You might only use your boat seasonally, and now that we are deep into autumn, the time might be approaching when you put the vessel in dry dock for the winter.
Since you won’t be using your boat during the colder months of the year, the thought might cross your mind to drop your boat insurance coverage. After all, what use do you have for it when you won’t even be using your vessel?
The fact of the matter is, however, that you need boat insurance year-round. Not only do countless safety risks beckon even when you aren’t out on the water, but also by carrying coverage continuously, you will have a better ability to maintain your risk ratings as an insurance customer.
Why Stored Boats Need Insurance
A boat that you have stored away for the winter is still vulnerable to hazards like fires, severe weather, vandalism or theft. This damage could be as devastating and costly as nearly any shipwreck. That’s why you need to always have boat insurance. Your vessel’s physical damage insurance can protect you against hazards that occur both on and off the water. When such harm occurs, you can afford to repair the vessel and restore it to its previous condition.
While policies vary, most will pay you the cost necessary to repair the boat, minus any deductible. If a hazard totals the boat, then your policy might pay you based on the boat’s actual cash value (ACV) which is the value of the vessel at the time of the accident. Others, however, might pay you the vessel’s replacement cost value or an agreed value that you chose at the time you bought your policy. Let your agent help you determine which coverage is best for you.
Optimizing Your Coverage During the Winter Months
When you store your boat away during the winter, you might be able to reduce some of your coverage. For example, you might be able to lower your liability coverage, which you won’t necessarily need since you won’t be operating your boat. This might save you a few dollars on your premiums. However, you should never terminate your coverage altogether, and you should never drop your physical damage coverage from your plan.
Keep in mind, however, that there are limitations on when you might be able to decrease your coverage during the winter seasons. Some boat insurers will not allow this, and if you have financed your boat, then you will likely have to carry minimum levels of coverage anyway. You therefore might not be able to realistically drop your coverage without adding an exceptional risk burden onto yourself.