With November approaching, die-hard boaters who keep their boat in the water should examine their current insurance policies to make sure they maintain full coverage. According to Jay Kay, president of marine insurer Stafford Insurance, if your policy has a standard “layup warranty”, common in the Northeast, you have agreed that the boat will not be used between the dates of November 1 and April 1. If you use the boat during the layup period and have a mishap, the policy is automatically void.
“If you think you might use your boat later or earlier than the dates specified in your policy, contact your agent, as it’s usually pretty easy and inexpensive to extend the navigation period,” says Kay.
Similarly, if your boat is only insured for use in coastal waters, or a certain area of travel, you need to stay within the boundaries outlined by your policy or you risk violating the policy warranty. For example, if your coverage only extends to “coastal waters,” you will not be covered if an accident occurs beyond the 3-mile state-waters limit (cod fishermen take note). On the plus side, it is very easy to get a rider or endorsement if you plan to occasionally travel beyond those limits. You can usually get something in writing (an email will suffice) within 24 hours of making the request.
Related reading: Boat Insurance Tips from Stafford Insurance