Virginia Boat Insurance Information

Virginia Boat Insurance Information

Virginia Boat Insurance: Watercraft Risks Protection You Need

What you’ll learn from this article:

  • What is and what is NOT covered in a standard Homeowner’s Policy for your boat
  • Understand about the different kinds of“watercraft” insurance
  • Ways to save money on boat insurance
  • Virginia Boat Insurance coverages you may need…depending on what you do with your boat
  • Virginia Boat Insurance terms explained.  What are you really getting?

If you have a Virginia homeowners insurance policy, you may have some coverage for your watercraft, but it is very, very minimal.  A typical homeowners Bass Boat Insurance | Baughman and Associates | 434-316-0030policy may pay up to $1,000 or $1500 to repair damage to your boat, but — that damage has to occur while the boat is at your home.  Although helpful (e.g., a tree falls on your boat), this is not  the kind of Virginia boat insurance coverage you really need. In addition, there may be some liability coverage, but it depends on the size of your engine — normally only outboard engines of 25 hp or less.

You could gamble and not buy insurance for your watercraft, but that’s a big gamble. You’re risking not only losing or severely damaging the boat in an accident, but possibly your other assets, if your boat causes property damage or bodily injury.

Virginia Boat Insurance Options…How to Choose

First, you need to know that there are three types of “boats.”

  • Anything less than 16 feet long is usually called “personal watercraft” by most insurers. This includes Jet Skis and Waverunners.
  • “Boats” are 16 feet to 25 feet, 11 inches.
  • Anything at least 26 feet long is classified as a “yacht.”

The Virginia watercraft insurance that you will need depends on the size and type of watercraft and how it is used.   For example, if you use your watercraft for water-skiing, make sure you get coverage for this exposure as well. (Depending on the insurance company, it may not be automatically covered.)  Generally, your Virginia Boat Insurance policy should include coverage for injuries to you and your passengers, the craft itself, property and bodily injury liability (for damage and injuries to other crafts and people) and theft. You can also get coverage for the trailer(s) you use to transport the watercraft.

Virginia Watercraft Insurance for Powerboats & Sailboats

Insurance companies generally define a “boat” as 16 to 25′ 11″ powerboats and sailboats.  Standard policies for boats cover damage to the craft, including Virginia Boat Insurance | Baughman and Associates | 434-316-0030damage caused by fire, lightning, theft, vandalism, collisions, and windstorms.  The coverage is usually for the boat itself, outboard motor(s), the boat’s trailer and personal property on the craft that is part of the normal operation of the vessel. Many insurers offer separate coverage for other personal property such as fishing or diving equipment.

Depending on the insurance company and the age of your boat, you may find a variety of claim settlement options in the event that your boat experiences a total loss.  The best coverage, usually available only on recently manufactured or newer watercraft, is “replacement cost” where the company will “replace” your loss with the same or similar new boat.  Other options include “agreed value” where you and the insurance company agree in advance what the settlement value will be in a total loss, and “actual cash value or ACV” where the insurance company will pay the fair market value of the boat at the time of the loss up to a specified rating base.

The standard Virginia boat insurance policy also provides liability coverage, which is usually offered in increments of $100,000 to as much as $1 million.  Many also offer an boat umbrella liability insurance policy that will increase the liability limits into the millions.   Most boat policies also cover medical expenses incurred by you, your family and any other passengers onboard.

Virginia Yacht Insurance

Virginia Boat Insurance | Baughman and Associates | 434-316-0030If your watercraft is 26 feet or longer, you may need to buy yacht insurance, which provides basically the same coverage as Virginia boat insurance, but the policy terms are different. Under a boat policy, coverage for damage to the craft is called “physical damage.”   Under a yacht policy, the boat is referred to as ”hull.” Liability coverage under a yacht policy carries the name “property and indemnity,” which insurance companies  abbreviate as P&I.  As with boat liability coverage, P&I is available in increments of $100,000. Depending on the size of your craft, you can buy P&I limits from $300,000 to as much as $50 million.

Although some terms are different and the coverage limits may be different, Yacht insurance coverage is basically the same as for a Boat.  There may be some differences depending on how and where used, etc….  Our Virginia boat insurance specialist can help you with the options to cover your risks properly.

The cost of your boat or yacht policy is based on a variety of factors: horsepower; how fast it moves (it can cost as much as 50 percent more to insure a speedboat than it does a sailboat of similar size); where it is to be used; age of the craft and experience of the vessel’s operator.

Virginia Boat Insurance Savings Tip:  Insurers often offer discounts of 5 to 20 percent to those boat/yacht owners who have taken an approved boating safety course.  Discounts are usually available from some insurers for newer vessels and protective devices (depth finders, ship-to-shore radios, burglar alarms). You can also save money on the policy by electing a higher deductible.

Boating is not a cheap hobby or sport and carries with it many potential risks which is the main reason why watercraft insurance is not cheap. Therefore,  it Virginia Boat Insurance | Baughman and Associates | 434-316-0030really is important to assess your risks, define the coverages you need, and to find the companies that offer the best value for the protection you need.  This task not easy and generally requires the assistance from an insurance professional who has experience and knowledge of watercraft insurance.   There are a lot of different policies and coverage options available. Some policies might be significantly cheaper than others, but they may not offer the insurance coverages you need to cover your risks.

Virginia Boat Insurance Shopping Tip:  Watercraft Insurance is a complex with many options.  Let our experience watercraft insurance specialist help you to assess your risks, define the coverages you need, and shop the Virginia Boat Insurance companies to find the best protection and value for you.

We recommend the Virginia Watercraft Guide to learn more about boating in Virginia.   

Virginia Boat Insurance | Baughman and Associates | 434-316-0030

Why Baughman and Associates?

Located in Forest, Virginia, Baughman and Associates is a full-service Independent Insurance Agency that represents many top-rated companies. We assess risks, develop strategies and shop companies to find the best coverage for the price.

Companies we represent include: Loudon Mutual, Foremost, National General, Northern Neck, State Auto, Travelers, and others.

For our clients’ convenience, our Agents are available for both policy questions and claims consultations during regular business hours.  We also operate on an appointment basis.  Have an after-hours claim or emergency?  …our Agents are available by cell.

At Baughman and Associates, we are dedicated to providing the most exceptional and timely customer service in the industry!


Baughman and Associates provides Commercial Insurance and Personal Insurance services in Virginia. Call, request a quote by email, or visit us at our office today for a free, no obligation risk assessment and quote.  Let us do the research and find the best insurance value for you.

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Al Baughman, AIM, LUTCF, is a graduate of Virginia Tech and began his insurance career in 1974. He spent his first twenty-six years with a direct writer, serving both corporate operations and local agency sales.

Al founded Baughman & Associates as an independent Agency in August 2000, as an alternative for clients with complex portfolios. Our focus is Property & Casualty, Commercial, Life, Contractors, Business Continuation and Excess & Surplus lines. Our carrier partners are rated “A” or better by AM Best. These carriers are providers of comprehensive and competitively priced products. Their Service and Claims technology and are second to none!

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