New boat sales are on the rise. How can you make sure your boat insurance customers have the proper coverage? Here are a few questions to ask.
Recreational boating is one of the most popular U.S. pastimes. 2020 new boat sales were 12% higher than 2019, per a National Marine Manufacturer's Association (NMMA) press release, and 2021 is likely to be another record-setting year. The NMMA also reports that 1 in 10 U.S. households owns a watercraft.
Here are five questions to ask your boat customers:
1) What equipment do you have on your boat? There are three different types of equipment to consider when insuring watercraft:
- Attached equipment. This is aftermarket equipment that is permanently mounted, like fish finders, wakeboard racks, LED lights or sound systems. Generally, you'll include permanently attached equipment in the hull value.
- Unattached equipment. These are items that aren't affixed to the boat, but are used exclusively with the boat, like oars, boat cover, water skis and fenders. Every boat will have unattached equipment, so you'll want to ensure the policy you write has adequate coverage for these items.
- Personal contents. These are items like clothing, a portable grill or a cell phone. For most customers, it won't amount to much on any given trip, but make sure they have adequate protection for personal items to avoid filing a claim on their homeowners policy.
2) How much do you want the carrier to pay you if your boat is stolen or destroyed? New watercraft depreciate rapidly, but they hold value well over time. While actual cash value coverage is slightly less expensive, the settlement check will likely be disappointing. Offering agreed value coverage ensures your customer could buy another watercraft in the event of a total loss.
3) Where do you use your boat? Many boaters think liability is limited to medical injuries. However, one of the largest liability exposures is wreckage removal and fuel spill liability.
If your customer's boat sinks, they are required to raise the boat and remediate any oil or fuel leakage. The cost can be staggering, especially in deep lakes or the ocean. Many policies have an internal limit of $50,000 and it is likely not enough, leaving your customer with a large bill to pay out of pocket.
4) Will you trailer your boat? Per the NMMA, 95% of boats are under 27 feet, which means they're easily trailerable. Auto roadside assistance is for covered autos only. If the vehicle towing the boat breaks down, the tow company will leave the boat and trailer on the side of the road. Make sure you add roadside assistance to the boat policy to avoid a bad experience.
5) How do you use your boat? Who else uses your boat? Boat owners sometimes have unusual exposures, like having co-owners, renting the boat out, or using it commercially as a fishing guide. These exposures can impact whether a boat is eligible for coverage with your carrier, so it's important to flesh out any unusual exposures that may exist.
With your independent agent superpowers of ease, choice and advice, you're ideally suited to help boaters fully protect their fun in the sun!