It is vital that you have boat insurance before you purchase your vessel. You do not want to be caught without it when the time comes to use it. This is especially true if you live or work in an area that prohibits boat operation. While there are many legal requirements to carry boat insurance, the most important and necessary is to have liability insurance.

Legal Requirements If you are going to operate a boat, you will need boat insurance. Depending on the laws in your particular state, there may need to be some modifications made to your policy to comply. In addition, you may need to change your deductibles and coverage as well. The legal requirements vary from state to state, but there are some that are very similar. Boats with more than 50 hp. Also, legally, only two states require any kind of boat insurance coverage:

In order to be fully covered, you may need both a boat insurance policy and a liability coverage policy as well. A boat insurance policy will help protect against damage to your boat while underinsured or uninsured, as well as loss or damage to your equipment or property. Boats without pay may need only a boat insurance policy, however.

Liability Insurance Policy states require boat insurance to help offset costs associated with accidents and damages. It is required in thirty-nine states. If you operate through a business, you need boat insurance as part of the employer’s liability policy. In the states of Arkansas and Utah, and the District of Columbia, it is up to the employer to determine the amount of coverage needed. In addition, the premium and deductible amounts will vary between states. Premiums and deductibles also may depend on whether the boat is operated by a business or by an individual.

Comprehensive Coverage provides many of the same benefits that complete coverage does, but also has more limits than liability insurance. Comprehensive coverage will cover damage to both the vessel itself as well as any personal property carried on board. Some examples of comprehensive coverage include collision coverage, which pays out to the person or entity that was the cause of the accident; and if there are uninsured boaters, comprehensive will pay to repair or replace boats or other property damaged in an accident. Typically, comprehensive coverage requires the purchase of new or used boats, but may also apply to previously owned vessels.

Some states require that any boat insurance policy contain additional coverage known as uninsured boater. This additional coverage may pay the expenses associated with medical bills for any persons injured on the boat. It is designed to supplement the primary policy, but provides financial protection should someone get into an accident when still insured on the primary policy. States also may require that boat insurance policies have additional coverage in case a motorboat is vandalized or left in a ditch. In these cases, it is often required that boat insurance policies have the added coverage known as uninsured boater so that the secondary policy will kick in.

There are some boats that are designed to be safer than others. These are known as sailboats. Sailboats that are engineered to be safer are typically required to have additional boat insurance. Sail boats can experience more damage or theft than other types of boats, as their size and speed create significant potential for damage or theft. Because they are harder to control, sailboats are often in areas where boat insurance costs may be especially high.

The bottom line on boat insurance costs depends on many factors. Each state has different regulations regarding boat insurance and each insurer could choose which ones to apply in your area. It’s advised to research several insurers to see what they offer and how much coverage you’re looking for. Doing all the research possible could help you lower your auto insurance costs so that you can enjoy a fun boating experience.