Updated January 5, 2017 . AmFam Team
Whether you’re finding a perfect location to store your boat in the off-season or preparing it for winter, you’re all about taking proactive steps to keep your prized possession safe when the temperatures drop. Perhaps you’re using a custom boat cover or maybe you even take on the task of shrink-wrapping it with a roll of marine-grade film. But, are you overlooking one of the most important ways to protect your prized possession?
Boats in storage are quite vulnerable, particularly when they’re left mounted on a trailer, according to US Boat Magazine. Boat thefts of this sort made up more than 70 percent of all reported losses in recent years. And frequently, the boat and the trailer are stolen right off the owner’s property — and less than 15 percent of these losses reported the use of a locking device on the trailer or boat.
Although you may think that boat insurance is only for boating season, the risks last all year long and even into the winter months. Sure, you could save a little by canceling your policy when your boat is not being used, but just because it’s in storage doesn’t mean your boat won’t be damaged or stolen.
The year-round risks of fire, theft, and vandalism are just as real in the off-season. And should the unexpected happen while your boat is uninsured, it would be up to you to pay for the damages out of pocket. If you’ve financed your boat and are still paying it off when something happens, you may have to come up with a large sum of money to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your boat.
In most cases your homeowners policy will not cover a pleasure boat. In the off chance your policy does extend coverage to boats, it most likely has a cap that limits the payout to $1000. And this type of insurance will typically only cover small boats and low-powered vessels like canoes, kayaks and small sailboats. When powerboats, large sailboats and yachts are involved in a total loss, you can be left on the hook for thousands of dollars because your homeowners policy isn’t designed to cover such expensive watercraft.
While it’s usually not a requirement by law, there are some cases where boat insurance is required year-round. Factors such as where you live and whether or not you finance your boat can mandate boat insurance across the whole year. Uninsured boaters, like uninsured drivers, sometimes take risks because they’re not required to have coverage.
Some insurance companies allow you to halt the coverage on your boat while it’s in storage. But it’s up to you to reactivate your policy before you take your boat out for the new season. Reinstating your insurance adds another layer of risk that you shouldn’t have to take on. If a tree falls on your boat when it’s stored during winter, you won’t be covered with that type of partial insurance.
Although “seasonal” coverage may be available, at American Family, we feel your best option is to retain full coverage year-in and year-out. Accidents happen on and off the water, and your big investments deserve uninterrupted protection, no matter where they happen to be.
Instead of risking a big loss and canceling your boat insurance over the winter, why not take advantage of other ways to save? You’ll still benefit from year round coverage and you could save thousands if something should happen during the winter months.
By protecting your boat with great insurance, you’ve demonstrated a commitment to protect your dreams. Because we reward smart boating behavior, we’re always finding new ways to return the favor for your safe habits. By successfully completing a boating safety course, you’ve demonstrated your dedication as a boat owner and we appreciate it!
As the season comes to a close and you consider your insurance coverage options while the boat is in storage, reach out to your American Family Insurance agent. They’re experts in helping you understand the benefits of bundling your policies to maximize your savings.