Drift Boat Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated: October 29, 2021

Whether you have your drift boat for a little while or you’re planning to buy your first one, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re considering boat insurance as well.

However, to familiarize yourself with boat insurance, there is some essential information that you need to keep in mind, and that’s where this article comes in handy!

Today, we’ll walk you through a brief guide with everything you need to know about drift boat insurance to answer most of the popular questions that you might have in mind. Let’s dive right in and see whether insuring your drift boat is worth the investment!

What Type of Boat is a Drift Boat?

A drift boat is a flat-bottomed boat that is relatively small and considered an evolution of the dory boat with a similar base design, which is the reason some people often use the term “dory boat” to describe a drift boat.

However, unlike the dory boat, the drift boat isn’t used in open ocean water. Instead, it’s mostly used on inland waters, such as canals, rivers, lakes, bays, etc.

The drift boat is a rowing boat, so it typically shouldn’t have an engine. It also usually has flared sides and comes in a range of variations for specific uses. Yet, it’s mainly optimized to handle smaller bodies of water.

Author Note: Today, the most common users of drift boats are anglers that use fly fishing techniques to catch various types of fish, such as trout, salmon, bass, graylings, pikes, etc.

Don’t confuse drift boats with float tubes – float tubes are inflatable watercraft usually built for only one fisherman.

Is Drift Boat Insurance Mandatory?

Buying insurance for your watercraft, whether it’s a drift boat or not, isn’t required by the law in most US states.

However, there are 3 states that currently mandate some form of insurance for boats. These states are Utah, Arkansas, and Hawaii. Both Utah and Arkansas require insurance for motor powered watercraft that are 50 Horsepower or more.

Since drift boats are rowing boats that are designed to be used without engines, these rules shouldn’t apply to you.

As for Hawaii, the insurance is only required for boats that are parked in the facilities of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR).

While boat insurance isn’t required by the law in the rest of the states, some marinas and harbors will require you to have insurance if you want to park or moor your boat.

Also, if you’re financing the purchase of the drift boat, the bank may require you to purchase insurance.

What Are the Benefits of Insuring Your Drift Boat?

A lot of people might wonder whether purchasing drift boat insurance is worth the investment. Here are some of the most prominent benefits that you’ll enjoy by having your drift boat insured:

Help you Cover Property Damage

Drift boats are subjected to various forms of damage, whether naturally or due to accidents.

Luckily, however, one of the main benefits of having drift boat insurance is that you won’t have to finance such repair costs alone.

Cover Medical Bills Related to Boat Accidents and Liabilities

Another major benefit of insuring your boat is that the insurance will also help in covering any medical bills of any injury or hospitalization that is due to a watercraft-related accident.

Author Note: Boat accidents are more common than a lot of people think and they can happen even to the most experienced boaters.

In the case that you strike another boat while fly fishing, having drift boat insurance may also help you with the liability costs, including repairs to the damages to other boats that are caused by your boat.

Offers Flexible Policies

Drift boat insurance policies are quite flexible and come in a variety of types (more on that in the following section).

Not only that, but it can also be customized so that you can cover any add-ons or gear that you use with the boat, such as:

Comes at Affordable Prices

All in all, some people believe that insuring a small boat or a boat without a motor may not be a worthy investment.

However, boat insurance costs are usually reliant on the value of the boat itself, so in the case of the drift boat, the costs won’t be that high anyway. Yet, it’ll still help you greatly with any costly repair bills.

What Are the Types of Boat Insurance Policies?

fishermen father and son

One important thing that you need to know is that boat insurance policies aren’t created equal.

In fact, there are two major types of boat insurance policies out there, which are known as “agreed upon value” and “actual cash value”.

The difference between these two depends on the way the insurance company handles the depreciation. Here’s a quick look at each one of those two:

Agreed Upon Value

The agreed upon value insurance is a type of policy where the insurance will cover the drift boat based on the value of the boat that was stated in the contract.

The main drawback of this type of insurance is that it can have a higher upfront cost that you’ll end up paying.

However, the agreed value policy makes up for that by having little to no depreciation for the loss of boat value.

Actual Cash Value

As the name suggests, this insurance policy is the type where the coverage for any partial or total loss is fully dependent on the actual cash value of the drift boat at the time of the incident that called for coverage.

This one has lower upfront costs but the coverage value will go down as the drift boat ages, which is why insurance brokers typically recommend this type of policy over the “agreed upon value” policy.

This one is ideal for those who typically sell and upgrade their drift boat models. So if you’re planning to buy your drift boat to last for several years, you should consider the “agreed upon value” over this one.

What is the Process of Insuring a Drift Boat?

Luckily, the process of insuring a drift boat is similar to any other kind of boat. Let’s outline the main steps while trying to purchase insurance for your drift boat:

  1. Start by getting a correct estimate of the value of your drift boat.
  2. Choose a suitable type of drift boat insurance.
  3. Pick your liability coverages as well as any other coverages your boat might need.
  4. Evaluate all the potential insurance providers that offer insurance on drift boats and get quotes from your shortlist
  5. Check the terms of the policy you’ve settled on
  6. Sign the contracts and other legal bindings required to purchase the insurance on the drift boat

What Does a Drift Boat Insurance Cover?

Boat insurance is pretty similar to car insurance in terms of coverage. Here are some of the aspects that are near guaranteed to be covered by most insurance policies out there:

  • Property coverage against accidents and theft, which usually applies whether the boat is in water or on land.
  • Medical bills due to any injuries that you’ve contracted during a boating accident on your drift boat.
  • Liability coverage, which covers the damages inflicted to anyone else during a drift boat accident, whether it’s an injury or damage to another boat. This also extends to legal fees in the case of lawsuits due to any problem that was covered in the liability coverage policy.

What Are the Aspects That Boat Insurance Don’t Cover?

Although drift boat insurance covers a variety of costs, there are some aspects that most insurance policies may not cover. Before purchasing drift boat insurance, you should keep them in mind. Such aspects include:

  • Faulty designs and manufacturing defects in the drift boat (usually covered by the warranty of the boat)
  • The regular wear and tear caused by regular use of the boat
  • Mold, bug, and water damage
  • Overuse, misuse, and deliberate damage of the boat

How Much Should a Drift Boat Insurance Cost You?

drift boat at sunset

The value of drift boat insurance will vary depending on a wide range of factors. So while you may not find a definitive answer to that question, you can find a good estimate for a drift boat insurance policy.

Ideally, you should expect a drift boat insurance policy to cost as little as $90 a year and up to $250 a year.

This should typically generate a liability payout of up to $50,000 a year in basic plans, but you can always opt for an upgrade if you want.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Boat Insurance

As previously mentioned, there are a variety of factors that may impact the costs of your drift boat insurance.

In the following section, we’ll take a closer look at each one of these factors and how they can affect the costs:

1. The Value of the Drift Boat

The model and value of the drift boat are one of the major determiners of the insurance policy costs.

This also includes the size of the boat and the year in which it was made as well as the number of previous owners if there are any.

The condition of the boat during the inspection is also a significant factor in the valuation of the boat, which affects the costs of insurance.

2. Certification and Training

If you’re formally certified with proper training to drive a drift boat, you should expect a lower quote when it comes to insurance costs.

Statistically speaking, a trained professional is much less likely to cause an accident and more likely to avoid an accident than a beginner who is using the drift boat for the first time.

3. Liabilities and Deductibles

Liability coverage insurance is the maximum amount of money that the insurance company will pay to cover property damage or personal injuries if the accident that caused them is your fault. The higher the liability, the more you’re going to pay for the policy.

On the other hand, a deductible is the amount of money you’ll need to pay out of your own pocket before the boat insurance plan starts to cover. The lower the deductibles in your policy, the higher the rate of the policy should be.

4. The Area Where You Use and Anchor Your Boat

The region where you boat or cruise is a key factor while determining the cost of insurance in some policies.

Drift boats are usually used in smaller bodies of water with less turbulence and risk for damage like open water. So despite being a major factor for other boats, it’s not as crucial for drift boats.

5. Good Boating Practices and Records

This one is pretty similar to having a clean driving record that doesn’t include a history of tickets or accidents.

If you’ve been certified to use a drift for a long time and you have a proven record of good boating practices, you should expect a noticeably lower premium than a rookie who is going to row their drift boat for the first time.

6. Credit Score

It’s becoming increasingly popular nowadays to use past claims and credit history to determine a suitable insurance cost for boats.

In fact, two similar boats can have completely different insurance costs depending on the credit score of each owner.

7. Extra Policies and Requirements

It goes without saying that any add-ons and extra policies should increase the rate of the premium you’ll need to pay. However, some companies excel by offering free extras and add-ons.

How to Claim a Drift Boat Insurance

In the unfortunate event that you needed to make a claim for your drift boat insurance, you’ll need to file a claim for the insurance as early as possible after the incident.

While you may not need to carry proof for your insurance, having it on you would help facilitate and speed things up.

Ideally, you visit the insurance provider website to submit the report online or call the company to speak to an adjuster.

Make sure to mention all the details of the incident to the adjuster so that they’re mentioned in the report.

Author Note: It’s always a good practice to discuss the claim process with your insurance provider while signing the contract to avoid any hiccups or inconvenience during the claim.

What Are the Best Drift Boat Insurance Providers?

There’s a variety of insurance providers in the United States with some of them operating almost exclusively on boat insurance. Here’s a quick list of the best insurance providers out there:

  • Allstate: One of the companies that offer highly affordable policies on boats
  • Markel Insurance: An excellent choice for professionals, fishermen, and fly fishing anglers
  • Foremost, Nationwide, and BoatUS: Offer a wide range of additional coverage add-ons to the basic plan
  • State Farm and United Marine Underwriters: offer a remarkably quick response for emergencies.

Important Tips While Getting Insurance for a Drift Boat

insurance documents

Now that you know more about drift boat insurance and how it can cost you, here are some vital tips that you need to keep in mind while getting your drift boat insured:

1. Do Your Research Before Getting an Insurance

Don’t settle for the first insurance provider that you come across or one recommended by a friend because what might work for them may not work for you.

Make a list of your requirements and priorities and compare each option you have to these requirements

2. Keep Discounts and Sales on Policies on Mind

Some companies offer significant sales and discounts periodically as a promotion. Others can also offer reduced rates if you have a good boating record, so keep these variables in mind while choosing.

3. Invest in Reliable Protection and Safety Gear in Your Boat

Hooking your drift boat up with some reliable protection and safety gear will help you avoid serious accidents. Not only that, but it’ll also reduce the costs of your insurance.

Additionally, completing boating and water safety courses may also grant you extra points while trying to reduce the costs of your insurance, such as the one offered by the National Association of State Boating Law Administration.

4. Consider a Hurricane-Proof Facility While Storing the Boat

If your boat is kept in a hurricane-prone area, having a hurricane-proof facility to store your drift boat can significantly reduce the rates of your insurance policy.

Author Note: To lower the rate of your insurance policy, you’ll need to provide the insurer with a plan that includes towing or rowing the boat to the facility.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! A complete guide that walks you through everything you need to know about drift boat insurance.

As you can see, insuring your boat will bring you peace of mind and protect you against any injuries or damages that might be inflicted on you or others in the case of boat accidents.

Luckily, there are multiple options to choose from while getting insurance for your boat, so make sure that you do your research and consider the previously mentioned tips in order to reduce the costs of the policy.

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