Does Boat Insurance Cover Theft?

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Getting burglarized produces a hopeless, sinking feeling that’s tough to shake, especially if something as valuable as your boat gets stolen. It’s not fair. You could maintain your boat well and always operate it safely, yet if it’s stolen all your responsibility was for naught.

To help you overcome the financial loss of a stolen vessel, your boat insurance company should be there for you. Let’s take a look to learn how boat insurance covers theft.

Does Boat Insurance Cover Theft?

Most full coverage or comprehensive boat insurance policies cover theft if your vessel is stolen from your dock or yard. Your provider should reimburse you for your vessel up to your policy limits, and items stolen from your boat may be covered, too, depending on your plan.

The amount your insurer reimburses you for your boat depends on the coverage you chose in your policy. Homeowners insurance alone will not provide sufficient coverage for your boat. You’d need separate theft insurance for a boat in the form of a boat insurance policy.

If your watercraft is stolen from a marina or storage facility, the owner of that property should be primarily responsible. Their insurance should help out first, while your coverage could come in if needed afterward.

Boat insurance policies are highly customizable. You can usually choose all sorts of add-ons for extra coverage related to theft. For instance, If your boat was attached to a trailer and both were stolen, the trailer could be covered, too, depending on your policy. Your boat and trailer may or may not be covered if it was stolen while you’re transporting it somewhere, though. It’s always best to double-check your policy.

Generally, boat insurance covers your boat and the equipment permanently attached to it, like an outboard motor, anchor, sails, and lines. Upgrades you’ve made to your boat or other items you’ve added, like fish finders, a GPS, fishing gear, televisions, and furniture may not be covered under your boat insurance. But, some stolen personal property from your boat may be covered under coverage C of your homeowners insurance.

How Much Will You Receive for a Stolen Boat?

Your insurer will reimburse you for your stolen boat either for its actual cash value, replacement cost value, or agreed-upon value. It depends on what coverage you chose for your vessel when you got your policy.

Usually, the most affordable coverage option for boat insurance is actual cash value. This type of protection covers the boat for its current market value at the time you got your policy, but it factors in depreciation over time. So, if your boat gets stolen five years after you got your policy, you won’t receive what you paid for it because the boat has lost value, or depreciated, over time according to your insurer.

For example, your carrier may determine your boat was worth $20,000 at the time of loss instead of the $30,000 that you paid for it when it was brand new.

The way providers calculate depreciation varies by company. But, generally, the older your boat, the less you’ll receive for it when stolen if you have actual cash value coverage.

Agreed-upon value coverage is more straightforward. Whatever value you and your insurer determine your boat is worth when you get your policy is what you’ll be paid if it’s stolen. If you insure your boat for $30,000, your provider should reimburse you $30,000 whenever it’s stolen, minus your deductible. 

Some carriers offer total replacement coverage, or total loss replacement, for a stolen boat. With this coverage, your insurer will pay for a brand new boat of like make and model after yours is stolen, no matter the cost.

This would be the most expensive coverage option, and it’s usually only available for very new boats that are less than a year or two old. Your insurer can pay more than what you paid for the boat if the model has gone up in value since you purchased yours. But, they may put a cap, like 120% of the value you listed your boat for, for instance, to have some sort of limit.

Stolen Boat Insurance Claims

When it comes to boat insurance claims, stolen watercraft are one of the most common claim types. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Florida, California, and Texas saw the most swiped boats in 2019. Perhaps unsurprisingly, jet skis and similar personal watercraft are the most frequently stolen type of vessels.

To prevent stolen boat insurance claims, your best bet is to store yours in a locked garage or building. Insurers usually ask about this when you’re getting a policy, and they may provide you a discount on your rate for doing it. Also, use cable locks to secure your jet ski(s) to your dock, a trailer, or each other when you’re not using them.

Reporting a Stolen Boat to Your Insurance Company

If your boat is stolen, you should report it to your insurance company and the relevant authorities as soon as possible. When you contact your insurer, they’ll likely ask you to fill out a claim form. You’ll need to describe the loss, including when and where it occurred. Your insurance company may also ask for a police report.

Keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay your deductible when you file. Common boat insurance deductibles usually fall between $500 and $5,000. If you’re filing for stolen personal property or equipment on your boat, too, you may have to pay a separate deductible for these items if you’ve purchased add-ons for them.

For example, if you’ve purchased coverage for your fishing equipment, you may be covered up to $1,000 or $5,000 per item, but you may have a deductible of $250 for every lost item, too. If you’re filing a claim just for stolen equipment, your insurer may want to see evidence of forced entry, or they may ask you if you store your items in a locked area or compartment before reimbursing you.

Additionally, every boat made in the last 40 years has a hull identification number. You’ll need to provide this to the police when your boat is stolen. It can help them track your vessel.

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

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