10 Best Boat Insurance Companies of 2023

Insuring your boat is essential to protect your investment in the event of damage, theft, or liability claims. With so many providers to choose from, it can be challenging to find the right boat insurance company for your needs and budget.

Discover the ultimate guide to the 10 Best Boat Insurance Companies of 2023. This in-depth review assesses providers based on crucial factors such as financial strength, coverage options, cost-effectiveness, available discounts, claims processing ease, and overall customer satisfaction. Navigate through this article to uncover the ideal insurance partner that will ensure optimal protection for your cherished watercraft.

Best Boat Insurance Companies
Best Boat Insurance Companies

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Before diving into the top boat insurers, let’s look at what core protections a standard boat policy provides. Key coverages include:

Hull Coverage – This covers damage to the physical boat itself including the hull, deck, cabin, and fixtures like electronics. Payment depends on whether you choose an agreed/stated value policy or actual cash value. Hull coverage typically ranges from $1,000 to $300,000 or more.

Liability Coverage – Protects you in case an accident with your boat causes bodily injury or property damage. It covers legal costs up to the limit selected, often $100,000 to $500,000 or higher. This coverage is required in most states.

Medical Payments – Covers medical expenses for passengers injured on your watercraft regardless of fault. Lower limits around $1,000 to $5,000 are common.

Uninsured Boater – Provides coverage if an at-fault boater lacks proper liability insurance. This protects you if involved in an accident with an irresponsible owner.

Trailer Coverage – Insures your boat trailer against theft or damage. This may be included or require a separate policy.

Personal Effects Coverage – Provides limited protection for items stolen from the boat like fishing rods, watersports gear, laptops, and cell phones.

Standard policies also cover wreck removal if your boat sinks or is damaged. Towing and on-water assistance are generally included if your boat becomes disabled.

Additional coverages like emergency transportation, on-water towing of disabled boats, liability umbrellas, boat subs, fishing equipment, and accessories like GPS units may also be available. Carefully review the need to customize protection.

Who Needs Boat Insurance?

Boat insurance is required in most states if the vessel has an engine for propulsion. Common boats needing coverage include:

  • Motorboats
  • Jet skis
  • Sailboats
  • Fishing boats
  • Pontoons
  • Inflatables with motors

Even non-motorized boats like kayaks and canoes may benefit from liability coverage. Boat financing companies will also require insurance to protect their interest.

10 Best Boat Insurance Companies

Now let’s review the top 10 highly rated boat insurers based on policy offerings, financial strength, customer service, and costs.

1. Progressive

Progressive is one of the largest auto insurance providers in the United States, serving over 10 million policyholders. Founded in 1937, Progressive has expanded to become a leading insurer for boat owners as well, with comprehensive policies available in all states. Progressive is rated A+ by AM Best and earns high marks for customer service.


  • Agreed value and actual cash value options
  • On-water towing and emergency expense coverage
  • Fuel spill liability protection
  • Broad eligibility including high-performance boats
  • Policies start at just $160 per year
  • Discounts for claim-free boating, combining auto and boat, and more

Customer Satisfaction: 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 130+ reviews

With competitive pricing and strong coverage options, Progressive is one of the leading boat insurance providers for all types of watercraft.

2. Geico

GEICO is the second largest private auto insurer in the U.S. with over 18 million policyholders. Founded in 1936, GEICO provides tailored insurance for autos, homeowners, renters, and boats. With an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best, GEICO has the resources to handle over 15 million claims each year. Expert agents can customize boat coverage.


  • Agreed value and actual cash value options
  • Total loss replacement for newer boats
  • On-water towing, fuel spill, and medical payments
  • Salvage removal and waiver of depreciation
  • Bundle discounts when adding a boat to an auto policy

Customer Satisfaction: 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 600+ reviews

Geico offers comprehensive boat protection with excellent pricing for customers who also bundle other policies.

3. Nationwide

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Nationwide is one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world with over $2 billion in marine premiums. Offering auto, home, and boat insurance, Nationwide’s A+ rating from A.M. Best highlights its strong capital position and steady performance. Customers benefit from responsive claims service and policies tailored for each boat. Coverage highlights include:

  • Agreed value, replacement cost, and stated amount policies
  • On-water towing, emergency expense reimbursement
  • Pet injury protection
  • The equipment floater covers fishing gear, electronics, and more
  • Salvage and debris removal
  • Discount for combining auto and boat

Customer Satisfaction: 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 100+ reviews

Nationwide is one of the largest boat insurers with comprehensive policies and strong financials.

4. State Farm

State Farm is the #1 boat insurer in the United States, insuring over 4 million watercraft. Founded in 1922, State Farm has achieved success through quality products, customer service, and intelligent local agents. With specialty coverage options and high marks for claims handling, State Farm is a leading choice for boat owners.

Policy Highlights:

  • Replacement cost, stated value, and actual cash value options
  • New boat replacement for vessels less than one-year-old
  • Personal effects coverage for items stolen from the boat
  • On-water towing and roadside assistance
  • Transferable loyalty discounts from State Farm auto policies

Customer Satisfaction: 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 130+ reviews

In addition to great coverage, State Farm’s strong financial ratings and local agents make it a top choice.

5. BoatUS

For over 50 years, BoatUS has offered dedicated insurance protection for boat owners. Available nationwide, BoatUS policies are tailored for a variety of vessels from fishing boats to yachts. As the nation’s largest boating association, BoatUS brings specialized knowledge and value-added benefits beyond just insurance.

Coverage Features:

  • Actual cash value and agreed amount value choices
  • Diminishing deductibles reward long-time customers
  • Boating equipment floater
  • Pet injury protection
  • 24/7 dispatch service for towing, soft ungrounding, jump starts, and fuel delivery

Customer Satisfaction: 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 500+ reviews

BoatUS is a top boat insurance choice with experience tailored to the unique needs of boat owners.

6. Allstate

Allstate is one of the most recognized insurance providers with a network of over 10,000 agents. Its broad product suite includes customized boat insurance with agreed value, replacement cost, and cash value options. Allstate’s outstanding financial strength, earning an A+ from A.M. Best, gives customers peace of mind.

Policy Highlights:

  • Broad eligibility including personal watercraft
  • Total loss replacement for new boats
  • Explore Agreed Value, Stated Value, and Actual Cash Value Options
  • On-water towing and fuel spill liability
  • Bundling discounts with auto, motorcycle, or RV insurance

Customer Satisfaction: 4.2 out of 5 stars based on 100+ reviews

Allstate boat insurance provides affordable coverage and convenience when paired with their other policies.

7. Markel

Founded in 1930, Markel provides specialty insurance products focused on niche markets like boats and yachts. Experienced marine insurance agents design tailored policies backed by Markel’s strong financial ratings, including an A from A.M. Best. Markel’s specialized expertise makes them a leading choice.

Coverage Features:

  • Agreed value or actual cash value policies
  • Damage coverage for electronics like depth finders
  • Boating supplies floater protects fishing and diving gear
  • Medical payments regardless of fault
  • On-water towing and emergency expense reimbursement

Customer Satisfaction: 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 20+ reviews

With marine expertise, Markel delivers tailored boat protection and excellent service.

8. Foremost

Specializing in recreational insurance for over 60 years, Foremost offers boat coverage options to meet unique needs. Part of Farmers Insurance, Foremost earns praise for streamlined claims handling and customer service. With fast quote turnaround and policies to fit different budgets, Foremost stands out in boat insurance.

Policy Benefits:

  • Broad policy eligibility including antique boats
  • Total loss replacement for new boats
  • Boating equipment floater protects gear
  • Fuel and wreckage removal
  • On-water towing and emergency expense reimbursement

Customer Satisfaction: 4.4 out of 5 stars based on 900+ reviews

Foremost offers versatile boat insurance with outstanding claims services.

9. American Modern

American Modern offers specialty property and casualty insurance products for individuals and businesses. Founded in 1965, they provide boat insurance across the U.S. tailored to each owner’s specific watercraft. Expert agents, strong financial ratings, and high customer satisfaction make American Modern a go-to choice.

Coverage Highlights:

  • Actual cash value and agreed amount value options
  • Medical payments regardless of fault
  • Permanently attached electronics protection
  • Boating equipment floater
  • On-water towing reimbursement

Customer Satisfaction: 4.1 out of 5 stars based on limited reviews

American Modern provides competitive rates and knowledgeable service.

10. Safeco

In business for over 85 years, Safeco sells its quality boat insurance products through independent agents. Safeco forms relationships with local agents to bring insight and customization to consumers nationwide. With policies for boats large and small, Safeco leverages its marine expertise to protect owners on the water.

Policy Features:

  • Replacement cost coverage for new boats
  • Wreckage removal, fuel spill liability, tubing, and towing
  • The electronics package covers high-end audio and video
  • Fishing gear floater protects rods, reels, and tackle
  • Discounts for insuring home and auto with Safeco

Customer Satisfaction: 4.0 out of 5 stars based on 150+ reviews

Safeco delivers quality protection at an affordable price point for boat owners.

What Impacts Your Boat Insurance Premiums?

When comparing boat insurance quotes, note that several factors affect your premium costs:

Boat Type – High-performance boats have higher rates due to speed and operating conditions. Insurers classify risk by boat types.

Hull Material – Fiberglass boats cost less than expensive materials like wood or metal.

Engine Type – Outboard motors are the cheapest to insure, followed by inboard engines. Jet drives are the most expensive.

Boat Size – Premiums incrementally increase with boat length, especially over 26 feet. Larger boats have higher repair costs.

Home Marina – Location factors into rates. Boats in hurricane zones or high theft areas cost more.

Deductible – Choosing a higher deductible reduces monthly premiums.

Experience – New boat owners pay more than those with years of safe operation.

Discount Eligibility – Bundling policies and a claims-free history lead to discounts.

Consider these aspects when obtaining quotes to find affordable coverage.

Choosing the Best Boat Insurance

With this overview of the top 10 boat insurance companies, consider these factors when selecting coverage:

  • Financial strength – Choose an established insurer with strong financial ratings. This ensures they can pay claims.
  • Discount opportunities – Find a provider offering multiple discounts like bundling or insuring with one company over many years. This helps lower premium costs.
  • Specialized expertise – Select an insurer experienced in boat and marine coverage specifically. They understand the unique risks.
  • Superior claims handling – Look for providers known for easy claims filing, quick turnaround, and fair payouts. Check customer reviews.
  • Coverage matches need – Ensure the policy has the options you require like fishing gear, wreckage removal, actual cash value, or agreed amount.
  • Premium cost – Compare quotes across insurers and look for ways to reduce rates while still getting adequate protection.

Weigh these factors against your specific needs to identify the ideal boat insurance company for protecting your vessel and finances. An independent agent can offer quotes from multiple providers to help you find the perfect fit.

How to Gain Experience to Qualify for Boat Insurance

So you finally bought your dream boat, but now you need to insure it. Insurance companies want proof that you can safely operate your vessel before issuing a policy. Here are some tips on gaining boating experience so you can qualify for insurance.

Take Safety Courses

Many organizations offer affordable or free boating safety courses both online and in-person. Some options include:

  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety classes
  • U.S. Power Squadrons seminars
  • Online courses from BoatUS, BoaterExam.com, etc.

These courses cover key information like navigational rules, right-of-way, weather, and general seamanship. Completing them shows insurers you’re serious about being a safe boater.

Crew on Other Boats

Nothing beats hands-on experience. Look for opportunities to crew on friends’ boats or volunteer to race crew with a local yacht club. The more time you can log actually operating various boats, the better.

Charter Boat Trips

Chartering a local boat yourself or booking a trip with an experienced captain are great ways to gain skills. Explain you’re working towards getting your own boat insured to see if they’ll let you take the helm or assist with sailing tasks.

Take Formal Lessons

Sign up for a sailing course through a program like the American Sailing Association or International Sailing School Association. Instruction can range from a few-day intro course to more intensive certifications. Offshore passage making courses are also available for the bluewater experience.

Practice on Small Boats

Cheaper and easier to learn on, small boats like dinghies and day sailors teach you key skills that translate to bigger vessels. Marinas often rent small boats hourly.

Document Your Experience

Carefully log details on every boat you sail – dates, boat type, location, conditions, skills practiced, etc. This record verifies your time on the water across different sailing situations.

Hire an Instructor

If you already own a boat but lack experience, hire a USCG-licensed captain or sailing instructor to teach you on your own vessel. They can endorse your skills in a short period focused on your specific boat.

Start Local

Insurers get nervous about offshore passages and long cruises. Start by getting a policy limited only to local, inland waters as you gain skills. Request to expand the geographic limits as you get more experience each year.

Call Your Insurance Carrier

Discuss your specific experience details with agents to see if they can write a special policy. Some will insure new boat owners with commitments for more training.

Gaining sailing and seamanship experience takes time, but pays off with the ability to cruise confidently and qualify for boat insurance. Combining safety courses with actual boat handling builds skills insurers want to see. Be patient, start small, and document your progress. Soon you’ll have the experience needed to set sail beyond the horizon!

See Also: Best Home Warranty Companies of August 2023

Frequently Asked Boat Insurance Questions

1. How much is boat insurance?

Average boat insurance costs range from about $200 – $500 per year based on the size, type, value, and location of your watercraft. Premiums also depend on factors like your experience level, desired coverage, and deductibles. High-value boats may cost over $2,000 per year to insure.

2. Do you have to have insurance to own a boat?

Boat insurance is not federally mandated, however many states require minimum liability coverage to legally operate a boat. Some states require documentation like a valid marine certificate. Even if not required, boat insurance is highly recommended to protect your investment.

3. What types of boats require insurance?

You need coverage for any motorized or sailboat. This includes smaller vessels like jet skis, speed boats, fishing boats, pontoons, and inflatables with motors. Canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, or other manually powered boats may not need insurance but policies can cover liability risks.

4. Does a boat trailer need separate insurance?

In most cases, liability and physical damage coverage for your boat trailer is included with your boat policy. But insurers differ, so check your policy documents. In some cases, a separate auto or homeowners policy may extend liability to the trailer but not cover physical damage.

5. What does actual cash value vs. agreed value mean?

Actual cash value pays the depreciated market value of your damaged boat. Agreed or stated value coverage pays the limit you and the insurer determined when initiating the policy. Agreed value provides better protection but costs more.

6. Can my lender require boat insurance?

If you have a loan on your boat, lenders usually require hull coverage at least equal to the outstanding loan balance. This protects their financial interest. You may also need to have the lender listed on the policy.

7. Does boat insurance cover storm damage?

Standard boat policies provide coverage for damages due to storms like lightning, hail, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Some exclusions apply, so check your policy language. Higher deductibles often apply to hurricane claims.

8. Can I insure a salvaged boat?

Yes, you can insure a salvaged or refurbished boat. However, insurers may require a marine survey detailing repairs and charge higher premiums due to the increased risk. Some may decline coverage.

9. Is a trailer included under boat insurance?

In most cases, trailer coverage is included but double-check your policy. You may need a separate auto policy if the boat insurer excludes the trailer. Make sure it’s protected either way.

10. How much liability insurance do I need?

Experts recommend at least $300,000 to $500,000 in liability coverage. Higher limits of $1 million or more are wise if you own a larger or more powerful boat that could cause greater damage in an accident.

Get a Quote From a Top Boat Insurer

Choosing quality boat insurance is essential to fully protect your investment in case of accidents, damage, or theft. Weigh coverage options, pricing, and provider ratings to select the right policy for your needs. With this list of top insurers, you can make an informed decision to cruise the waters worry-free this boating season. Speak with a knowledgeable agent to discuss your specific situation and get a personalized recommendation.

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