Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Boats and Personal Watercraft?

Happy father and son wear life jackets while riding on Jet Ski covered by personal watercraft insurance through Matic.

When the cold, winter months begin to fade, warm weather can feel like a welcome change. It’s also a popular time to hit the beach and enjoy some water sports. Whether you’re jumping on a boat, Jet Ski, or other personal watercraft, you’ll want to make sure your insurance has your back if something unexpected happens. You may be wondering if your homeowners insurance policy covers boats. The short answer is yes — but it’s usually pretty limited, so you’ll probably want to explore additional coverage. Here’s what you need to know.

Homeowners insurance and boats

In 2021, recreational boating accidents caused over 2,600 injuries and roughly $67.5 million in property damage, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Coast Guard. Most homeowners insurance policies extend some coverage to small boats, but it’s usually minimal. 

Your boat’s size and engine horsepower will likely determine your level of coverage. Most insurers won’t cover boats with horsepower that exceeds 25 miles per hour. Liability coverage usually isn’t included, but it can be added to a homeowners insurance policy as an endorsement.

It’s worth noting that every insurance company and policy are different. You’ll want to read the fine print to clarify your coverage. With that said, boat coverage within a homeowners insurance policy is generally limited to around $1,000 or 10% of the home’s insured value. For adequate coverage, boat owners might need a standalone boat insurance policy.

If you’re in the market for homeowners insurance, you probably have a lot of questions. Read about 8 types of homeowners insurance policies here »

Understanding boat insurance

Boat insurance is exactly what it sounds like. Most policies protect against physical damage to the boat, property damage, theft, and medical payments if necessary, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Each category usually has its own deductible. Some insurers provide extra coverage for boat accessories and trailers.

According to the National Boat Owners Association, there are three main types of boat insurance:

  • Agreed value policies: If there is a total loss, the insurer will pay out whatever amount is stated in the policy. In the event of a partial loss, damage is paid for on a replacement-cost basis (minus your deductible). Physical depreciation usually isn’t factored into the equation.
  • Actual cash value policies: This kind of policy generally costs less than an agreed value policy, but you can also expect less coverage. If there’s a total loss, coverage extends up to the boat’s current market value. That means depreciation and the boat’s condition both come into play. As for partial losses, payments are typically reduced based on depreciation. Deductibles also apply.
  • Total replacement value policies: This kind of policy will replace your boat with a similar make and model if there’s a total loss. You can purchase it when the boat is new, and the policy will typically expire within two to three years.

Covering other watercraft

The term personal watercraft usually refers to small, motorized vessels that can hold one or two people. Things like Jet Skis and WaveRunners fall into this category. Homeowners insurance policies generally don’t cover personal watercraft. Policies that do aren’t known for providing great coverage. 

Personal watercraft insurance is a separate policy that kicks in if you or someone else get hurt in an accident. Liability coverage, which may cover legal costs if you’re sued, is also standard. You can also expect property damage coverage. Some personal watercraft insurance policies cover theft, towing, and water sports liability. Similar to boat insurance, you can purchase additional coverage for accessories and trailers.

Insurance is one of those things you purchase with the hope that you’ll never need it. Life is unpredictable, on the water and at home. At Matic, we believe that shopping around for homeowners insurance should be fast and easy. That’s why we offer a simple way to compare quotes from top-rated insurers.

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This Blog/Vlog/Website is made available by Matic Insurance Services, Inc. for educational and informational purposes only. Matic makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of the information contained herein. Insurance products and services described may not be offered in all states. Eligibility for insurance will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time. A Matic Insurance Agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.