BoatU.S. Angler is a membership program that's part of the nation's largest association of recreational boaters whose mission is to protect the interests of boat-owning freshwater anglers. With that in mind, it recommends that anglers should ask these five questions when shopping for insurance for their fishing boats:
1. Do you need an "actual cash value" or "agreed value" policy? If you have a claim, actual cash value policies take depreciation into account when reimbursing for a loss. For example, if your 12-year-old bass boat is totaled, you will be reimbursed for its current market value. Actual cash value policies are generally the less expensive option. On the other hand, agreed value policies are more expensive, but pay for repairs or replacement up to the value stated on the policy - except for a few specified items - regardless of the age or condition of the boat or equipment.
2. Is my fishing gear covered? Any fishing boat insurance policy should automatically include some type of coverage for expensive tackle. If the boat is trailerable and used in freshwater, you may find a policy that includes this coverage without any additional cost.
3. What is the fine print on using towing services? Some fishing boat insurance policies include on-the-water towing or roadside assistance service. The problem is that when you need to call upon these non-emergency services - such as an on-the-water gas delivery, a tow back to the launch ramp or roadside tow vehicle jumpstart - it counts against you as an insurance claim. Find an insurance company that offers them but does not require you to file an insurance claim in order to use them. You shouldn't be penalized when taking advantage of these valuable services.
4. Where can I go? Unlike car insurance that is good for every state you drive in, most boat insurance policies have what's called "cruising areas" limiting where the policy is in force. Trailer your fishing boat outside those areas and you'll need to call your insurer for an "extension" to ensure coverage remains in effect. Find an insurance policy that doesn't put limits on where you can trailer your boat.
5. What about tournament coverage? If you fish tournaments, make sure you have the liability coverage required. What if you've paid your entry fee but miss the tournament due to a breakdown while trailering? Look for a policy that offers some type of reimbursement for your entry fee if trailering troubles or other covered losses prevent you from competing.