Freedom and Boat Insurance

sunk yacht


The funny thing about boat insurance is that it really forces you to take a hard and realistic look at your cruising plans.  If you are feeling ambitious and get more coverage than you really need, you will pay for it.

I am hoping to have my new-to-us boat in about a week and a half.  My plan has changed several times, at best.  Nothing has gone quite as initially expected.  I had been hoping to close on the boat and bring her straight to Boston weeks ago.  But, now the end of the school year is drawing near, I figure, why rush?  The boat is currently down south.  Might as well enjoy the ride, take our time, and pit-stop in the Bahamas before heading up.  If I get lucky, and the plan takes another great turn, maybe I will not have to return to Boston at all (insert smiley face).

A couple of months ago, I was getting insurance quotes for strictly cruising New England waters.  Now, I am seeking unrestricted quotes.  The two prices vary greatly.  The latter, of course, being significantly higher.  I have also learned that you can get a partially unrestricted quote. Meaning, you basically have to be above Cumberland Georgia before July 15th.  Cumberland, Georgia seems to be the insurance cut off point for the East Coast.  Not sure where that came from, but that’s what it is.  The partial policy is the middle price point between the others.  So, if you have a situation like mine (living in the Northeast), essentially you have a choice of Discount insurance, Moderate and High, depending on how much freedom you want.

When you are deciding on which policy to go with, you really need to be honest with yourself and decide if you will actually cruise the grounds that you are going to pay for.  I have thought about this in depth.  Wondering if I will have the time with the work that I have to have done on the boat.  Plus, I will need a captain, and hurricane season… and so on and so forth.  Ultimately, I have decided to go for it.  I want the unrestricted policy!!!  I first decided over a year ago to purchase this boat in the spirit of Life is Short and Just Do It, so why stop now?  This is why I wanted a boat, so my kids and I can enjoy life, in a better way.  So, might as well start now.


Here are some great tips for new boat owners from robster at Cruiserforum.


Here is what you should look for (at a minimum):

1. What kind of towing/vessel assistance is covered? Many companies place a fairly low dollar limit on what they will pay for towing or assistance.

2. Make sure the agreed value of the policy is adequate for replacing your boat and possessions. All of the good companies will require a survey and that will establish the value of your boat.

3. How do they cover mechanical problems that result in other damage? I have two friends that were insured with Premier, and each had a defective part in a diesel engine fail resulting in complete damage to the engine. Premier would not pay for repairing/replacing the first guy’s engine until he hired an attorney and started a lawsuit. My second friend is still fighting them a year after his engine failed. Most yacht policies will not pay for the original failure but will pay for resulting damages. Example: a fuel injector fails, spews fuel into a piston, causing damage to the piston that damages the rest of the engine. Most yacht policies will not pay for the fuel injector but will pay to replace or rebuild the rest of the engine. Premier’s policy language requires that an accident take place (like you hit a sandbar or ran over an anchor line, etc.).

4. Protect your future and get the highest liability limits you can. If you are smart you will also have a Personal Liability Umbrella.

5. How much environmental damage coverage does your policy provide? A good yacht policy will provide somewhere north of $700,000. Your Personal Liability Umbrella will not cover environmental damages.

Did I mention you need to read your policy? 🙂


Marine insurance is tricky to sort through.  Now any other good tips?  Leave a comment and your 2 cents!!!





Freedom and Boat Insurance — 4 Comments

  1. Hey Galaxy Gavin,
    Have been following your journey. How exciting that you are so close!
    My wife and I are looking to do something very similar to you (albeit a few years out yet ). Insurance is one of the dark grey areas it seems, and when researching it has been tough to find out how much it will cost. Can you provide some guidance on what your three quotes were? Not in dollars but maybe in percentage of boat value?

    Thanks and good luck!

    • Hey Aaron,
      I totally understand. It wasn’t easy for me to jump the insurance hurdle. My highest quote was BoatUS. I was warned by other cruisers that they tend to be the highest. That quote for exclusive New England use was about $5500…YIKES!!! I got a couple other exclusive New England waters quotes, right around $2200-2600. I ended up going with an unrestricted policy, as I intend to have the boat in Florida and possibly (hopefully) the Bahamas for at least the summer. Those quotes are right around $4200-$4600 depending on how much liability, tow etc. requested. Hope that helps.

      Good Luck with your planning. Exciting stuff!!!