Which States Require Boat Insurance


If you are a current boat owner or are considering purchasing a boat or PWC, you will want to make sure that you’re properly protected in the event of an accident. No one likes to think about filing a claim, but some things are entirely out of our control. 

Thousands of boating accidents occur every year. While practicing safe boating helps to keep those numbers down, there is always the chance that the improbable could happen. This means that all boaters, regardless of state laws, should carry sufficient boat insurance coverage. 

State boat insurance requirements 

Most states do not require you to carry boat insurance coverage. The only states that require boat insurance are Arkansas and Utah. Here are their requirements:

  • Arkansas requires at least $50,000 of liability insurance for all boats with engines of 50 horsepower or more. 
  • Utah requires minimum coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per incident and $15,000 for property damage for boats that are powered by engines of more than 50 horsepower.

Your state’s legal requirements are not the only things to consider. If you take out a loan to purchase your boat, your bank or credit union will likely require a minimum amount of insurance. If you keep the boat at a marina or storage facility, insurance may probably be required as well.  

Additionally, boat insurance can provide you with financial protection against accidents, theft, natural disasters, personal liability, and more. For example, if you cause an accident or someone is injured on your boat, you could be found legally responsible for resulting costs - including things like medical or legal bills. A quality boat insurance policy can protect you from these types of expenses. 

What will boat insurance cover? 

Boat insurance coverage is similar to what you see in an auto insurance policy. There’s liability insurance, for instance, which provides protection if you are responsible for the bodily injury or property damage to a third party 

» MORE: Liability-Only Boat Insurance Coverage

Common types of boat insurance coverage  

There are several different types of boat insurance coverage available. It’s important to familiarize yourself with them so you can further understand your needs as a boat owner. 

  • “All-Risk” Coverage covers against all risks to your watercraft - such as fire, theft, and collision, unless specifically excluded from the policy.
  • If your boat is the subject of a covered total loss, Agreed Value Coverage will pay you the agreed value stated on the policy without any adjustment for depreciation. 
  • In contrast to Agreed Value Coverage, an Actual Cash Value policy determines the value of the boat at the time of the claim, taking depreciation into account.
  • Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability provides coverage for your liability to another person for bodily injuries or property damage arising out of the ownership of operation of your watercraft. 
  • Medical Payments coverage provides cover for a third party’s medical expenses regardless of your liability. 
  • Towing and Roadside Assistance Coverage may reimburse you for tows or service requests up to the policy limit. 

» MORE: What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Cost factors 

Several factors determine the cost of your boat insurance policy. For instance, larger boats that are capable of higher speeds will generally cost more to insure as compared to smaller and slower vessels. 

Other common cost factors can include:

  • Value of the boat
  • Age of the boat
  • How the boat is poweredHow the boat is stored
  • Owner/operator experience
  • Navigation in fresh and/or saltwater
  • And more 

Many insurers will offer discounts that can help you save on your boat insurance policy. For example, if you choose to lay-up your boat on land and not use it for a certain number of months, you may qualify for a substantial discount. 

» MORE: Winter Layup Boat Insurance Discounts

Make sure to use all the discounts available to you. This will help you get the best value for your policy. 

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