What To Look For With Fishing Boat Insurance

If you’re like most fishermen, you’ve probably invested a lot of money in your sport – especially in your boat.  When it comes to shopping for insurance for your fishing boat, there are some things you should know.  Looking into the details now can save you from headaches later on. The time to discover you don’t have coverage is not when you have a loss. To keep it from getting too complicated, let’s start with the basics.

What to Look for in Fishing Boat Insurance

Choose an Agent: You should begin by using an agent who specializes in marine insurance. An agent who speaks to you in terms you understand is also desirable.  If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation in layman’s terms. Ask experienced boating friends for their insurance recommendations.

Actual Cash Value vs. Agreed Value: These are the two main choices for boat insurance and depreciation is what sets them apart. No two policies are the same.

An Agreed Value policy may cost more, but it pays more. It will cover the stated value of the policy in the event of a total loss. For example, a total loss on a $50,000 agreed value policy will pay you $50,000. It may be subject to a deductible.  More importantly, a partial loss on an agreed value policy replaces most items on a “new for old” basis, with little or no depreciation, depending on the carrier.  Hence, a claim for the theft of a three-year-old bottom machine would get you a new, comparable replacement.

Actual Cash Value (ACV) policies generally cost less, but only pay up to the actual cash value at the time the boat or property was lost or damaged. Depreciation is usually calculated on all losses. ACV policies are better suited to less expensive boats or when you are not as concerned about a total loss.

Other Coverage: Some policies extend coverage to include fishing gear that you carry on the boat such as rods and reels, electronics, trolling motors, tackle, etc. You might also participate in fishing tournaments from time to time. Make sure your policy provides the liability coverage required. Do you need hurricane haul-out assistance or fuel spill coverage? Are you planning a long trip away from home? What happens if someone else drives your boat and has an accident? A good agent will review all of your options so there will be no surprises.

Deductibles: There are several ways to reduce the cost of your boat insurance. The most common way is to select the highest deductible amount that you are comfortable with. In general, physical damage deductibles start at around 1% of the value of the boat and can sometimes be increased to as much as 5%.

Now that we’ve described some of the key elements, we hope that you are in a better position to ask the right questions when buying marine insurance. Please contact our marine advisors for more guidance or visit our website at marineins.com.

New Call-to-action

Voyages to Cuba Bring Uncertainty

Map of Cuba

Florida boaters should be cautious before making plans to navigate to Cuba.

On September 18, 2015, The U.S. Department of the Treasury released new rules surrounding U.S. travel to Cuba. The administration lifted the prohibition on boating to Cuba and Cuban waters. While the intrigue is enormous, Florida boaters should be cautious before making plans for such a Caribbean voyage. Although the U.S. government has liberalized the rules, there are many unique conditions that should be considered; political risk, crime, navigational limits available on current insurance policies, just to name a few.

The new regulations bring the marine insurance industry into uncharted territory. Insurance companies are not yet offering coverage extensions for destination Cuba. The reasons that the carriers may be slow to respond are as follows:

  • Conflicting laws and regulations between U.S. agencies
  • Lack of familiarity with Cuban laws which may govern in civil and criminal matters
  • Lack of knowledge and limited opportunities for subrogation
  • Additional expense of sending marine surveyors and claims adjustors
  • Unknown/adequate repair facilities
  • Access to repair parts
  • Towing charges if the vessel had to be repatriated for repair
  • Technical complications associated with endorsing in force policies
  • No underwriting data to base rates on

It is uncertain when insurance companies will offer this coverage to the recreational boater. In the meantime, boaters are reminded that property and liability coverage only applies to claims which occur within the navigational limits stated in the boater’s policy. Wallace Welch & Willingham will stay attuned to this situation and will continue to post updates.

New Call-to-action

Top 10 Boating Safety Tips

Top 10 Boating Safety Tips

1. Always wear a life jacket and insist that your crew and guests do the same. Approximately 77 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned in 2013.(1) Almost 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket, and 8 out of every 10 boaters who drowned were on vessels less than 21 feet in length. Always have an adequate supply of life jackets aboard. Make sure that children are wearing appropriate life jackets that fit correctly. Drowning was the reported cause of death for approximately 36 percent of the children under the age of 13 who perished in boating accidents in 2013. In cold water areas, life jackets are even more important. Hypothermia is a significant risk factor for injury or even death while boating. Cold water accelerates the onset and progression of hypothermia since body heat can be lost 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. Boaters can be at risk of hypothermia in warm waters as well, where expected time of survival can be as little as two hours in waters as warm at 60 – 70°F. To learn hypothermia risk factors and how to better your chances of survival, visit http://seagrant.umn.edu/coastal_communities/hypothermia.

2. Never drink alcohol while boating. Alcohol use was again the leading factor in all fatal boating accidents, and in 2013 contributed to 75 fatalities, 16% of recreational boating deaths.(1) Stay sharp on the water by leaving the alcohol on dry land.

3. Take a boating safety course. Only 13% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction from a provider offering a course that meets U.S. Coast Guard-recognized national standards.(1) You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate if you complete a safety course. Contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron chapter(2) or visit www.uscgboating.org for more information on courses in your area.

4. Stay in control by taking charge of your safety and that of your passengers. Boaters between the ages of 36 and 55 accounted for the highest percentage of boating fatalities (38%) and injuries (39%) than any age group in 2013.(1) With nearly 5,500 vessels involved in accidents in 2013, it is imperative to maintain control of your vessel and your passengers. Don’t forget that safety begins with you.

5. Understand and obey boating safety recommendations and navigational rules. Imagine the mayhem that would result if car drivers disregarded highway traffic laws. In 2013, violations of navigation rules were the leading contributing factor in more than 200 accidents and 15 deaths.(1) Know and understand boating safety procedures
and rules of navigation before taking to the water, and practice them without fail.

To read the full article and see the rest of the list, Click Here.

New Call-to-action