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The 411 on Boat Insurance

Do I Have to Have Boat Insurance?

In Florida, the quick answer is NO, however, the true answer really depends. You are not legally required to have a boat license or insurance to drive a boat in Florida. If you don’t fully own your boat, it’s common for the lender to require boat insurance during the time while you’re still paying it off. It’s wise for anyone operating a boat in Florida to have it fully insured, especially if you plan to use it for commercial purposes. Florida has busy waterways and a high incidence of hurricanes. There is a relatively high potential for damage and the annual cost of boat insurance isn’t worth leveraging your risk against the many dangers at sea.

How Are Boat Insurance Rates Calculated?

The first thing most people want to know when shopping around for insurance is how much it’s going to cost. Insurance is something you’re supposed to have but hopefully will never need to use. Boat insurance rates are calculated primarily based on the type of boat, it’s size, and what you plan to use it for. A large yacht will be quoted at a different rate than a small speed boat. If the intention is to use the boat for commercial fishing or boat tours, it will need to be insured for commercial use rather than private use. This can mean additional coverages are appropriate to fully cover your risks.

What Do I Need to Watch Out For?

Be wary if your boat insurance estimate seems too low. While it feels good to get a deal in the short term, you want to make sure that you are well insured in the case of an accident or an emergency. Not having adequate coverage is just as dangerous as not having insurance at all. A good rule of thumb for calculating the typical cost of boat insurance is to take 1.5% of the current value of the boat. For $300-$500 per year, most boats can be fully insured. Given the expenses usually associated with repairing damage to a boat or paying for personal injuries, boat insurance isn’t a bad deal. Speaking with a licensed agent will help you find the right amount of coverage for your particular vessel.

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