Boat Insurance in New Hampshire

NH Boat InsuranceWith more than 950 lakes in the Granite State, New Hampshire boat owners have a lot to look forward to during boating season.  Throughout the spring, summer, and early fall, NH lakes are busy with people fishing, water skiing, tubing or simply enjoying the open water. However, if an accident occurs, the results could leave you more than wet, you could be left in dire financial straits.  Investing in a boat insurance policy can help protect your finances and keep you afloat.

What is boat insurance?

Operating any watercraft comes with certain understood risks, and it’s important to protect against those risks even if they’re accepted. Life vests, safety equipment, and awareness help lessen the risk of an accident occurring on the water. Boat insurance can help financially protect New Hampshire boaters if something does happen.

Boat insurance can somewhat be thought of like car insurance for watercraft. There are substantial differences between the two types of insurance, but there also are many points of similarity, such as the ability to purchase liability coverage as well as coverage for the boat itself.

Who in New Hampshire should consider purchasing watercraft insurance?

Most New Hampshire residents who have a boat or other watercraft should at least look at watercraft insurance, for its protections could be helpful. This includes owners of powerboats, jet skis, personal watercraft, and sailboats, but it also includes people who have canoes, kayaks, and dinghies.

Even though smaller boats and older boats might not cost much to replace if they’re damaged, watercraft insurance can still provide valuable liability protection should something happen. Injuries and worse are possible anytime a watercraft is used, regardless of its size.

Residents who do own larger and more expensive boats may be required to carry certain watercraft coverages. Lenders who finance or lease vessels typically stipulate that enough collision/comprehensive coverage is purchased to protect their investment in a boat.

What protections do watercraft policies offer boaters?

The similarities and differences between watercraft and auto policies most obviously show up in coverages. 

Some of the coverages that are commonly found in the two policies include:

  • Collision Coverage, which might cover damage that an insured vessel sustains during an accident
  • Comprehensive Coverage, which might cover damage that a vessel sustains during non-accident events
  • Medical Payments Coverage, which might cover injuries and death to people on an insured vessel
  • Property Damage Liability Coverage, which might cover damage to other vessels, docks, or property
  • Bodily Liability Coverage, which might cover injuries and death of people not on an insured vessel 

Some coverages that are more specific to boating policies include:

  • Coverage for towing to a harbor, marina, dock, or launch
  • Coverage for recovering a sunken vessel
  • Coverage for fishing tackle kept on a vessel
  • Coverage for sports gear kept on a vessel
  • Coverage for safety gear on a vessel

For more details on boating-specific and other coverages, boaters should speak with an insurance agent who specializes in these policies. A specialized agent will be familiar with the nuances of each coverage.

Does homeowners insurance cover boats?

Whether homeowners insurance extends coverage to boats depends on the boat in question and the policy. Some homeowners policies do provide coverage for smaller and/or slower vessels, although not all do. 

When a homeowners policy does cover boats, the protection afforded can be limited in both what vessels are covered and what limits are in place. These policies often only cover smaller boats (e.g. possibly canoes, kayaks, dinghies and one-person sailboats), and short powerboats with low horsepower (e.g. perhaps under 50 hp). Any protection against damage could be limited so that it’s much less than a boat’s value.

A knowledgeable insurance agent can help residents check their homeowners' policy to see whether it does extend coverage to their boat. If no or insufficient coverage is provided, an agent can also assist with finding a more robust watercraft policy.

How much are premiums for boat policies?

Boat policy premiums vary, just like car insurance. Boaters can often save on their premiums by bundling policies, carrying certain equipment on their vessel, and remaining claims-free. 

The main factors that impact premium include:
  • Type of watercraft
  • Value of watercraft
  • Size and speed of watercraft
  • Driving history of operators
  • Location of usage (inland, coastal, international waters, etc.)

The easiest way to find out how much insuring a particular boat will cost is to compare policies with an independent insurance agent. Independent agents are able to compare policies from various insurance companies, so they can see what various insurers will charge for a given set of protections.

How can residents of New Hampshire get boat insurance?

If you have a boat to insure, contact the independent insurance agents at HPM Insurance. Our New Hampshire agents have worked with many boat owners in the state, and we’re ready to assist you with finding a boat insurance policy.