South Carolina Boat Insurance

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Rivers, lakes, swamplands, mountains, and the Atlantic Ocean coastline. South Carolina’s varying geography offers plenty to see and enjoy. Simply put, South Carolina has boating opportunities for everyone.

Factor in the possibility of favorable boating weather year-round, and there’s hardly a reason to stay off the water. But, the activity does have its dangers. Boating can get very dangerous very fast. If you’re lucky enough to never run into any trouble on the water, your vessel can still pick up damage from the elements or elsewhere when you’re not using it.

Boat insurance policies protect you and your vessel financially from all sorts of damage. It’s a wise investment no matter where you are. In South Carolina, there are some particulars you should know before buying a policy to make a well-informed decision. So, let’s go over everything you need to know about boat insurance in South Carolina, including coverages, risks, costs, and potential requirements.

South Carolina Boat Insurance Coverages

Unlike home insurance or car insurance, where there are generally straightforward requirements and usual coverages, boat insurance is a bit more unique. There aren’t really any one-size-fits-all policies, and there are several coverages you can mix and match.

That said, boat protection in South Carolina can normally be divided into two categories: liability insurance and physical damage insurance. If you combine them, you have what can be considered comprehensive boat insurance. Let’s break them down.

Liability Coverage

Liability insurance for boaters covers injuries or property damage to others in an accident you’re at fault for. If you accidentally collide with another boater or someone else’s property, liability coverage allows your insurer to step in so you don’t have to pay out of your pocket to fix the damages. It can cover bodily injury and property damage.

Liability boat insurance in South Carolina often also includes fuel spill coverage, which can pay to remedy damages that are caused by a fuel or oil spill after an accident. It may also include wreckage removal, which can help cover the costs to raise or remove your mangled boat if you need to. Check with your provider on the specifics of these coverages in your policy.

Make sure your boat insurer in South Carolina knows if you plan to use your vessel for water sports, too. Not every carrier will cover injuries that occur during waterskiing and wakeboarding, for example. Know this before you plan on joining in any water sports on Lake Hartwell or any of the state’s lakes.

Comprehensive Coverage

Keep in mind that liability insurance doesn’t provide protection for your vessel. It covers damages you cause to others. For insurance that covers physical damage to your boat, you’d need a type of comprehensive boat policy

Comprehensive boat insurance covers damage from theft, vandalism, collisions, sinking, fires, and many cases of severe weather. It protects your boat while in use and while it’s out of the water. If you were to suffer damage, a comprehensive boat insurance policy typically reimburses you in one of two ways: actual cash value or agreed (hull) value.

Agreed Value Coverage: With an agreed-value boat insurance policy, your provider will reimburse you for the market value of your boat that you agree upon with your insurer when you bind the policy no matter how old the vessel is at the time of damage. For example, your $100,000 will be covered for $100,000 for the life of the policy.

Actual Cash Value: Actual cash value coverage, on the other hand, factors in depreciation. This means you’ll receive a smaller reimbursement for damage the older your boat is. Since the value of your boat goes down over time, so does your maximum payout. Actual cash value coverage covers less, but it’s usually the more affordable 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.

South Carolina Boat Insurance Policy Considerations

A major factor for boat insurers in South Carolina is hurricanes. Even though comprehensive policies should cover your vessel from hurricane damage, you may have some stipulations to deal with. For instance, your carrier may want you to take certain measures before a known hurricane is going to hit, 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.

Some policies have navigational limits, too, 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 South Carolina, though.

Another thing you might want to consider, especially in the northern part of the state, is maintaining your boat in the cold months. Although it’s probably not cold enough often enough to winterize your boat, know that your policy may not cover damage from freezing if there’s negligence on your part. Be sure to take proper care of your boat during the winter, especially if you have an inboard motor.

You may also find that boat insurance companies are asking you about your residence. In South Carolina, vacation homes are relatively common. Leaving your boat at your seasonal home for months at a time while you’re not there may raise your rates. Some boat insurance companies don’t want you to leave your boat unattended for long periods since there’s no one to prevent thefts or mitigate damage. 

Is Boat Insurance Required in South Carolina?

Boat insurance isn’t required by law in South Carolina. But, there may be times when you’re expected to have a policy by some private businesses.

Marinas or boatyards may need you to have a liability policy before allowing you to store your boat. This bolsters their protection from liability overall and could help them avoid any gray areas between their commercial liability insurance and your vessel.

Additionally, lenders will typically mandate that you have comprehensive insurance on your boat if you’ve financed it. This way, if your boat gets totaled, your lender can recoup their investment in your watercraft from the insurance policy.

You might want to be aware of certain boating laws and requirements that are in place so you can not only navigate the waters safely and legally but also not jeopardize your boat insurance. For instance, if you get into an accident and damage your boat while operating it under the influence, your provider might not cover the damage because you were breaking the law.

How Much Is Boat Insurance in South Carolina?

You can generally get boat insurance in South Carolina for at least $200 per year, but exact rates vary greatly depending on many factors. Bigger boats will almost certainly pay more. Vessel age and size are important, as well as the method of storage, policy type, and more. Liability insurance on its own is usually less than comprehensive insurance, too.

Here are some major factors that affect the cost of South Carolina boat insurance:

Vessel age and size: Normally, bigger boats cost more to insure than smaller boats. Bigger boats are more expensive to rebuild, thus more expensive to cover. Also, especially old or vintage boats may cost more to cover, as unique parts or features could be hard to replicate in repairs.

Method of storage: How you store your boat is also important. Boat insurers in South Carolina may look more favorably on those who store their boat inside a locked garage where a vessel is protected from the elements and theft than those who keep their boat on their trailer outside in their backyard.

Claims History: If you have a history of boat insurance claims, you can expect to pay higher premiums. Providers believe someone who has filed a claim in the past is more likely to file one in the future.

Policy Add-ons: Boat insurance typically has a lot of optional coverages available to you. Adding these to your policy will increase your premium. For instance, you may want towing assistance, mechanical breakdown endorsements, additional personal property/fishing equipment coverage, and more.

Best Boat Insurance Companies in South Carolina

The best insurer for one boater might not be the best choice for another. For instance, vessel size and value restrictions could limit the choices of some boaters.

The best boat insurance companies in South Carolina will be the providers who are understanding and experienced in dealing with common claims in South Carolina. At Clovered, our team of licensed agents is always ready to help you whenever you need it, whether it’s with a claim or you just have a general policy question.

We partner with one of the nation’s top boat insurers to provide you the coverage you need at the price you want. If you’re looking for coverage, feel free to contact us at 833-255-4117, or email us at

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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