Boat Insurance. Cheap vs Not.

One of the keys to purchasing a new vehicle -- whether new or used -- is your access to insurance. Indeed, before you can purchase a car in many state you have to show the dealer proof of insurance. If youve have a car on the road, then its pretty easy to show you have proof of insurance by simply calling your agent and having your agent contacting your cars insurance carrier to transfer the insurance from one car to the other.

Indeed, many times, youll find you dont even have to call your insurance agent as your dealer will handle it for you.

And, while it isnt strictly warranted on most small boats -- a rider on your home insurance policy will usually take care of it -- most states do require you to purchase some form of comprehensive and liability insurance policy out on your watercraft if it is over a certain number of feet.

Theres no real agreement on when comprehensive and liability insurance will be required for you to obtain a boat tag from your state, but if you would be wide to purchase liability and comprehensive insurance if your craft is more than 21 feet long. Some other features that almost insure the need for liability and comprehensive insurance include:

Enclosed cabinSleeping accommodationsCooking accommodationsEngine size

For example, if you purchase a day cruiser thats about 22-feet long with an enclosed cabin then you can be sure that not only will the local Coast Guard Auxiliary group want to inspect it for proper flotation and other safety devices -- this is a voluntary tour, but should be considered mandatory as it will help you with your insurance agent -- as will the local harbormaster.

Even the owner of your marina or your boat-launching ramp may want to inspect your craft to ensure that your boat meets at least the minimums. The minimums include:

A flotation device for every person aboardProper life vests of jackets for your passengersProper fueling and exhaust systems for your craftProper waste treatment systems for your craftProper signaling devices for your craft; those devices can include radios and other signaling devices including flaresLife raft or some sort of multi-person flotation device; if possible it should also take into account the weather into which you will be sailing, although having an all-season raft with proper safety clothing (anti-exposure gear), while more expensive, is more than likely to be a lifesaver if you are cruising or sailing the the fall

In general, you will also find that states will require higher coverage policies the larger your craft. It only stands to reason that the coverage for a 25-foot day sailer wont be the same as the coverage for a 75- or 80-footer. As a craft lengthens, you may also be required to tether a powered tender behind your craft of you may find that you will have to store a powered craft on a set of davits, if your craft is equipped with them. If not, you will likely have to find deck space on which you can tie down a tender. You might even think of storing a personal water craft if you are going to be cruising near enough shore so that someone can summon help if your other means fail.

How much will insurance cost you? On doing a quick survey we found that pricing ranged from a low of $300 to a high of $406 per year on craft of less than 35 feet. The best way to nail down your exact cost is to contact your insurance agent and discuss your needs with the firm. Make sure your agent does have tour of your boat or you give the firm a good set of digital prints of what you have aboard your boat as well as of the craft itself.