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A Guide to Boat Insurance (Costs and Coverages)

Boat Insurance Costs and Coverages

Over 300,000 boats are registered in Pennsylvania alone. That’s a lot of boats!

And while Pennsylvania does not require registered boats to carry insurance, boats are expensive! 

A motorized bass boat or a speed boat will cost you around $20,000 used or $30,000 new on the low end. That’s a big investment.

So how can you protect that investment? 

Boat insurance.

And, what would happen if your boat is involved in an accident where someone is injured? 

If you are at fault, you are responsible for paying the injured party’s medical expenses. If you don’t have insurance coverage, you’ll need to cover those costs out-of-pocket.

With a boat insurance policy, you can know that you have medical coverage if you’re in a boating accident, coverage for any damage you might cause to someone else’s property, and even coverage for any damage done to your watercraft.

If you’re in the market for a boat insurance policy, this article is for you.

In this short guide, I address the two most common questions I get about boat insurance.

  1. How much does boat insurance cost?
  2. What will my boat insurance policy cover?

Let’s jump right in.

How much does boat insurance cost? 

The actual cost of your boat insurance policy will depend on several factors. To demonstrate how the insurance company will arrive at your rates, let’s talk about those elements they will be evaluating. Then, we’ll jump into the actual rates you can expect to pay depending on the type of watercraft you are insuring. 


Factors that impact boat insurance premiums

Some elements that will affect the cost of your boat insurance policy include:

  • Value of the boat
  • Horsepower of the boat
  • Driving record
  • Age of the drivers
  • Boat usage
  • Extra coverages

Value of the boat

Like a car, the value of your boat is determined by several factors. The age and size of your watercraft, any extra features, and even your geographical location all contribute to the value of your boat. The value of your boat is the number one factor in determining your insurance premium.


The horsepower of your boat will also play a significant role in arriving at your premium amount. The higher the horsepower, the more expensive the premium.

Driving record

Insurance companies consider your auto driving record when purchasing boat insurance. This factor doesn’t significantly impact your boat insurance rates, however.

Age of the drivers  

With boat insurance, you must list anyone who will regularly be driving your watercraft on your policy.  This includes minors. 

(Quick note here – for boats with a 25 horsepower engine or greater, all operators must be at least 12 years old. And for those who were born after 1982, a boating safety education certificate is required.)

The insurance company will consider the age of the drivers who will regularly be behind your boat’s wheel.

Boat Usage

Your insurance premium will reflect the amount that you use your watercraft. Heavier usage may increase your premium amounts.

If you will be living on your boat, boat insurance would not adequately cover you. You would need to purchase a separate policy to cover your insurance needs.

Also, you can not get typical boat insurance if you will be using your watercraft for business purposes or racing. So, if you will be using your boats to give tours or to take people on paid fishing excursions, you will need a different type of insurance policy – a business policy.

And if you are racing your boat, you will need a different kind of insurance policy. Standard boat insurance companies like Progressive or Foremost will not cover this kind of activity.


What can I expect to pay for my boat insurance policy?

Like I mentioned earlier, the most significant factor that will impact your boat insurance premiums is how your boat is valued. That value is highly affected by the type of watercraft you are insuring. 

For most water vessels that we insure in PA, the insurance policies run between $100 and $300.

The size of your boat’s motor is the other major factor in determining your insurance premium.

If your vessel has a higher horsepower motor, your policy will likely be closer to $400 or $500. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a yacht, you should plan on much higher premiums for your vessel. Insurance for a small yacht will cost around $2,000. For a large yacht, you can expect to pay in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for insurance.


What does boat insurance cover?

Like an auto policy, boat insurance has a variety of coverages. You can select what coverages you need and want on your policy.


All boat insurance policies include liability to cover any damage you cause to someone else’s property. 

Full Coverage

Full coverage will cover damage to your watercraft. This damage might be due to an accident you caused. It could also result from an incident like a tree falling on your boat when it is parked on the trailer on your property. 

Medical Payment Coverage

This coverage will provide for medical expenses for those injured in an accident involving your watercraft. 

Underinsured/Uninsured Boaters

This additional coverage will protect you if you or someone in your boat is injured by another boater who does not carry insurance or does not have high enough limits to cover the medical expenses that occur due to an accident.

Trailer Coverage

Most policies will also include coverage for the trailer you use to haul your boat. 

Fuel Spillage

If you accidentally spill fuel into a body of water, you are responsible for that clean-up. Fuel spillage coverage will protect you in this case.

Trip Interruption

This optional coverage will assist with expenses you incur if your boat trailer has a breakdown or accident while traveling with your boat. This will help cover your lodging, alternative transportation, and food while your trailer or vehicle is being repaired.

Fishing Equipment Coverage

Fishing equipment can be costly. If you have a significant amount of fishing equipment, you can add this coverage to your policy.

Personal Property Coverage

You can also add coverage for personal property on your boat. This might include binoculars, scuba equipment, MP# players, cell phones, Bluetooth speakers, sunglasses, tablets or computers, etc. 

Other Coverages

Boat insurance can include other coverages as well. Each boat insurance company determines the coverages they offer to their policyholders.


I need boat insurance. What are my next steps?

If you have a boat or are in the process of buying a boat, you can line up your insurance by calling a local insurance agent. 

Your agent will ask you a series of questions about the watercraft you are purchasing, how you intend to use it, where you will keep it, and who will be driving it. 

After plugging in your information, they can quickly give you an estimate. 

At Baily Insurance Agency, we sell insurance products for boat owners in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. 

And as an independent insurance agency, we can provide you with multiple quotes from various boat insurance companies. When you give us a call, we can do the shopping around for you!

And if you already have homeowners or auto insurance with one of our insurance partners, we can often bundle your boat insurance with your other insurance products. And anytime you bundle, you can expect some discounts on your insurance policy.

If you’re ready to get started with that quote, you can call us at 724-627-6121. Or, you can let us know your ready to right here on our website.