Boat and Personal Watercraft Insurance FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions for Boat and Personal Watercraft Insurance
What types of boats can GEICO help me insure?
We can help you get an insurance policy for most types of boats and personal watercrafts.
Find your style of boat from the following list:
- Bow Rider - Open bow type of boat with seating.
- Center Consoles - Single decked open hull boats with the operator's console (helm) in the center of the boat. Work great as fishing boats. Most are powered by outboard motors. (18 - 28 feet).
- Cuddy Cabin - A boat that contains a small cabin in the bow (18 - 28 feet).
- Walk Around - Cross between center console and a cuddy boat. Generally used as fishing boats and they contain a small cabin. (18 - 28 feet).
- Ski Boats - Flat bottom, high torque boats designed to safely tow water skiers. Powered by high-horsepower engines.
- Pontoon - Flat hulls that sit on pontoons. Commonly referred to as "party boats" (16 - 30 feet).
- Jet Boats - Propelled by a jet of water ejected from the back of the craft. Come in a variety of sizes.
- Personal Watercraft - A watercraft used for recreational purposes that you sit or stand on. Often referred to as WaveRunner, Jet Ski or Sea Doo, which are actually brand names.
- Sailboats - A boat propelled partially or entirely by sails. Can be used for racing, sport or just cruising.
- Bass Boats - A small, flat-bottom boat used primarily for bass fishing in inland waters. They are often equipped with swivel chairs for easy casting. (14 - 22 feet).
- Cruisers - Allow for longer range cruising. Typically, 25 - 40 feet with multiple cabins.
- And other fishing boats too.
Your boat model may not be shown here, but that doesn't mean we can't help you find insurance to cover it. Get a fast and free boat insurance quote to see how much you could save.
How can I buy boat insurance?
With a little planning you'll be able to get the right protection for your boat or PWC at a great price.
- Know what you need. Take a few minutes and write down the make, model, year, and other pertinent information about your boat.
- Understand the policy. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what is covered including accessories, trailers, and other equipment.
- Accessible. Only deal with a boat insurance agency that's accessible nationwide 24/7. What good is boat coverage if you can't reach an agent?
What should I try to avoid when buying a boat?
Here are some common boat buying mistakes you should know before buying a boat.
Try not to:
- Go boating, fall in love, then run to the nearest marine dealer.
- Shop at a boat show. Boat shows aren't the best place to shop for your first boat. Leave your wallet at home.
- Buy more boat than you can handle. Bigger is not always better-but it is more maintenance.
- Take it home now. Know what you're buying and the full cost of boat ownership before buying. Get quotes for boat insurance rates, storage, and other fees before making your final decision.
- Make a bad match. Boats are like people-each has a distinctive personality and character (Why do you really think they name boats?), so make sure you find the boat that meets all your needs today and tomorrow.
How much is this boat worth?
Whether you're buying a used boat, selling an existing one, or calling for a boat insurance rate, it is important to know what your boat is worth. Here are some tips to research boat prices and values:
- For newer boats, check a local dealership and compare it against similar makes and models of the same year. This can give you a rough estimate.
- There are 3 price guides commonly used to value boats: the BUC Used Price Guide, the NADA Marine Appraisal Guide, and the ABOS Marine Blue Book. The valuations are guidelines but may vary by boat.
- Classified advertisements and nationwide listings. These can be helpful resources, but keep in mind that asking price is not the same as sales price.
Please keep in mind that each of these tips will help give you an idea of cost. There are a lot of factors that can affect the value of a boat you need to consider such as how well the boat was maintained, serviced, and used.
What safety steps should I take when towing people with my PWC?
While the municipality where you jet ski will have its own rules to be observed, here are some basic safety tips.
For the Driver
Minimize distractions: Jet skiing on your own is different than towing someone. Your priority should be to pay attention to your surroundings and ensure the safety of the person you tow. Stay focused on the water ahead and don't be distracted by sightseeing, horsing around, or attempting stunts.
Don't cut corners too short: This can cause the person you're towing to be thrown from the surface of the water.
How can I prepare myself and my boat for a hurricane?
Are you a boater on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts? Hurricane season runs from June 1 - November 30, threatening US coasts from Texas to Maine. A few tips to help prepare yourself and your boat are to make a plan, be prepared, and monitor the weather.
What should be in my boat hurricane plan?
Your plan should consider your location and potential conditions while keeping these things in mind:
- Know your marina/dock/storage facility policies
- Know how you will secure your boat, at a dock or inland
- Take action 48 - 72 hours prior to the storm, or sooner
- Remove items such as outboard engines, sails, electronic equipment, etc.
- Choose a backup person that knows your plan in case you are unavailable
- Test your plan to ensure you can complete each task
What preparation for my boat can I make before a hurricane?
When hurricanes are predicted, essential supplies are in high demand. Typical supplies include duct tape, dock lines, fenders, chafe guards, and other supplies to help batten down the hatches. Try purchasing these items before hurricane season starts.
How will I know if a hurricane will affect my boat?
Stay alert for weather bulletins and be ready to act. Many weather and news apps available for smartphones have settings that allow for notifications that can alert you to any severe weather events.
How can I protect my boat in case of a hurricane?
Your best bet may be to move your boat and trailer from the water and bring them well inland to a safe location. Storing your boat in a garage could provide added protection but this is not always an option. If not, here are some tips:
- Secure the boat and trailer with heavy ropes or chains to pad eyes in pavement or solid structures; try to avoid trees
- Remove some air from the trailer's tires
- Chock the wheels with cement blocks
- Remove your outboard motor if possible and store it in a safe location
What should I do if my boat is moored in a marina and a hurricane is coming?
First, get a copy of the marina's storm plan. If your boat can't be removed from the water, ask if it can be moved to a large slip. A boat centered in an oversized slip with long lines at shallow angles to the boat will be able to rise and fall with storm surge and has less chance of chafing against the sides of the slip.
Can boat insurance help pay to move my boat before a hurricane comes?
All GEICO boat policies receive named storm haul out reimbursement. When your boat is in the path of a NOAA Named Storm (within the "cone"), you are eligible for 50% of the cost of labor, up to $1,000 to have your boat professionally hauled or prepared. We identify professionals to include marina personnel, paid captains, dock masters or marine surveyors.
When you file a claim for reimbursement, select "Hurricane Haul out" as the cause of loss.
For tips on preparing your boat and the latest information on active storms, visit BoatUS Hurricane Resources.
How can I make sure my boat is insured during a hurricane?
Many insurance companies stop sales of insurance when a hurricane or other strong storm is predicted. Start your fast and free boat insurance quote today!
What should I watch out for when buying a used boat?
Before buying any boat it's a good idea to double-check some of the more common, "bad boat," indicators. These can be difficult to spot, but knowing what to search for is half the battle. Avoid any boats with the following defects:
- Poorly constructed deck-to-hull joints. Look for water stains or signs of excess moisture. A wet interior that leads to mold, mildew, and rust are common complaints of a slow leak.
- Poorly designed structural bulkheads. Look for actual support-don't rely upon superficial appearance. Imagine windows popping out or interiors breaking due to lack of proper support.
- Poor quality materials. One of the worst culprits is very low-quality plywood used for entry-level boats. Do your homework to see what type of materials are used in the construction or repair of the boat. Marine quality plywood is expensive. Avoid low grade-materials like plywood filled with knots.
What should I think about before buying a personal watercraft (PWC)?
Before buying your first PWC, be sure to test out the different options you have. You might find that a Jet Ski is easier for you to maneuver than a WaveRunner. Be sure to consider what you'll be using the PWC for. Will you be riding with multiple people? Then you should consider a two or three-seat PWC. Will you be towing water skiers while riding your Jet Ski? If so, make sure you have the proper hook ups.
What are some tips on taking care of my personal watercraft (PWC)?
Here are some simple tips to help take care of your PWC:
- Don't run your PWC over thick weeds since this could damage your propellers
- Buy an anchor to keep your PWC in a location you know to be safe and rock-free
- Make sure to get PWC insurance coverage for your new PWC to protect yourself and your PWC
How can I help protect the environment when I'm boating?
Boaters have first-hand knowledge of how cleanliness and a few good manners can go a long way. Nothing is worse than returning to a favorite spot only to find it polluted and littered with trash. Here are a few tips to help:
- Pack up what you bring. Keep track of what you bring into the area and make sure to pack up the same amount when leaving. Even better, help the local environment by collecting any trash left behind by others.
- Carry a spill kit in case of an accident
- Avoid sensitive areas. Use designated boat ramps and stay within traffic areas. This helps reduce the impact on wildlife, erosion, and natural cycles of plants and animal life.
- Your boat policy may automatically include fuel spill and pollution liability, as well as salvage and wreck removal up to the value of the boat.
What are some safety tips for using my personal watercraft (PWC)?
Research shows most accidents, injuries, and liability claims are due to a few specific problems. Knowing how to stay safe makes it more fun for everyone.
- Follow age recommendations. Most PWC manufacturers cite 16 years of age or older as the recommended age of operators, but many states have their own ordinances. Play it safe by using the more conservative of the two ages.
- Always use a life vest or personal flotation device and the engine shut-off cord.
- Don't let others ride your PWC. Friends and family may think it looks fun but according to the National Transportation Safety Board, over 80% of PWC accidents involve untrained operators.
- Keep a safe distance. The number-one hazard associated with accidents and injuries is running into other people or objects.
- Routine inspections. Take time to personally inspect your PWC before each use.
The above is meant as general information and as general policy descriptions to help you understand the different types of coverages. These descriptions do not refer to any specific contract of insurance and they do not modify any definitions, exclusions or any other provision expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. We encourage you to speak to your insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.
Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company.