Do You Need Boat Insurance In Two States?

There’s plenty of coastlines and rivers in New Jersey to explore. But what if you want to take your boat to another state? Wouldn’t it be nice to head down to Florida in the winter to enjoy some year-round sun? Or perhaps you’d like to try some competitive sailing in Rhode Island? Maybe you’re even looking to purchase a second home in another state?

There are many reasons to take your boat to another state. In all cases, it’s important to do your research. Can you legally use your boat in another state? And if you’ve got insurance, will it cover you in other states, or will you need to take out extra coverage?

Because every state has its own laws, the answer can be quite complicated. The following guide explains everything you need to know about insuring your boat in multiple states.

Which States Do You Need Boat Insurance?

Currently, only two states legally require you to have boat insurance – Arkansas and Utah.

In Arkansas, boat insurance is required for any motorboat with an engine of over 50 HP or any personal watercraft. You cannot legally operate these types of boats in Arkansas without suitable coverage. In Utah, all motorboats and personal watercraft must be insured. You similarly cannot legally operate these boats in Utah without insurance.

While boat insurance is not mandatory in other states, it is still highly recommended. Below are just a few reasons every boat owner should consider boat insurance:

  • The average boat insurance claim is $11,000 – that’s a lot of money to pay out of your own pocket if you’re not covered.
  • Some marinas will not allow you to store your boat there unless you have insurance.
  • If you’re buying a boat on finance, many lenders may require you to take out boat insurance.

Some home insurance and personal insurance policies may include coverage for small boats, however large boats will usually require separate boat insurance. Check out our guide on insuring different types of boats for more information.

Will Boat Insurance Cover Me in Another State?

Boat insurance policies are typically highly personalized. This is because every boat is different and every owner will use their boat differently.

A basic insurance policy will probably only allow you to use your boat in the state that it has been registered. If you take out a basic boat insurance policy in New Jersey, you will usually only be covered to store and navigate that boat within New Jersey. Be wary that some insurance policies may only allow you to use your boat in rivers, while others may only allow you to use your boat in the sea.

A more bespoke insurance plan may cover you in different states. You’ll usually have to outline the specific states that you want to use your boat in. Alternatively, if you’re likely to use your boat in lots of different states, you may look into specialist coverage for all states (expect to pay a bit extra for this).

If you decide to take out basic insurance that covers you in one state, but you later decide to move to another state, you can usually notify your insurer and have your policy changed to that state. For example, if you decide to move your boat from New Jersey to Florida, your insurer may change your policy, allowing you to store and navigate your boat in Florida (you won’t be covered if you then operate it in New Jersey).

The risk factors vary from state to state, so you may find that the cost of your policy changes. If you decide to move to another state after this, you will similarly have to notify your insurer again and get this changed.

What Should You Consider When Boating in Another State?

Your insurance policy is not the only thing you should consider when taking your boat to another state. Boating laws vary across the US. While there is a certain level of reciprocity across the country, some states may not accept certain types of boating qualifications. Operating a boat in another state without the right qualification could be a criminal offense sometimes.

If you have completed a NASBLA-approved boating course, you should be able to legally operate a boat in most states. When you complete these courses, you get a boater education card with a NASBLA logo on it. It’s worth checking your boater education card to make sure that they printed this logo on it.

You can find a more comprehensive guide to boating in other states at Boat U.S. When travelling to another state, it could be a good idea to look up the individual boating laws of that state online just to be safe.

Where Can I Find the Right Boat Insurance Policy?

Some insurance providers may only offer basic boat insurance policies that allow you to only use your insurance in New Jersey. They may not even allow you to transfer your policy to another state. This is something to look out for when taking out boat insurance.

Other insurers will allow you to take out coverage for multiple states or may allow you to change your policy to another state at any time. These are the insurance policies that you should look into if you are likely to operate your boat in another state in the future.

An insurance broker will help you find the best insurer for you. Brokers do not work for one particular insurance company. They are independent agents that help link you up with the best possible insurer for your needs. This can be useful if you’re looking for a very specific insurance plan. Find out more about how an insurance broker such as John B. Wright can help you.