When it comes to catching fish, most anglers already know the best fishing spots, the best pole and reel combo to use, or the bait that's most appealing to their prey. But buying insurance for your fishing boat isn't so easy. When compared to buying other types of insurance, some of the differences lie in the expensive tackle often found aboard fishing boats, the need to trailer the boat to distant fishing grounds or occasionally enter an amateur tournament.
Here are five questions any angler should ask when shopping for insurance for their fishing boat:
1. The first choice: do you need an "actual cash value" or "agreed value" policy? If you have an insurance claim, actual cash value policies take depreciation into account when getting reimbursed for a loss. For example, if your 12-year old bass boat is totaled, you will be reimbursed for its actual, present day market value - not what you paid for it. However, "actual cash value" policies are generally the less expensive option.
"Agreed value" policies are generally 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. A partial loss, such as a stolen 10-year old fish finder, is replaced "new for old." However, there is no wrong or right answer in selecting one over the other - it all depends on your budget and what risk you feel comfortable with.
2. Is my fishing gear covered? Fishing gear isn't "optional" for anglers. So why do some insurance companies make you pay extra for this coverage? Any fishing boat insurance policy should automatically include some type of coverage for expensive tackle.
3. What is the fine print on towing assistance services? Like an "auto club," some fishing boat insurance policies include on-the-water or roadside assistance service. The problem is that when you need to call upon these valuable non-emergency services - such as an on-the-water gas delivery, a tow back to the launch ramp, or roadside jumpstart - it counts against you as an insurance claim.
You shouldn't be penalized when taking advantage of these services. Find an insurance company that offers them but does not require you to file an insurance claim in order to use them.
4. Where can I go? Unlike a car insurance policy that is good for every state you drive in, most boat insurance policies have what's called "cruising grounds" which limit where the policy is in force. Trailer your fishing boat outside those areas and you'll need to call your company for an "extension" to ensure coverage remains in effect.
Look for an easy to use insurance policy that doesn't put limits on where you can trailer your boat - especially if you have a smaller boat.
5. What about tournament coverage? If you'd like to try your hand at a local tournament, make sure the policy provides the liability coverage required. Another thing to think about is what happens if you've paid your entry fee but can't make the tournament because of a trailer breakdown? Look for a policy that offers some type of reimbursement for your entry fee if trailering troubles or other covered losses prevent you from getting to the starting line.
BoatU.S. Angler is a membership organization from the nation's largest association of recreational boaters whose mission is to protect the interests of boat-owning freshwater anglers, increase boating safety, provide consumer assistance and ensure fishing remains worry-free. It also offers insurance policies specifically designed to meet the needs of today's anglers with fishing boats, including coverage for accidents with non-insured boaters, medical coverage for injuries, as well as salvage costs related to the recovery of a sunk or totaled boat.
For more information, go to http://www.BoatUSAngler.com or call 866-906-0013.