How Much Is Boat Insurance? Is It Necessary?

When you purchase your first boat, you are one happy sailor. Trust me I’ve been there, but before you get on the water, you need to think about insurance. I almost sank my boat on day one on the water. Make sure you have insurance.

Boat insurance, on average, costs between $200 and $652 a year depending on size, state regulation, nature of coverage, age, and value. Boat owners can inquire about discounts based on the type of fuel, period of payment, deductible type, and claim frequency.

Insuring a boat is a tricky process, and it’s important to have proper information about it. This article addresses every bit of boat insurance. So, let’s get started!

Average Boat Insurance Costs

How much does boat the cheapest boat insurance cost? Perhaps, most boat owners might not want to purchase an insurance policy charging a high premium. However, it’s essential to know the average cost to start saving. 

As mentioned earlier, you can expect a premium value of $200-$652 per year. Having said that, it varies on multiple factors. Here’s a quick list to understand those factors. 


Do you own an old or new sailboat? If it’s an old sailboat, there’s a probability that various parts are undergoing wear and tear, and you may want to claim those down the road if you can.


If you’re using your boat for recreational reasons, you may be charged higher because of your vulnerability to accidents and other incidents. On the other hand, a sailboat meant for vacation purposes will be charged a regular premium for normal use and not business use.

Boat Type 

If you’ve assumed that your boat’s brand and size don’t matter, you’re wrong. Your boat’s type just like your car type affects the insurance costs. Yachts are charged higher premiums because of their type, purpose, amenities, and general purchase costs. 

In case of an accident, the boat owner needs to admit the liability. This worsens if your boat is expensive, as you may need a lump sum to settle the issue. This is when boat insurance aids you! 

Driving Record

Wouldn’t you charge a beginning boater with a higher premium as he or she is prone to more accidents? That’s exactly what insurance companies do. Insurance rates are lower depending on your driving record. 

Ensure you maintain a positive one! 


Do you need insurance to sail shorter distances or across oceans? Your insurance premium can vary accordingly. 

Here’s a table mentioning the price of yearly insurance premiums for different locations:

LocationYearly Premium (in USD)
California 344
South Carolina527

There are also locations that don’t require boat insurance. However, getting one can help tremendously when in a bad situation. So, I’d recommend having one. 

So, would you like to calculate your boat’s insurance premium? 

Here are a few online calculators – Sailo and Trusted Choice.

Boat Insurance Coverage Overview

If you are going to be purchasing boat insurance, it’s important to read over what aspects are covered by the insurance provider. Sometimes, your insurer might deny covering certain issues that you may be unaware of. Make sure you get the coverage you need!

To ease your understanding, here’s a list of aspects gathered for you with coverage availability. (ask your provider for a list like this)

AspectCovered? (Y/N)
Property damageY
Collision between boats Y
Crisis-based damageY
Body injuryY
Medical expensesY
Damage caused due to minor/drug addicted driversN
Boat-wide moldN
Boat trailerY; Add-on
Manufacturing faultsN
Wear and tearN
Towing on waterY; Add-on
Roadside assistanceY; Add-on
Damage due to ice/fuel spillsY; Add-on
Boat rental/commercial liabilityY; Add-on

The list isn’t complete, as it differs from one provider to the other. When you ask for a quote, you should also check for the coverage list. This will make sure you are covered.

Is Boat Insurance Required?

The most fundamental doubt that every boat owner can potentially have is if boat insurance is mandatory. 

As a new boat owner, I had a lot of questions about insurance, and I learned more and more over the years.

Here are a few reasons you need boat insurance:

  1. Saves money – While you pay upfront to subscribe to a specific insurance plan, it covers a lot of unforeseen events and ensures that it doesn’t drill a hole in your pocket. This is the most obvious reason to insure an asset. 
  2. Value – When you insure your boat, you also inform other stakeholders (passengers and new buyers) about the value. An insured boat has a higher value when it comes to sales compared to an uninsured one. 
  3. Legal mandate – If you’re planning to use your boat to sail across regions, most regions mandate owners to hold an insurance policy. This is for everyone’s safety. Hence, it’s better to hold one instead of being held for legal reasons. 
  4. Crisis coverage – The insurance policy can also cover you if your boat experiences physical damage or passengers are exposed to injuries. In fact, the salvage insurance is meant to aid a boat stuck in the water.

There is no reason you shouldn’t have boat insurance. Think of it just like a car, if you get hit by a driver without insurance it is a huge problem. Don’t be that person!

Final Thoughts

Boating, as a profession or a hobby, is a serious process, and a small mistake can turn into a huge mess if suitable action isn’t taken at the first stage. Insurance is one of them. When you buy boat insurance, it covers your property and also lessens your worry.

So, what are you waiting for? Insure your boat! Cheers!


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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