If your boat is insured, you probably have a comprehensive policy similar to the Seafarer or Ancient Mariner forms from SkiSafe. These protect your boat against vandalism, collision on the water or while being towed, damage while stored, and liability protection. These are all standard perils; if your boat insurance policy doesn’t cover them, you need to shop around. It is also standard for insurance to exclude coverage for wear and tear or mechanical breakdown. This is where the difference becomes vital.
You can’t use your boat every day because of work, family obligations, the weather, and other distractions. Imagine what happens if you’re away from the boat and a raw water cooling hose ruptures or the shift cable boot cracks causing your boat to sink.
Look at this diagram of the inside of a common engine:
If the raw water cooling hose connected to the engine becomes dry, cracked, and brittle then it can suddenly burst. The same kind of thing can happen to your car, but your car won’t sink into the floor. If this happens to your boat while on the water, it may flood and cause your boat to sink. This kind of loss that results from a mechanical failure is not typically covered under a boat insurance policy, but if your policy includes coverage for consequential losses you will be covered for the damage that results from the sinking. This is especially important because it can easily happen when you are away from the boat and unable to take any protective measures.
There are two things you can do to guard against this type of loss. First, make sure that you inspect and replace your hoses in a timely fashion, or at minimum every five years. Second, when you review your policy with your boat insurance company, check if you have coverage for consequential losses. If you are not covered, ask an underwriter to discuss adding this coverage. If you already have this feature, you’re already a step ahead!