Georgia Boat Insurance

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Georgia, like many of the southeastern states, has beautiful snaking rivers and lakes that either sit nestled away in the mountains, make up ecologically valuable swampland, or drain into the Atlantic Ocean. Boating-wise, there’s something for everyone.

With so many different opportunities to enjoy the water, it’s easy to take boating for granted in Georgia. But, it’s an inherently dangerous activity for many reasons. Boat insurance is the best way to protect yourself, your passengers, and your vessel when enjoying the different waters in the state.  

Before you take the helm, here’s what you should know about boat insurance in Georgia, from when you may be required to have it to the factors that affect its cost.

Types of Boat Insurance in Georgia

Boat insurance by nature is highly customizable. The coverage you can get in a policy can vary from insurer to insurer. Different companies can handle different sizes, ages, and makes of vessels, and their underwriting procedures will be a bit different.

But, every policy has some standard protections, and they can generally be divided into two categories: liability protection and physical damage protection. Both forms of coverage together can be considered comprehensive boat insurance. 

Liability Coverage

Liability insurance for boaters allows your insurance company to cover costs that result from your at-fault accidents on the water. Liability coverage usually consists of property damage and bodily injury coverage. If you crash into another boater and injure those on board, your liability insurance could cover the resulting medical expenses and repairs to their boat.

Liability insurance also may include fuel spill coverage. This protection pays for damages that fuel spilling out of your boat after an accident could cause. Many liability policies also include wreckage removal, which can help cover the raising and removal of your wreckage in some cases.

Liability coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy. But, if you do get just liability insurance, your insurance company won’t cover physical damage to your watercraft, which means you’ll be left on your own to pay for repairs to get your vessel in working order again after an accident unless you have comprehensive boat insurance.

Comprehensive Coverage

A comprehensive boat insurance policy covers the value of your boat which means your insurer will reimburse you for damage your boat incurs. Common covered causes of damage include fire, lightning, vandalism, and sinking. With comprehensive insurance, your provider will also reimburse you for the value of your boat if it gets stolen.

Many insurance companies financially protect your boat from severe weather too, but the extent of this coverage varies by carrier. We’ll shed more light on this a little later.

Comprehensive coverage can reimburse you for damage to your vessel whether you were at fault or not. For instance, your comprehensive coverage can still cover the cost to repair your boat after an accident whether you were found liable or you were the one struck.

It’s important to note that homeowners insurance doesn’t adequately cover damage to your boat. Some home insurance policies include coverage up to $1,000 for some personal watercraft, but most boats and any potential damage could easily exceed this value limit. The only way to properly protect your boat is with boat insurance.

Things to Look for in Georgia Boat Insurance Policies

Georgia presents risks that aren’t found in every other state regarding potential damage to your boat. Insurance companies have to consider these variables, and they may affect your policy. You may find wording about severe weather, navigational limits, and absentee ownership in your boat insurance plan.

Severe Weather

The possibility of severe weather in Georgia may raise boat insurance rates relative to other parts of the country. And, it can affect your coverage. For instance, your insurer may want you to take certain precautions during a hurricane, like hauling your boat and storing it. You may also not be allowed to take your boat into Florida or parts of the Caribbean during hurricane season and receive coverage for your trip.

Tornadoes are also a threat in the Peach State. Your policy should be fair in covering damages from tornadoes if you have comprehensive coverage since there isn’t much you can do if your boat is stored properly and a tornado decimates the marina.

Hail coverage for your boat may not be so straightforward, though. In the event of a hailstorm, you should check your boat for damage as soon as possible. If minor dents or cracks go unnoticed, they could lead to bigger issues down the road.

If you file a claim then, your insurer may not cover the damage because too much time has passed or because negligence on your part allowed the initial damage to lead to further damage the insurance company isn’t responsible for. 

You may also want to be aware that your policy may not cover damage from freezing if there’s negligence on your part, although it will probably rarely get cold enough to be too concerned about that in Georgia.

Other Policy Factors

Some policies have navigational limits, outside of which you won’t receive coverage whether it’s hurricane season or not. For example, your policy may not cover you if you travel more than 75 miles offshore. You should always be covered for inland boating in the many lakes and rivers around the state, though. 

Vacation homes are common in Georgia, which means absentee ownership may be a factor in your boat insurance. If your primary home is in the northeast, for instance, while you keep your boat at your seasonal home in Georgia, you may have higher premiums. Some boat insurance companies may not want you to leave your boat unattended for months at a time since there’s no one to prevent thefts or mitigate damage.

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.

Georgia Boat Insurance Requirements

No law in Georgia requires you to have boat insurance for a personal vessel. But, you may need it to satisfy some marina or lender requirements.

Marinas or boatyards may require customers to have liability insurance on their boats. Many marinas don’t want to run the risk of dealing with uninsured boaters in case of an accident. Liability insurance on the boats covers any gray area between their commercial liability policy and your actions.

Additionally, lenders typically require you to have a comprehensive policy on your boat if you’ve financed it. This way, the lender can recoup your boat’s value from the insurance company in case it suffers damage. 

For example, let’s say you took out a $20,000 loan on your $100,000 boat. If you total your watercraft, you likely won’t have $20,000 (or whatever the remaining loan balance is) on hand to reimburse your lender for their investment in your boat. Thus, lending companies typically require insurance so the insurance policy can cover damage costs.

How Much Is Boat Insurance in Georgia?

You’ll likely pay at least around $200 a year for boat insurance in Georgia, and depending on your vessel it may be much more. But, exact rates vary greatly depending on many factors like your boat’s age, make, and size, as well as your method of storage, types of policies and coverages you want, and much more.

Here are a few important factors that limit the cost of boat insurance in Georgia:

Vessel age and size: Bigger boats typically cost more to insure than smaller boats since bigger boats mean more to repair after damage. Especially old or vintage boats may cost more, too, since their unique features could be hard to replicate when repairing.

Method of storage: An insurance company may ask you how you plan to store your boat when you’re not using it. This matters because boats stored indoors, like in a locked garage, for instance, are better protected from theft and the elements than a boat stored outdoors, like on a trailer in your backyard. You may pay lower rates if you store your boat in a way that reduces risk.

Location: Boat insurance rates could vary in Georgia based on your location in the state and where you plan to do most of your boating. You may pay more for coverage if you’re closer to the coast since the threat of hurricanes is more serious. And, if you plan to do your cruising offshore regularly rather than sticking to lakes and rivers, you could have higher premiums since your insurance company deems it riskier.

ACV vs Agreed Value: One of the most direct factors that can influence your Georgia boat insurance premium, though, is the way you cover your boat in your comprehensive policy. Boat insurance plans are usually written with either agreed-value coverage or actual cash value coverage. 

Agreed-value coverage means your insurer covers your vessel for a value that you both agree on when you get your policy, which is typically around the market value for your boat. In case of a total loss, your insurer will reimburse you this agreed-upon amount for the life of the policy no matter how old your boat is when it gets destroyed. 

Actual cash value coverage, on the other hand,  factors in depreciation, which means you’ll receive a smaller reimbursement for damage the older your boat is. Actual cash value coverage will reimburse you less, but it’s usually the cheaper option.

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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