Eight tips on saving money on boat insurance

powerboatThe weather may not suggest it at the moment, but the time is near where those of us who love to get out on the water will be getting our boats in tiptop shape for the season. Now would be a good time to review your boat insurance to make sure you aren't overpaying or undercovering your yacht.

The Boat Owners Association of the U.S. offers this checklist for insurance shoppers:

1. Revisit the market to make sure the price you're paying is competitive.

2. Consider a higher deductible to reduce your premium.

3. Be honest about the value of your tub -- if it was lost, how much would insurance pay in compensation? If the answer is not much, drop to simple liability coverage.

4. Study your homeowners or renters insurance to see if your boat might be already covered in that policy.

5. Ask your insurance company if it gives a discount for graduates of approved safety courses. If they do, take the course. It could also save your life.

6. Look for boating groups such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary that you could join to enjoy their group discount.

7. If your boat spends half the year in storage, consider "port risk" insurance for that period, which covers only off-water damages.

8. Familiarize yourself with the policy provisions. Does it cover fuel spill coverage, for example? What if your fuel leak causes a dock fire? What about the cost of salvage if your boat sinks near the dock and you are required to remove it?

Do your review now, because I guarantee when spring arrives, you'll be in too much of a rush to hit the water to fiddle with insurance. And I'll be right there with you.

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