I am buying a boat, how about my insurance options?

yacht insurance washington state

Insurance Tips for New Boat Owners

You’re in the market for a boat? Congratulations! There isn’t much that beats spending time on the water, with the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and maybe a good-sized fish on your hook.

(All right, we admit it; it could be cold water running down your back, waves sloshing over the edge, and empty crab pots. But that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?) A boat is likely one of the more expensive investments in your life, right after your home and/or car(s).

So, although boat insurance isn’t mandatory, it’s important to get your ducks in a row before you launch.

Call your mates at McClain Insurance or drop us a line before you get into choppy waters, and you’ll have happy sailing (and peace of mind, too). Here are a couple of things to consider as you buy your new or used vessel:

  • Don’t rely on your homeowner’s insurance to keep your boat afloat
  • Coverage for your boat while in transit
  • Coverage for the people on your boat
  • Storing your boat at home or at a marina
  • Discounts for your boat insurance

Don’t rely on your homeowner’s insurance to keep your boat afloat

Your new 20-foot boat is parked right alongside your house and she’s your pride and joy. Unfortunately, you don’t have the space to park her in the garage, so behind the house, behind the gate will have to do.

You only bought her a couple of months ago, but you’ve already taken her out at least two dozen times. You make sure to take the gear out and the motor off every time you come back from fishing.

But last night, it was late and raining sideways, and you were glad that you and the boat had made it out of the water and home safe and sound. You’ll clean her up tonight when you get home from work.

You come home and wander outside to wash the salt off the motor. Something feels funny though. You open the latched gate to your backyard, and there’s your boat but… no motor. No kicker. No rods. No crab pots.

No fish finder. Hmm. Maybe your wife took care of it and put it all in the garage?

(Odd, she doesn’t normally get near the boat.)

But, no! Slowly it dawns on you. Somebody wandered into your backyard and stole your motor and your gear. You can’t believe it! Surely it’s insured, right? But you never got boat insurance.

Now what?

Some boat owners may assume that their boat is covered under their homeowner’s insurance policy. But in fact, there is only limited coverage ($1000-$1500 depending on the insurance company) for damage to a boat on your homeowner’s policy. And, generally, the loss must occur at your home.

Damage to your boat that occurs while you are launching the boat or when you are out on the water would not be covered by your homeowner’s policy.

And, more importantly, liability protection in the event someone is hurt or some property is damaged by your negligent operation of your boat is not covered by your homeowner’s policy (with exceptions for small boats that have an outboard motor 25 horsepower or less.)

The solution is a Boat Insurance Policy

Boat insurance not only covers damage to your boat in and out of the water, but it also provides liability protection in case you are responsible for injury to swimmers, water skiers or other boaters or damage to another boat, a dock or the environment (due to fuel spillage).

In addition, boat insurance provides no-fault medical payments coverage for accidental injuries to the passengers on your boat.

Call McClain Insurance for a hassle-free boat insurance quote. It’ll be fast and easy, and it’ll give you the peace of mind knowing that you and your boat are adequately covered.

Coverage for your boat while in transit

You’d been searching the craigslist boat ads for a while. It’s become your biggest pastime in the last few weeks. And this morning, you were restless at 5:00am, finally got up at 6:00 (on a Sunday), and checked craigslist again. And there it was: a brand new listing from midnight.

The perfect boat. The perfect price. Exactly what you were looking for. Call anytime! You called, agreed to meet the seller at 8:00am, and hit the road.

Now it’s 10:00 am and you’re on the road home with your new boat.

Suddenly, you hear a screech! Check the rearview mirror – Darn! The boat looks lopsided. Crooked.

Something’s weird. You slow down, start merging over to the shoulder, but then it happens. You hear metal scraping on the pavement and you watch as the trailer comes loose, spins out into the next lane, and come to a halt.

A semi-truck swerves unsuccessfully to avoid impact, but both your boat and the semi are damaged in the collision.

Now what?

While in transit, the liability protection on the auto insurance policy of the towing vehicle will extend to cover damage or injury to others that is done by your towed boat and/or trailer, if you are negligent.

This is a good reason to check your auto liability limits to make sure that they are adequate — damage to a large semi-trailer can be hundreds of thousands of dollars!

In the example, the damage to your boat and trailer would be covered by your Boat Insurance policy, if you had one.

That’s why it makes sense to call your insurance agents (us!) before you buy a boat —- ideally when you are still just thinking about it.

Not only can we review your auto policy and adjust your liability coverage to the new exposure of towing a trailer, but we can also comparison shop your potential rates with all of our companies so that you will have a preliminary idea, before you buy, of the cost and breadth of your boat insurance coverage.

When the day comes that you find and buy the boat, just call us to confirm the boat specs, and we can complete an application over the phone so that you can start enjoying your new boat, and safely trailer it home.

Easy boat insurance and peace of mind with McClain Insurance. That’s what we’re here for.

Coverage for the people on your boat

Guys’ weekend! You’ve agreed to take them out fishing in your new boat. You’re excited to show her off, if it wasn’t for your buddy Joe. Joe isn’t exactly known for his grace. In fact (and don’t tell him) he’s a bit of a klutz.

If there is something to spill, he spills it. If there’s something to get hurt with, he hurts himself. If there’s someone to go overboard, Joe will be it.

Unfortunately, Joe isn’t only a klutz; he’s also a dare-devil. He already mentioned that he borrowed some water-skiing gear, and will bring it along. He’d always wanted to try it out.

You swallow and let it be, hoping that just this once, nobody will get hurt, and nothing will break.

Saturday comes around and the guys are heading out. Sure enough, Joe wants to water-ski, and you don’t want to spoil the fun. So you tow him along. But you’ve never done this before, and need to find your groove as much as Joe needs to find his behind you.

Next thing you know, Joe hollers and goes under. You stop and turn around, and when you and your friends fish him out of the water, he’s broken his ankle due to your close encounter with a buoy.

A boat insurance policy will provide liability and medical payment coverage for the people that are aboard your boat, or that you are towing on water-skis, as long as you aren’t participating in a competition.

Storing your boat at a marina

Your lifetime dream has come true. You’ve bought a 26’ sailboat. Mooring your boat at a marina was always part of your dream. You love the community and the atmosphere.

Plus, it’s a safe spot for your boat.
Because of the proximity of other boats and the potential for a loss on your boat to spread to other boats or the dock, most marina are now requiring proof of at least $500,0000 liability protection before they’ll rent you moorage space.

Check with your marina for more information, and call your team at McClain Insurance for hassle-free boat insurance.

Discounts for your boat insurance

You bought your boat, and now you’re shopping for insurance. There are sure a lot of Boat Insurance companies out there! Price is a factor… but you also want to make sure you get the right protection for your boat. And what else is there to know…?

Well, a great way to start is to call your insurance agent at McClain Insurance. We specialize in all your personal insurance needs, and that includes boat insurance!

We may not win a fishing derby, but we sure know how to catch you all the discounts you deserve on your boat insurance!

There are a variety of ways to lower your boat insurance rates:

  • Make a good choice on the type of boat that you are going to buy. Choosing safety over performance will keep your rates lower.
  • Also, the value of the boat will make a difference. The higher the boat’s value, the higher the premium.
  • Many companies will offer a discount if you take and complete a boating safety course. This will help you make the right call in a critical situation.
  • Most companies also offer “new hull” discounts and “claim free” discounts.

If you’re looking to buy a boat or if you already own one, stay afloat with boat insurance from your team at McClain Insurance Services.

We’ll track down every available discount to assure that you receive the best value for your boat insurance investment. Give us a call today, or click here for an instant rate quote.


Need boat insurance? We can help! Because we represent a wide variety of insurance companies, you’ll have many options choose from. You can also get the process started online right here on our website.

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Washington State Boater Education Card

Since the passage of a new law in 2005, boating safety courses are mandatory for operators of boats with 15 or more horsepower.

Implementation of this rule will be on a staggered scale, requiring boaters aged 59 and younger to have a card by 2014. In 2011, all boaters aged 35 or younger are required to carry a Washington State Boater Education Card if they operate a boat with 15 or more horsepower.

Courses are available in a classroom, online or at home. Boaters need to pass a test and submit their application, fee and supporting paperwork to obtain the card.

Please contact Washington State Parks for more information, or simply click here.

* Please Note: Insurance policies vary from company to company and from State to State. Not every Washington State insurance policy will include every coverage described above. Be sure to read your policy and check with your insurance agent for personalized information.

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McClain Insurance Services
10410 19th Ave SE
Everett, WA 98208
(425) 379-9200
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