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Last updated on Jul 02, 2020

The Best Boat Insurance

Comprehensive coverage for all types of watercraft ​

How We Found the Best Boat Insurance

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28 Providers

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7 Insurance Experts

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3 Top Picks

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There are few activities as enjoyable as spending  a sunny afternoon out on the water. If you’re one of roughly 12 million registered boat owners in the U.S., you know that enjoyment is predicated on safety and understanding the risks of boating — which is where boat insurance comes in.

In this article, we’ll look at the best boat insurance companies in the U.S., assessing what each provider does best and what type of boat owners will be happiest with their coverage. We also looked at customer service and financial stability, since you want a company that can pay out on claims even after a large regional disaster.

The 4 Best Boat Insurance Companies

  • State Farm: Best customer service
  • American Family: Best for fishing boats
  • Farmers: Best package deals
  • Progressive: Best for small boats

State Farm


Best for Customer Service
State Farm
State Farm


Pros

Sky-high limits
Discounts for experience
Lots of watercraft covered

Cons

Need agent for policy info
No bundling

State Farm is one of the largest insurers in the U.S. It’s built a positive reputation on multiple coverage options, timely claims payments, and a focus on customer service. State Farms gets an A rating from the Better Business Bureau, and although J.D. Power does not specifically rate boat insurers, its overall customer satisfaction ranking index for homeowner claims is above average. 

State Farm offers an extensive range of coverages, insuring against sinking, fire, theft, storms, collision, and more. Its property coverage insurance extends to tools, skis and tow ropes, dinghies, and anchors as well as the boat, motor, and trailer themselves. There are also optional coverages for boat rental liability, fishing tournament fees, uninsured/underinsured watercraft coverage, and more.

Best For: those who value excellent customer service

Not For: those on a budget

  • AM Best: A++
  • J.D. Power: Score 4/5 Power Circles
  • Standard & Poor: AA
  • Moody’s: Aa1
  • BBB Rating: A

Further Reading:

American Family


Best for Fishing Boats
American Family
American Family


Pros

Comprehensive boat insurance
Bundling
Wide coverage margin

Cons

Lacks personalized packages

AmFam insures bass and fishing boats up to 54 feet long and with a value of up to $250K. It offers standard coverage such as physical damage, bodily injury, property damage, and medical expense coverage, along with extensive additional options. A high liability limit of $1 million means you’ll be well-covered in the event of an accident or other mishap. 

Personal effects coverage will pay to replace or repair fishing gear, fighting chairs, electronics, and SCUBA gear. Basic policies cover up to $3,000 for watercraft equipment, but it’s possible to increase that coverage as needed. The company also features emergency roadside coverage for when you’re trailering your boat, as well as on-water recovery assistance if you’re stranded on the water, which not all insurers offer.

Best For: small and mid-sized fishing boats

Not For: large commercial watercraft

  • AM Best: A
  • J.D. Power: 3/5 Power Circles
  • Standard & Poor: A
  • Moody’s: A1
  • BBB Rating: A

Further Reading:

Farmers


Best for Package Deals
Farmers
Farmers


Pros

Complete, smaller policies
Boater-oriented packages
Unique discounts

Cons

Larger limits enlist underwriters

Unlike other insurers, who write policies based on the type of boat you have, Farmers has three package options designed for the sort of boating you do and how much you want to pay. The minimalist Saver package features simple and inexpensive actual cash value coverage; the slightly more expensive Plus package includes a diminishing deductible and hurricane haul out; while the top-of-the-line Elite package offers all the bells and whistles, including coverage for boating to the Bahamas or Mexico.

Farmers also offers packages that are specifically tailored to pontoon boats, classic boats, and performance boats, and a nice range of discounts, including one if you take your boat out of the water for the winter.

Best For: tailored package deals

Not For: larger boats (over $300K in value)

  • AM Best: A
  • J.D. Power: 3/5 Power Circles
  • Standard & Poor: A
  • Moody’s: A2
  • BBB Rating: A+

Further Reading:

Progressive


Best for Small Boats
Progressive
Progressive


Progressive offers coverage for bass and fishing boats, pontoon boats, powerboats, personal watercraft, and sailboats up to 50 feet long. Unlike some other insurers, it does not require a navigation plan or marine survey, making it easier and cheaper for you to cover your watercraft. 

The company features more than the usual numbers of discounts and also offers accident forgiveness and a disappearing deductible that subtracts 25% from your deductible for every claim-free period—all the way down to $0. The company scores high on lists for good customer service and financial stability.

Best For: small boat owners

Not For: those looking for customized policies

  • AM Best: A+
  • J.D. Power: 3/5 Power Circles
  • Standard & Poor: AA
  • Moody’s: Aa
  • BBB Rating: A+

Further Reading:

How to Choose a Boat Insurance Provider  

  • Get a better rate with membership: boating organizations such as Boat U.S. or NBOA will help you find the best policy for your own circumstances, and you’ll also be able to take advantage of their extra perks and publications.
  • Get quotes from several providers. Every insurer has its own formula for determining premiums, so it pays to get quotes from a variety of sources. We suggest starting with our four recommended companies and then looking at a few regional insurers as well.
  • Choose between actual and an agreed-value policy. Actual cash value insurance will take the depreciation of your boat into account — meaning you may net considerably less on a claim than you need to purchase a new watercraft. Agreed value is when you and your insurer agree on a permanent value for your boat, and depreciation is not taken into account when you make a claim.
  • Know what boat insurance doesn’t cover. You may be surprised at what your policy doesn’t cover. Most policies, for example, won’t pay out for damage caused by wildlife, from sharks to zebra mussels. Hull corrosion is also rarely covered — unless you have an additional rider that will cover salvage and replacement of your boat.

How We Chose the Best Boat Insurance Companies

  • Strong financial outlook. We looked at organizations that rate financial security, such as AM Best, Moody’s and Standard & Poors, to ensure that our picks would be able to pay out on claims at all times — even in a large regional disaster.
  • No third-party underwriting. We also wanted insurers who service their own policies. There’s too much room for error when another underwriter gets added to the mix, and less accountability as well.
  • Available to all. Our top choices are available in all 50 states, and don’t require any sort of membership to purchase a policy. Larger, open-to-all companies frequently offer lower rates, better discounts, and a greater range of coverage options.
  • Agreed-value policies. Although actual cash value policies are often cheaper, agreed-value policies provide better coverage that’s going to result in a larger, more useful payout after a claim. All our chosen picks offer it.

Boat Insurance FAQ

About the Authors

Mary Van Keuren

Mary Van Keuren Contributor

Mary Van Keuren has been covering auto and home insurance for Reviews.com for nearly five years, and has published numerous reviews of state-specific insurance trends and how to find the best insurance deals for your money. She earned B.S. and M.A. degrees from Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. and has been writing professionally, both in print and online, for 30+ years.