ARTICLE

Seven Ways to Lower Your Insurance Premium

SAFETY & PREVENTION

Tailoring your insurance policy to the way you actually use your boat can lower your costs.

A Vanquish 24 Slices Across Newport Harbor in Rhode Island.

For many of us, boat insurance is something that we pay for every year, but rarely take the time to examine or update. Taking a few minutes to review your current policy can pay off in the form of lower premiums, particularly if you have changed the way you boat, or if it has been a few years since you first purchased the policy. All of the specific discounts mentioned below apply to policies offered through BoatUS, but may also apply elsewhere.

1. Take A Boating Safety Course

Safe boating has benefits beyond not becoming an accident statistic. Take a state-approved boating safety class from organizations such as the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons and you may be eligible for a discount on your GEICO | BoatUS insurance premium. (The BoatUS Foundation offers the only FREE online boating safety course developed specifically for your state!) Gone beyond safe boating and have an active captain’s license? You also may be eligible for an insurance discount!

2. Multi-Policy Discounts/Bundling

Consider combining your auto and boat policies with one company. Or, if you have more than one boat, ask if there is a multi-policy discount. Policies through BoatUS offer a discount on the premium if you have more than one boat insured, or on the boat policy premium if your auto is insured with GEICO, our underwriting company. (Discounts cannot be combined.) Visit BoatUS.com/Quote for a free boat insurance quote.

3. Focus Your Cruising Area

If your insurance policy covers you on the waters of the Pacific from Vancouver, to Mexico, and you never leave Puget Sound, chances are you’re paying too much for your coverage.

4. Update Your Hull Value

Many policies are based on an “agreed hull value,” the specific dollar amount that you and your insurer agree your boat is worth at the time the policy is written. This is the amount that your insurer would pay you in the event of a total loss of your vessel (minus salvage costs if your policy doesn’t cover them, see sidebar). But boats, like cars, depreciate over time. If it has been a few years since you first insured your boat, it may be worth looking into what it’s currently worth. Lowering the agreed hull value will lower your insurance premium. Just remember to consider any outstanding balance on your boat loan as a minimum, regardless of the NADA or BUC book values.

5. Increase Your Deductible

Increasing your deductible, the amount you are responsible for before your insurer starts paying a claim, will lower the cost of your premium. Your insurer is rewarding you for sharing more of the risk. But it will result in higher out-of-pocket expenses should you make a claim.

6. Taking A Break From Boating?

Tell Your Insurer: If your boat will be ashore and stored for more than a year, it qualifies for “Port Risk,” meaning a lower rate for boats not in use.

7. Consider Liability Only

If you own your boat free and clear, and its value is modest, you can consider a liability-only policy that will still protect you financially for third-party damages in the event of an accident, but will not reimburse you for the loss of or damage to your boat. If you’re thinking about switching to a liability-only policy, make sure it still provides coverage for salvage. If your boat sinks at its slip and your policy doesn’t cover salvage, you’ll be out not only a boat, but also the thousands of dollars it will cost to raise, remove, and dispose of your former vessel!

How Much Salvage Coverage Do I Have?

Salvage coverage is an important component of your boat insurance policy, but not all salvage coverages are equal. Some policies will pay for the costs associated with salvaging your boat out of the agreed hull or actual cash value portion of your policy. This can effectively leave little or no money left over to pay you (or your bank) for the loss of your vessel. A more thorough policy will pay for salvage out of a separate coverage up to an amount equal to the agreed hull or actual cash value. A policy written this way will pay to salvage your boat, and pay to replace it.

For more information about marine insurance, or for a free, competitive quote visit BoatUS.com/Quote or call 800-283-2883.

Michael Vatalaro

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine