Boat Insurance Discounts
How Can You Save Money On your Boat Insurance?
Everyone wants to save money on their boat insurance, but many of us don’t want to compromise our insurance coverage to save on our premium. And with good reason. Bargain-basement insurance can leave you high and dry (or sunken and wet) if you wind up in an accident. Enter Boat Insurance Discounts. They won’t drop your costs to zero, but they do save you real money without giving up coverage that you may need.
For your convenience, we’ve listed the most common discounts that dozens of insurance companies offer. Not every company offers every discount. Indeed, some don’t offer any. Others will provide discounts that they don’t advertise if you ask for them. You’ve got nothing to lose by inquiring, so we highly recommend it. In many cases, the actions that these discounts incentivize will make your boat safer in the long run. That seems like a win-win to us.
Safety-Based Boat Insurance Discounts
These are discounts that range from safety features on your boat, to safety courses that can make you a more well-rounded boater.
- Boat Safety: Every company has a different list, but many offer discounts if you have some combination of these features. Some only offer a single discount, while other offer more of a discount if you have more safety systems.
- A diesel powered primary engine
- Permanently installed automatic fire extinguisher
- Fume/CO2 detector
- Alarm system (high water, fire, etc.)
- Dock assist system
- PWC braking system
- Central station monitoring system
- No strike lightning system
- Theft recovery system
- NMMA certification (certificate that indicates adherence to a set of strict quality and safety standards provided by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. It basically confirms that the vessel conforms to a higher set of standards than the legal minimum).
- Idle Assisted Steering Discount
- Some companies offer a discount on PWC insurance if your PWC has Idle-assisted steering. (We’ve said so elsewhere, but most PWCs, and all the old ones, can’t steer if you’re not on the throttle).
This isn’t exactly what happens when you try to turn without using the throttle. But it is a nice metaphor.
- Safety Course Discount
- You might be eligible for a discount if you complete and pass a boating safety course. Certain states offer courses online, while others require classroom training.
- Most insurance companies provide some form of discount for these courses. Their expectation is that boaters with safety certificates will file fewer claims.
- Most boating safety certificates are good for life and only take about 8 hours to complete. In addition, because more and more state governments require them, we consider such courses well worth your time.
- Membership in the Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron
- Only available from certain insurance companies, but it has a similar logic as the safety course discount. A little Coast Guard education and training can go a long way with insurers.
- Diesel Fuel Discount
- It’s a little extreme to call it a “safety discount”, but many insurers like diesel engines because diesel is less volatile than gasoline.
- Certain insurers will give you a small discount if you have a diesel engine, rather than a gasoline one. It probably isn’t enough to sway your boat-buying decision, but it is a nice perk.
- Original Owner
- If you’re the first person to own your boat, some companies consider that safer to insure, and will give you a boat insurance discount.
- Essentially, they assume that less will go wrong on a new boat (one wonders if such insurers have ever bought a new boat themselves).
- Insured age 55+ discount
- If the primary insured person on your policy is 55 or older, you can get a discount.
- Older boaters tend to be safer boaters, so insurance companies feel more comfortable cutting premiums for them.
That’s about as safe as you can get. He ain’t exactly approaching the sound barrier.
Record-Based Boat Insurance Discounts
These are fairly straightforward and basically stem from two records: Your boat operating record, and your car driving record.
- Safe Boater Discount
- “If you have no accidents or violations on your record for the last three years, you can significantly lower your boat insurance rate.”
- This is not an uncommon discount offer, but it is a great feature. If you have not had an accident, violation or claim, you may want to find a company that offers this discount.
- Good Driving Record Discount
- “As people drive, so do they boat.” It’s not a real statement as far as we know, but it holds true, nevertheless.
Insurance Company Boat Policy Discounts
A rather inelegantly-phrased way to describe discounts that insurers offer to reward (and incentivize) loyalty. Most insurers offer these in one form or another.
- Loyalty Discount
- When you renew after the first year, many insurers will offer you a discount to stay with them.
- Multiple Boats Discount
- If you have more than one boat, most insurers will give you a discount to insure them both with the same company.
- We recommend doing this for simplicity’s sake, so long as your insurer will cover both styles of boat (some won’t insure both a pontoon boat and a yacht, for instance).
- Multiple Policy Discount
- Similar idea to the multi-boat discount. If you insure several items with the same company, most will discount your rates somewhat.
- This only works for companies that offer multiple insurance types.
- Warning Note: The danger with insuring everything together is the possibility of rate hikes on your other items. If you insure your home, car, and boat with the same company, a boat accident might prompt the company to raise your rates on all three to mitigate their risk. It’s your choice, but it’s worth knowing the dangers.
- Payment in Full
- Many companies will offer you a discount to pay your bill in full each year, rather than in monthly installments.
- It makes their cash flow more predictable, and helps reward customer loyalty.
- Lay-up discount
- The longer your boat is out of the water, the safer your insurance company finds it. Many insurers will give you a boat insurance discount for laying up your boat for at least 3 months.
- For those of us from the Midwest, 3-months sounds closer to the boating season than it does to the lay-up season.
“And how long a boating season do you expect to have this year?”
- Prior Boat Insurance/Transfer Discount
- If you’ve had watercraft insurance for the prior year and switch to a different company, your new company may give you a discount for changing.
- It’s essentially trying to buy you away from your old insurance company with a discount on your premium. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing for insurers to do. You should just know that that’s what they’re doing.