You don't believe in the Loch Ness Monster, nor do you believe your friend Earl caught Jaws while deep-sea fishing off the coast of Florida-so why do most boaters think their boat insurance covers them wherever they decide to go boating? The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, a leading boat insurance group and the number one seller of personal watercraft insurance in the country, surveyed over 1,000 boat owners and discovered there are many boat insurance myths floating around out there that many accept as truth.
While Progressive can't weigh in on the Nessy debate or vouch for Earl, this survey can clear up some common misunderstandings about boat insurance. Here's a sampling of the survey findings along with the facts behind each:
Myth: The entire country is paying higher boat insurance premiums because of hurricane damage.
Survey Says: Nearly three-quarters of boaters surveyed (74 percent) mistakenly believe that everyone is paying higher premiums as a result of the damage caused by recent hurricanes.
Fact: Some boat insurers price policies based only on claims experiences in each state individually - for example, Ohio customers won't pay more for their insurance due to the hurricanes in Florida.
Myth: My boat insurance covers me anywhere I decide to use my boat.
Survey Says: More than three-quarters of boaters surveyed (76 percent) mistakenly believe their boat insurance will cover them anywhere they decide to go boating in the continental U.S.
Fact: Some insurance companies only provide coverage on the body or bodies of water where the boat is most frequently used or they limit coverage to within 100 nautical miles of a pre-determined home port. But, Progressive provides insurance coverage virtually anywhere you decide to go boating within the continental U.S. and Canada.
"Our survey shows that many boaters aren't aware of insurance coverage limitations, especially when it comes to location," said Dominic Mediate, boat product manager, Progressive. "Some boat insurers define navigation limits on a policy, so it's important for all boaters to clarify this with their insurance companies, especially before they go on any long fishing trips far from home."
Myth: If I bundle my insurance policies, I'll always get a cheaper boat insurance rate.
Survey Says: Nearly half of boaters surveyed (45 percent) mistakenly believe they will always get a better boat insurance rate if they buy their policy from the same company that insures their home, car, etc.
Fact: Just because a boater buys more than one product from the same insurance company doesn't always mean they are getting the best rate available. In many cases there are savings to be had by shopping around and combining policies from different "best-in-class" insurance companies.
Myth: If I add my boat to my homeowners policy I will get the same protection that I would if I purchase a stand-alone boat insurance policy.
Survey Says: One-third of boaters surveyed (33 percent) mistakenly believe they would be covered in specific boating related claims situations by adding their boat as an endorsement on their homeowners policy - meaning the boat has been listed as an asset, the same way someone would add jewelry or other personal items.
Fact: A boat is a big investment for most people and, the fact is, there's a lot of protection available to boaters from specialty boat insurers that a boater can't get with a standard homeowners policy endorsement.
"A day out on the water is something boaters look forward to," said Mediate. "Insurance on the other hand can be difficult to understand and confusing, especially with all the myths floating around. So it's not surprising that many boaters go for convenience and purchase a boat endorsement on their homeowners policy, believing it offers more complete protection than it actually does."
Progressive has been insuring boaters for more than 20 years, offering competitive rates for a wide range of boat types and providing specialized boat coverages like:
Disappearing Deductibles-at each claim-free renewal, Progressive decreases the customer's deductible by 25 percent;
Fishing Equipment and/or Personal Effects Replacement Cost Coverage-covers the loss of or damage to fishing equipment or personal items on your boat; Emergency Towing and Labor Coverage-provides reimbursement for on-water towing and labor costs in the event a customer's boat becomes disabled on the water; Total Loss Replacement-Progressive will buy a brand new boat of similar make and quality if a customer's boat is totaled within the first model year; and 24/7 Claims Service - Boaters can report a claim any time of the day or night and receive knowledgeable service from Progressive's boat claims representatives who receive intensive specialized claims training at its claims training center.
"When you buy boat insurance you need to understand all of the coverages available to you," said Mediate. "If your boat is stolen, if you get into an accident or if your boat's contents are lost or damaged, you want to be sure you're adequately protected. We want boaters to be better informed so they can make the best insurance decisions possible to protect their prized possessions."
For more information on Progressive Boat insurance, please visit www.watercraft.progressive.com.