small fishing boat, or a yacht can significantly affect what you’ll pay.


Boat insurance isn’t always required, but smart for protection.

Arkansas and Utah mandate it for big engines.

Banks and marinas may ask. Costs $300-$500 yearly, a safety net for boat adventures.”


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