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Boating Your Way to Happiness

Boating your way to happiness

What could be better than taking a daylong mini vacation on the lake or coastal waters? The first week of June is National Fishing and Boating Week so it’s time to get that motor tuned up and your fishing poles ready. Perhaps you need to upgrade your existing motor, or you don’t own a boat and are thinking of purchasing one. Do you need insurance to protect your investment?

Need Boat Insurance?

Many homeowner policies offer a minimum of coverage on watercraft liability and physical damage, usually for motors up to twenty-five horsepower or small sailboats; however, it’s important to note that wind damage is excluded if the boat is not stored in a fully enclosed building. Georgia Farm Bureau Homeowner policies limit the included basic coverage to only fifteen hundred dollars for the boat, motor, trailer, and accessories. In some instances, our policies offer liability if you rent something under fifty horsepower, but not always. You must keep in mind all the limitations of this ‘added in’ coverage. No underage operators, nothing with a galley, no racing, no pontoon, nothing longer than twenty-six feet and other exclusions. You’ll need to discuss this with your qualified insurance agent to discover if your policy offers you the coverage you need. 

Covering Boating Accessories

What about your expensive sound system and all the equipment that goes along with a successful fishing expedition? Maybe you need one of those electronic fish finders, and quality new fishing poles. Fish finders can range in price from one hundred to thousands of dollars. Although this author has never held a thousand-dollar fishing pole with reel, I image they are available. They even have Bluetooth fishing bobbers which communicate with your phone to tell you how close the fish are to your line. This adds up to a substantial investment.

What's Covered?

Who is going to pay to replace your boat and personal items if it’s stolen? The best recommendation is to purchase a boat insurance policy in addition to your dwelling policy to have the most comprehensive coverage. This type of policy would allow you to add all those expensive items that are inside your boat, and most carriers even give you an insurance card, just like you have with your vehicle. Proof of coverage is especially important in the event of collision on the water or if you needed to be towed back to the dock. 

Real Life Example

Jimbob purchased a top-of-the-line Carolina Skiff fishing boat with a motor and a trolling motor and since he has terrible luck fishing, he added on a three-thousand-dollar fish finder and spent four thousand on fancy fishing equipment with electronic ibobbers for all five members of his family. 

Which scenario below do you think worked out best for him?

  1. A. Jimbob decides not to purchase any extra insurance because he doesn’t want to pay another couple hundred a year, even though his boat is above the twenty-five horsepower maximum listed on his home insurance policy. He is ‘insurance-poor” and hopes his agent will “help him out.” Note: Your agent cannot change what is listed on the policy documents after a claim. That would be unethical.

    If Jimbob hits a log on the water, and must be towed to the dock, that’s at his own expense. The physical damage to the boat won’t be covered since a boat that powerful is excluded in the home policy documents. Jimbob wants to cheer his family up about the missed day on the lake and takes them to lunch, leaving the damaged boat tied in the public marina. While they’re gone, all the gear and the fish finder are stolen. Sadly, still no coverage on his home insurance policy. 

    B. What if instead of a log, Jimbob hit another boat and punched a whole in the side? There is no liability coverage as the boat was not insured at the time of the accident.

  2. A. Jimbob realizes he needs to cover his investment and purchases a boat insurance policy with towing included from a qualified and knowledgeable Farm Bureau Agent. If Jimbob hits a log, the policy will pay for repairs, less any deductible. Most boat policies include a towing package which can be upgraded if you are using your boat in coastal waters. Also, your boat policy will allow you to add your personal belongings for coverage under the same perils as your boat. 

    B. What if instead of a log, Jimbob hit another boat and punched a hole in the side? A comprehensive boat policy will have liability coverage up to whatever limits you choose to purchase. 

    I hope you chose scenario number two. A boat is a large investment. Be smart and make a much smaller investment in adequate insurance coverage. 


    For more information on National Fishing and Boating week, please check out

     Content provided by Bacon County Agency Manager, S. Leah Miles