You've enjoyed the last few months with your spectacular boat, but all good things must come to an end. That means getting your boat prepped for its seasonal lay-up, where it'll be stored until good weather and great boating conditions make a comeback.
However, you're probably wondering why you should maintain coverage on an asset that spends several months out of the year in storage. You may even be tempted to temporarily cancel your current boat insurance policy, only to pick it back up next season. As it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons why dropping your coverage could prove to be a mistake.
The following offers a few short and long-term consequences to consider when dropping your boat insurance policy for the off-season.
Claim-Worthy Events Don't Stop When Your Policy Stops
Canceling your boat insurance during lay-up won't make claim-worthy events any less likely to happen. Anything can happen to your boat, whether it's a cold snap that causes extensive damage due to ice buildup or a theft that proves nearly impossible to track.
If any of these things happen to your boat, you'll want the inevitable repairs or replacement to be covered using your comprehensive coverage. This coverage essentially takes care of nearly every possible claim aside from a collision between boats. Without it, you could easily end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket repairs and other costs.
You'll Be on the Hook for Injuries On or Around Your Boat
Imagine someone, whether it's a boat mechanic or a curious interloper, slipping and potentially injuring themselves on your boat. This is what liability coverage is designed to protect you against. It doesn't matter whether they were supposed to be on the boat or not—without active liability coverage, you'll end up paying out of pocket for their injuries as well as their damaged property.
Restarting Coverage Could Be Harder Than You'd Think
Canceling your boat insurance during the off-season could make it harder for you to start another policy several months later. Some insurance providers even go as far as denying coverage for those who have recently terminated a policy until after a certain number of months have passed. Others may require that a vessel be previously insured or even under a current insurance policy before they'll write a new policy.
These requirements provide a powerful incentive to stick with your current boat insurance provider for the entire year. Fortunately, it shouldn't get in the way of finding better coverage at lower rates from another provider.
Financed Boats Require Year-Round Coverage
Are you still paying a note on your boat? Temporarily canceling your coverage could put your loan at risk. Most lenders require full coverage on boats and other vehicles that are being financed. Putting a temporary end to your boat insurance policy could violate the terms of your finance agreement, which could place your loan in default and jeopardize your boat.
You'll Miss Out on Discounts
Yet another disadvantage of cutting your boat insurance policy short is that you'll lose out on various discounts. These discounts are meant for long-term customers who have had their policies in effect for years. The older your policy, the better chance you'll have of benefiting from customer loyalty discounts. This can also drastically reduce what you pay each month for complete boat insurance coverage.
Your Uninsured Boat May Get the Boot
Keep in mind that some states require you to maintain liability coverage on your boat at all times, even when it's laid up for the season. Allowing your insurance coverage to lapse could also cause your boat registration to lapse along with it.
Some marinas also require any boats docked or laid up on the premises to carry liability insurance. Without it, you may have to say goodbye to your docking or storage privileges until you renew your policy.
Contact a company that offers boat insurance to learn more.