Boat insurance, just like car insurance, covers you in case of damage to your boat or someone else. It's your safety net whenever you want to travel across the waters. It even bails you out of a sticky situation, like with towing, for example. This may leave you wondering just how much pontoon boat insurance costs? We have researched all of the top providers to get you the best answer to this question, so you know what you are getting into.
Here are the annual price ranges of pontoon boat insurance for a few providers.
- PROGRESSIVE: $208-$348
- ALLSTATE: starting at $252
- STATE FARM: roughly $256 (discount if you completed boat education)
Prices will vary according to boat size, location, and other factors that we'll be covering.
You could have your pontoon covered under your homeowner's policy. But if you want standalone coverage, you'll likely pay somewhere between $20 and $40 a month. More expensive or newer boat models may raise the price of its insurance. Continue reading to have a better understanding of getting coverage for your pontoon.
How Much is Pontoon Boat Insurance a Year?
There's no one set price on pontoon boat insurance. No one boat insurance policy is like the other; each coverage policy has unique specifications. Many factors go into calculating the price, such as:
- The size and age of your pontoon boat or its engine
- Whether the boat will be used in open or inland waters
- The amount of coverage you want
- How often it plans to be used
- The age and boating experience of the driver
- Your driving record
- If the boat had more than one owner
- If you have proper boating safety education
On average, the cost of boat insurance can range from $200 to $500 a year.
Another factor of insurance costs that we haven't mentioned yet is location. Compared to the rest of the United States, boat insurance will be costly in the following states:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
Boat insurance rates are the lowest in states like:
Most of the remaining states are in-the-middle, in terms of costs.
According to Progressive, the reason insurance is much cheaper in some states compared to others is because the more affordable states don't have a coastline. Boaters can only use their boats in inland waters. The expensive states, however, do have a coastline. This means boaters can sail on much larger bodies of water. The time of year will be a factor in these states as well.
Is Boat Insurance Mandatory?
In most states, you're not required to have boat insurance. If the bank is involved, then it is mandatory, however. When you take out a loan, and the boat is used as collateral, the lender requires you to have boat insurance. Year-round coverage may not be necessary, though. The lender might ask that you get year-round coverage even when your boat is stored. Putting your boat in storage won't prevent the risks of theft or weather damages.
Additionally, some ports or marinas won't let you use their facilities without insurance. Whatever the state minimum insurance amount is should be enough. You'll also need to show proof of insurance to use these facilities. Nonetheless, make sure to read the fine print and know the requirements before signing any contracts; you'll need to sign one to continue the process.
Where is Boat Insurance Required?
The United States is much more lenient on boats than it is on cars. Unlike car insurance, you only need to have boat insurance if you reside in these three states:
That doesn't mean that you should sporadically go boating without any preparedness. The United States Coast Guard reported in 2016 that boating inexperience was the second leading cause of boating accidents. Because of this, some states require you to have a boating license. Those states are:
There are a few other requirements you'll need to look into depending on the state you live in. For example, you'll almost definitely have to get your boat registered to sail legally. You'll also have to pay any associated fees. Check your state's DMV to get the full requirements.
What is Covered Under Boat Insurance?
Even though no one boat insurance policy is exactly like another, every policy will at least cover the basics listed below.
Property and Liability Coverage
Let's say you get in an accident while boating. This will help with the costs associated with repairing any damage from an accident. This protection works, whether on water or land. Because it also helps with the cost to replace your boat in the event of theft. Read our article on how boat insurance works with theft.
You have two types of property coverage: cash value or agreed amount. The above factors in depreciation when calculating your deductibles. The latter factors in however much you invest in the overall value of your vessel.
Liability covers the expenses related to any damage you cause to another person or their property.
For example, liability will help to cover the medical expenses when someone gets an injury. The limits for this kind of coverage ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the size of your boat.
Another instance would be from doing damage to other property, whether it be a collision or from accidental causation. Should damage be done to an uninsured boater, you get at least a $300,000 limit of coverage.
What Isn't Covered Under Boat Insurance?
Some incidents won't be covered under insurance, and some will only be covered if it's added to your policy.
Insurance will not cover damages caused by typical wear and tear or deterioration. You also won't be covered if mold or insects do any harm. So make sure to keep your boat in good, clean shape to avoid this.
Basic packages won't cover damage caused by weather or wildlife. If storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, or wild animals are prevalent where you live, you will need to add additional coverage for your insurance to take care of it.
Your policy won't cover any machinery or engine damage if you caused it. However, if the mechanism like the engine, for example, has a manufacturer defect, you would be covered. Read your policy carefully to see if you'd be covered in these scenarios.
Benefits of Boat Insurance
As we mentioned earlier, most states don't require you to have insurance. That shouldn't stop you from getting it. Below are some reasons to get insurance if you're hesitant.
Everybody Onboard is Protected
The driver and anyone else in the boat is covered in the event of an accident.
The gas or oil in your boat could potentially leak into the water. Insurance will pay for all the cleanup costs associated. You'll need to add this to your basic coverage, however.
Just like with a car, you could get stuck at any given point. Insurance gives you room to breathe; a professional towing service will come to the rescue, and it's fully covered.
The cost of any motorized boat isn't cheap. Anything can happen to it at any given moment. Without insurance, you could pay thousands more than you already paid to buy the boat.
Pontoon boats (and any other motorized boat) will significantly benefit from insurance. Although many factors go into its final price, we recommend that you have $500/year. That will be enough to get you basic coverage in many states. In the states we mentioned where it costs more, add $100.
Once you're insured, go ahead and set sail! Have peace of mind that you're protected throughout the entire journey.