Make Sure You Have Boat Insurance


There’s more to readying your rig than prepping gear

Early spring is one of the few times of year there can be a lull in lake fishing. The gap starts when ice is no longer safe to walk upon. It can last a few weeks until the boat launches are free of shelf ice and vessels can be safely launched.


Although it’s frustrating not to be able to wet a line, this quiet period is a needed reprieve from being on the ice with my ice fishing schools so I can prepare for the upcoming open-water season. You can bet I’ll go through every square inch of my boat, making sure everything is rigged and ready to go. It won’t be just equipment I’m working on. I’ll also make sure all the insurance paperwork is done prior to hooking the trailer to my hitch.


Before the voyage

The year’s maiden voyage is a shakedown mission to make sure I have everything in its place. That way, future tournament trips flow flawlessly. As an angler, I have a responsibility to make sure I have the proper coverage well before that first trip.


Having the appropriate watercraft insurance goes well beyond just covering the boat, motor and trailer. It needs to envelop all my fishing gear, electronics and trailer accessories, as well. The company I insure with is Worldwide Marine Underwriters Inc. It specializes in insuring watercraft, even more so the unique vessels and gear of anglers.


Why the fuss to use an insurance company such as Worldwide Marine? Most anglers, whether professionals or weekend warriors, are grossly underinsured and don’t even realize it.


Protect what you’ve got

If you were to purchase a classic car or motorcycle, for example, I’m sure you would seek out the best insurance for the unique vehicle. More than likely, you’d get it from a company that focuses their policies on that particular means of transportation and its accessories. The same should hold true to your fishing vessel and equipment, as well.


My fishing boat and equipment are tools of my fishing trade. They’re not always understood and covered properly by insurance companies that don’t have marine specialty agents, such as Worldwide. It’s not that any of my past insurers were trying to pull a fast one on me, it’s just the basic coverage they are able to offer was not enough to cover all damages in case of a loss.


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Let’s say I was pulling my boat from my home to Matteson Marine, in Gun Lake, Michigan, to have my Mercury outboards tuned up for spring, and I was in an accident. More than likely, there would be damage to my boat, motors and trailer. What’s not understood by most anglers in a situation like this is, if they were underinsured, the damage would be more costly than ever expected until it was too late.


Overlooked expenses

There could be damage to all my boat, motors and trailer accessories. These items are the most overlooked in policies and will cost the underinsured more than they can afford to replace. Sometimes the out-of-pocket costs are so great that it’s impossible to reinstate it all. A replacement boat is no longer an option. For the average angler, this could mean fishing from shore from here on out. It might even mean the end of a fishing career for a professional angler.


My boat is accessorized with specialized tools specifically made for the boats of avid anglers. For example, my Cisco Fishing Systems rod holders are machined to tough standards to withstand a lifetime of abuse. My Smooth Moves Seat Mounts—which protect my back from injuries when rough seas suddenly build—are just a few of the components that may need to be replaced with the exact brands and models, and without any more personal expense than my deductible.


Then there’s the obvious equipment, such as my Lowrance electronics with Navionics chips in them, Fenwick rods, ABU Garcia reels, Flambeau tackle totes packed with Rapalas, Northland spinners and jigs, Daiichi and Tru-Turn hooks, as well Berkley terminal tackle and tools. The list is longer yet, and the cost of replacing it all is staggering.


Not so sure about all this? Just add up what it would cost you to replace the lures in just one tray of your tackle box and it won’t take but a few minutes to realize you could not afford to re-purchase them all at one time.


Breathe deep

The purpose of this article is not to stress you out about the “what ifs” in case of a loss or damage to your boat, motor, trailer and equipment, but to make sure you realize the insurance coverage you have on it all may not be what you think it is.


Check into it, contact an insurance company that specializes in marine coverage and make sure your rig is properly covered. Once you do, like me, you’ll take a deep breath of relief and enjoy your days on the water even more.