Florida Boat Insurance

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Florida is a boater’s paradise. It has the most coastline in the continental United States, and there’s a reason it’s called the Sunshine State. But the idyllic conditions come with some drawbacks. Boating in Florida presents dangers and risks that call for the proper insurance policy to protect you and your vessel from the things that can go wrong.

Boat insurance is always a wise investment. But, in Florida, it’s especially important. Florida has more common instances of extreme weather and higher numbers of boat theft than most places in the country. Also, the possibility of year-round boating means more time on the water, which means a greater likelihood of boating accidents.

Important Aspects to Consider Before Buying Florida Boat Insurance

Florida boat insurance companies are well aware of the insurance landscape in the state. Many insurers have certain rules or stipulations policyholders must follow so the companies can keep insurance affordable for Florida boat owners. For example, some carriers may require you to move your boat out of Florida or into covered storage during hurricane season to limit potential damage.

Also, some insurers may ask if you’re a full-time resident of the state or not. Insurance companies may raise your rates or not cover you at all if you leave your boat in Florida unattended for part of the year. After all, you can’t protect your boat from theft or storm damage if you’re not there monitoring it.

You may also encounter policies with defined navigational territories. If you use your boat outside the specified geographical limits, you may not receive coverage. For example, some boat insurance companies in Florida may not cover you if you take your vessel to the Bahamas, beyond a certain number of miles offshore or into international waterways.

Your location in the state could matter, too. Florida has the most recorded boat thefts in the nation. If you live where the thefts are usually concentrated — like Broward and Miami-Dade counties, which rank near the top for watercraft thefts — you may pay more for boat insurance.

Is Boat Insurance Required in Florida?

Despite the many apparent risks, no state law requires Florida boaters to get boat insurance. But, you may need some sort of policy if your boat is financed or you want to store it at a marina.

A lender will likely require you to get boat insurance because the lending company may mandate full coverage on your boat so it can recoup its value from the insurance company in case it gets totaled. This protects its (and your) investment in the vessel.

Some marinas may also require you to get at least a liability policy before allowing you to store your boat. This way, the marina doesn’t have to worry about a customer’s actions resulting in injuries or property damage. The insurance company can step in to cover costs.

As far as government mandates go, you don’t even need a boating license in Florida to operate a watercraft. You just need to register and title your vehicle in the state. You have 30 days to register and title a boat after you purchase it. During this 30-day window, you should have proof of purchase aboard at all times.

It’s illegal to operate a boat in Florida’s public waters without a register and title. You may also need to complete a boat safety course and carry certain safety equipment on your vessel.

What’s Covered With Florida Boat Insurance?

There are a few different types of boat insurance coverage options available that Florida boaters should know about. We touched on a couple of them earlier, but here’s a more detailed list of what you can expect:

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage for boaters is designed to protect you from having to pay out-of-pocket for damages and injuries you may cause to someone else (or their property) in a boating accident. It doesn’t protect the value of your vessel. Instead, it protects you from having to pay to repair the damage to someone else’s boat.

Liability coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or it can be included as a major aspect of other boat insurance policies

Comprehensive Coverage

Boat insurance is highly customizable. Thus, comprehensive boat insurance can vary slightly by carrier. But, generally, any coverage that protects the value of your vessel from damages is considered comprehensive boat insurance.

Comprehensive coverage allows your provider to reimburse you when your boat sustains damage. It typically guards against fire damage, storm damage, sinking, and theft. Comprehensive policies may also include more add-ons, like towing assistance, wreckage removal, and personal property coverage for fishing equipment.

Comprehensive policies usually reimburse you for the physical damage to your boat at either its agreed-upon value, its actual cash value, or, in some cases, its replacement cost.

Agreed-Upon (Hull) Value: Your insurance will cover your boat at a number you agreed upon with your insurer when you got the policy no matter how old your boat is at the time of a total loss. For example, you and your carrier agreed your boat is worth $50,000 and you cover it for that amount. In five years, your boat gets destroyed by a hurricane. Your insurer can reimburse you $50,000 even if it’s only worth $30,000 at that time.

Actual Cash Value: When reimbursing you for damage under actual cash value coverage, your insurer will subtract depreciation for partial and total losses. The older your vessel is, the more it depreciates, so the less your insurer will recoup your losses.

Replacement Cost Value: Replacement cost policies are usually only available for boats less than a year or two old. With replacement cost coverage, your carrier will purchase a new boat of the same make and model for you if yours gets totaled.

Keep Your Vessel Afloat With Boat Insurance

Don’t get sunk by unexpected damages.Keep your vessel safe with a policy from one of the nation’s top carriers.

How Much Is Boat Insurance in Florida?

Boat insurance rates in Florida tend to be higher than in other states, especially northern ones. The cost of boat insurance in Florida varies greatly since it depends on your boat’s model, age, size, and much more. But, generally, you can expect to pay from $200 to over $1,000 per year for boat insurance in Florida.

What Affects Florida Boat Insurance Rates?

Florida boaters often have easy access to the open ocean. Additionally, the many opulent mansions lining the waterfronts are often adorned with yachts on backyard docks. This means boats in Florida tend to be bigger and more expensive than land-locked states. More costly boats can also lead to more costly insurance to adequately protect them.

But more increased risks in the state also play a factor in the relatively high boat insurance rates. Boating accidents are a worry, too. According to the US Coast Guard, Florida led the country in boating accidents and fatal boating accidents in 2020, with 804 recorded crashes (70 of them fatal). In addition, flooding and hurricanes are major concerns that increase rates.

That being said, you’re not completely out of luck. Always ask about what discounts are available to you. You may be able to reduce your rates by taking some boating safety courses. Many insurers also offer discounts if you own your home, discounts if you insure multiple boats, and discounts if you pay your full premium in advance.

Also, carriers tend to offer more favorable rates to boat owners with years of clean operating history without incidents. Several other factors influence the cost of boat insurance. Some may be more obvious than others. Here’s a list of some important factors that influence Florida boat insurance:

Boat’s Size: Generally, the larger your boat is, the more it costs to cover. Some carriers won’t cover boats over a certain size. The waters also get a bit murky when you start figuring out the insurance terminology between boats and yachts.

Boat’s Age: Newer boats may need a replacement cost policy, which can cost more. Older boats can be more affordable to cover unless the boat is exceptionally old, which can make it more valuable or more dangerous and increase rates.

Boat’s Model: Insurers may be wary to cover a speedboat with high-powered engines than a pontoon boat you don’t plan to take beyond the Intracoastal. Sailboat owners have a bit more to think about, too, as they may have some added regulations in their policy. A catamaran may be more expensive to insure than a monohull. Also, boat insurance companies rarely cover houseboats or liveaboards.

Insurance Coverage Maximums: Carriers can’t insure every vessel. In addition to size limitations, they may also have age or value maximums. For example, Progressive won’t cover boats over 10 years old and worth more than $500,000. Geico won’t cover boats over 70 feet, or boats valued at over $2,500,000. You must also be aware of coverage limits in your policy, like liability limits.

Storage Method: Your insurance company may ask how you store your boat when you’re not using it. For example, your rate may be higher if you keep the vessel exposed in your backyard on a trailer rather than inside a garage.

Personal Factors: Personal factors about a policyholder, such as a credit score and claims history, could also impact your rate.

Boating Activities: Using your boat for water sports like wakeboarding, water skiing or tubing pose more dangers as well, which may increase your rates.

Water Usage: Where you plan on using your boat matters, too. An insurance company may charge more if you plan to take it on the open ocean rather than strictly stick to lakes or the Intracoastal.

How to Get the Best Boat Insurance in Florida

There are countless boat insurers in Florida, and they all want your business. To get the best boat insurance in Florida, your best bet is to compare rates from multiple providers. You’ll be able to compare coverages and packages, and you’ll see who has what you need at the best price.

You’ll also likely want a company with experience handling boat claims and good customer service. At Clovered, we can provide you with multiple quotes and pair you with a policy that meets your financial wants while satisfying your coverage needs.

We’re an independent insurance agency built to make insurance easier to understand, and our team of licensed and experienced agents is happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call us at 833-255-4117 or email us any time at agent@clovered.com.

Keep Your Vessel Afloat With Boat Insurance

Don’t get sunk by unexpected damages.Keep your vessel safe with a policy from one of the nation’s top carriers.

The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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