Many bass anglers don’t think twice about getting insurance coverage for their bass boat. When it comes to the contents on the inside, you may be surprised that it may not be covered under the regular boat insurance.
The average annual cost for insurance to cover fishing equipment is between $30 and $60 for $5,000 worth of coverage. Additional coverage may also be needed for electronics and other attached accessories like the trolling motor and shallow water anchors.
Anglers spend a lot of money in gear. It is nothing to drop $300 on a rod-and-reel combo. Considering most bass anglers have a deck full of rods plus all the lures it does not take long to hit the $5,000
Does My Bass Boat Insurance Cover the Equipment?
For most policies, the answer is no.
Traditional bass boat insurance covers the boat, outboard motor, and the trailer. In fact, some companies write a separate policy for the trailer itself or list it as an additional line item on the boat policy.
Without additional coverage as part of the boat policy, you may be out-of-luck if someone steals your equipment, you get in an accident, or you drop some combos into the water.
I was fishing a tournament at Beaver Lake in Arkansas one time when an angler walked up to me in the parking lot during weigh-in. He was fuming mad. Someone stole all his rods-and-reels right off the front deck of the boat while he was on the weigh-in stage.
Being that he was a tournament angler fishing a relatively large event, I have no doubt he had 10-15 combos laying on the boat deck when they were stolen.
If he didn’t have additional personal effects coverage, there is a good chance that he was out the total dollar amount.
Buying Personal Effects and Fishing Equipment Coverage
This additional policy is designed by most insurance agencies to cover your personal effects and actual fishing equipment while it is on the boat, being transported to the boat, or within a certain distance of the boat.
Besides your actual rods, reels, and lures, the personal effects portion of most insurance plans will cover items like life jackets, cell phones, tools, and other personal items you may have with you while fishing.
When I was calling around getting quotes from different companies, like State Farm, Allstate, Geico, and Progressive, it was a common question from the agent if the equipment that was being insured was for recreational or tournament use.
If you are a tournament bass angler, it is probably well worth the effort to notify your agent that the equipment being covered will be used in competitive events. It would be awful to have something happen at a tournament and then be denied a claim because the insurance company had it listed as recreational only.
Watercraft Equipment Coverage for Bass Boats
This is where reading your policy and talking to your agent is important.
As bass anglers, we may assume that add-ons, like the trolling motor and electronics, are covered under the main boat policy.
For some companies these items may be, but in many instances, this equipment needs to be accounted for in an additional policy for your boat coverage.
While $5,000 may cover a lot of your equipment and personal items, electronics, a trolling motor, and shallow-water anchors, can easily hit many thousands of dollars. Two 8ft Power Poles can run $4,000.
Out of all the companies that I called and talked to, only one said that attached items, like the above-mentioned trolling motor, electronics and shallow water anchors, are covered under the main boat policy. Every other company said additional line items would need to be added to the main boat coverage.
Full Replacement Coverage? or Actual Value Coverage?
This is something all anglers need to take into consideration. I went through this just recently with my bass boat insurance and ended up switching companies because of it.
When checking my former boat insurance coverage I noticed that the policy stated it would replace actual value if stolen or in an accident. That made me nervous.
I called and the agent told me, based on the age of my boat, I could expect to get about $3,000 if my rig was totaled.
My jaw dropped.
I called around and found a friend of mine that sold insurance. The company he represented offered what is called “Stated Value” coverage for boats.
In other words, I told him what a new boat, motor, and trailer would cost if mine was totaled. He wrote a policy for that amount.
I felt so much better. Now I know that if I am in an accident I will be able to replace my boat with a new one because that is the coverage I am paying for.
Like I mentioned earlier, not all carriers offer a stated value option. In fact, some agents I talked with had never even heard of such a thing – so be sure to ask.
Find an Agent Familiar with Bass Boats and Bass Fishing
When on the phone with a major national insurance company I was told that they don’t write that many boat policies and the person on the phone wasn’t sure how to answer my questions.
At that moment I knew talking with a local agent that understands the market can be your new best friend.
Call around and ask representatives from the major insurance companies what they know about boat policies – specifically bass boats or boats for the bass angler.
There was only one agent I talked to that had any idea what a shallow water anchor system, like Power Poles or Talons, even was.
This may not seem like that big of a deal when writing a policy, but if the worst-case scenario happens, you will be glad that you took the extra time and effort needed to communicate your equipment needs carefully with the agent.
No one likes to muddle through all the details of the insurance world.
Despite the unpleasantness – we need to.
A good agent can walk you through all the ins-and-outs and give you piece of mind when driving to the lake, fishing, and coming back home.
Be candid with your agent about how much you travel with the boat, the types of waters you fish, and how much gear is on the inside.
For example, if you fish the Great Lakes, you most likely need an additional rider on your policy. I have bought Great Lakes coverage in the past when fishing major tournaments on those large bodies of water.
Take a few hours each year to make sure that your coverage is up-to-date and in alignment with what you own as a bass angler.
You’ll be glad you did.
Tight lines. Be safe and make sure to encourage someone today. You never know how you may change their life forever.