How Much Does Liveaboard Sailboat Insurance Cost?

So, in the majority of circumstances liveaboard sailboat insurance will cost significantly less than what you would pay for car, home, or even for renter’s insurance.

Here, we will go through a breakdown of all things liveaboard sailboat insurance – from the average cost of sailboat insurance, alongside different things you need to consider the cost of, along with the best ways to find an affordable plan that suits you.

We will also give an outline of lots of ways that you can improve your sailboat so that it will qualify for discounts.

The Short Answer

Well, the quick and simple answer to this question is that liveaboard sailboat insurance typically costs between $200 and $500 per year. Naturally, these premiums do vary based on how much coverage you require for your sailboat.

Additionally, there are other factors that come into play when the cost of insurance is concerned such as the value of your boat and also some personal factors will come into play such as accident history.

Do You Have to Get Sailboat Insurance?

A question that a lot of people do not know the answer to is whether or not they legally have to insure their sailboat (see also ‘Small Sailboats: What Are They Called?‘).

Here’s the thing, when you think of this in terms of car insurance, this might lead you to question whether your sailboat is in this same realm – do you have to have insurance on your sailboat to be able to operate it? Well, we can confirm that you actually do not have to have insurance in order to possess or in order to operate a sailboat.

Having said this, we are not giving any kind of green flag to not get sailboat insurance. Of course, if you own a sailboat then purchasing insurance is the most responsible thing that you can do.

Is There a Difference Between Liveaboard and Standard Sailboat Insurance?

This is definitely a frequently asked question when it comes to sailboat insurance. We can give you the generalization that no, there is not a substantial difference between liveaboard sailboat insurance and standard sailboat insurance.

However, it might be the case that some insurance companies have extra coverage requirements for people who decide to use their sailboat as their primary residence. 

You might be wondering why this is, and the answer is pretty straightforward. This is mainly due to the fact that liveaboards spend a lot more time using their boats, just in terms of secondary sailboat owners.

When you come to the point of choosing the right insurance plan for you then you need to make sure that you speak to an agent in order to determine the insurance company’s precise definition of usage.

This will just help to save you time and money in the long run, because in some insurance plans you may only need to disclose how regularly you intend on actually sailing and using the boat. 

Additionally, there are some insurance companies that do not need you to give any kind of outline of how you plan on using the sailboat. So in these cases, you should not pick up on any differences in the cost of the insurance or in the actual insurance coverage amounts.

Should You Consider Purchasing Liveaboard Sailboat Insurance?

Here’s the thing, lots of sailors do wonder if it is actually beneficial to them to invest in sailboat insurance. This is a great question to ask because sailboat owners take lots of different approaches to insurance. A lot of the time, sailboat owners are pretty relaxed about getting any kind of insurance, some might even call this approach pretty careless.

It is safe to say that the chances of a sailboat getting into a major and serious accident are fairly slim. Having said that, if a sailboat does get into any kind of accident then it can actually incur a lot of expensive damage – and you will have to pay out a lot of money to get it repaired.

We do not really want to go into the details of the cost that you could incur if someone gets injured in this accident, but let’s just say that the cost would increase pretty drastically. 

If you are wondering about what the deal is with insuring boats that barely leave the marina, then we will be the first ones to inform you that sailboat insurance for essentially stationary sailboats is just as important.

This is especially important for liveaboard sailboats. The first and most important reason as to why this is the case is that this will give you cover if another boat ends up damaging your sailboat.

If you are the victim of a sailboat hit and run (people can be dishonest on the road as well as at sea) then you will not be liable for dealing with the damages that they have caused to your sailboat.

On the whole, it is pretty clear that sailboat insurance is a pretty low cost and it is really worth biting the bullet and just paying these small costs to get insurance on your sailboat.

It is one of those things that is more regrettable if you do not do it, rather than if you decide to take out insurance on your sailboat. Making the decision to purchase insurance for your sailboat is a crucial part of being a responsible sailboat owner.

What are the Benefits of Buying into Liveaboard Sailboat Insurance?

This is a great question, especially when you want to take into consideration what exactly liveaboard sailboat insurance really protects you from.

We have already outlined how sailboat insurance is a great way to give your sailboat that extra protection, and how sailboat insurance will allow you to cover yourself from any kind of financial liability in the event of your boat being in an accident.

Well, as every sailboat owner knows – and just any human being in general – accidents are not the only thing that you should worry about when it comes to your possessions and your property.

Another thing that liveaboard sailboat insurance can protect you from is damage to your boat by a storm. Your boat is your home, and you would want to do the most that you can to protect it from storm damage reparation costs, in the same way that you would want to insure your home or your car for this reason. 

Another important aspect to consider when choosing the insurance that best suits your sailboat is your location. It is true that coverage for storm damage is not necessary if you live in, say, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

In these kinds of locations the weather tends to be pretty mild, so making sure that your sailboat is covered for storm damage would not be a massive priority or an expense worth your consideration.

Alternatively, locations that are prone to thunderstorms and also hurricanes – such as Florida and also the Carolinas – are where liveaboard sailboat owners should really consider purchasing extra storm coverage. We all know that a hole in your sailboat’s deck incurred by a storm surge is enough to ruin any sailboat owner’s day.

Purchasing liveaboard sailboat insurance is pretty important to consider, especially because you would be covered if an accident happened at the marina or if there was a fire on board your sailboat.

Alternatively, if a neighboring sailboat were to catch fire and then the heat were to cause your boat damage then you would be covered. Additionally, liveaboard sailboat insurance would cover you if part of the dock breaks or if a cover collapses and then in turn causes damage to your boat. 

This also works vice versa, for instance if someone else’s boat were to catch fire and then your sailboat got damaged as a result of this the you would be covered. These situations can arise through no fault of your own, so it is a good idea to invest in liveaboard sailboat insurance just to completely cover your back.

What Other Costs do you Need to take into Consideration when Buying Liveaboard Sailboat Insurance?

There are a few aspects that can contribute to the overall cost of liveaboard sailboat insurance. As a matter of fact, buying insurance for a sailboat is a lot like purchasing car insurance, although it is pretty likely that this will be significantly less expensive when you take all things into consideration.

Here’s the thing, insurance companies take a lot of different aspects of owning a sailboat into account when they issue you a quote. The first thing that an insurance company will take into consideration before issuing you a quote is the size and also the value of your sailboat.

You have to take into account that a much bigger boat will incur a larger insurance cost, whereas a smaller sailboat will incur a much smaller insurance cost.

It is important to note that the size and the value of your sailboat is not the most important factor that is taken into account when a quote is worked out.

An insurance company will also take into consideration your deductible and how much coverage you will actually need. These two factors could actually be considered to be the most influential when it comes to an insurance company determining your annual premiums. 

Insurance companies will also take your location into consideration when they are trying to work out your liveaboard sailboat insurance quote.

There are some states that have notoriously high insurance premiums, and this can be down to state regulation and also the analysis breakdown of how often sailboat owners get into accidents and damage their boats in the area.

There are lots of different parts of the States that are known for heavy boat traffic, and if you combine this with a proclivity for pretty bad weather, you will probably find that the insurance premiums are a lot steeper.

The last aspect that an insurance company will take into consideration before giving you a quote is your personal history and how often you plan on using your sailboat.

As we mentioned earlier, having a history of accidents can have a negative impact on you being able to come across an insurance plan that is affordable and within your price range.

What is the Average Cost of Sailboat Insurance Plans?

So, the cost of liveaboard sailboat insurance plans can vary pretty widely. Just to keep things as simple and as easy to understand as possible, we will base our estimates that we outline here from the typical cost of insuring an average liveaboard sailboat (see also ‘What Is The Average Price Of A Sailboat?‘).

So, the majority of people who choose to live aboard will choose sailboats that are between 25 and 45 feet in length.

Bearing this in mind, we can estimate that the average somewhat semi-experienced liveaboard sailboat owner will end up paying between $200 and $500 per year. If you want a comparative, you can take car insurance into consideration.

Sailboat insurance is actually pretty affordable compared to car insurance, but your individual boat could end up costing more to insure. This is particularly true if you find yourself sailing a lot, especially over long distances or if you find yourself sailing in hazardous areas.

Can You Reduce the Cost of your Liveaboard Sailboat Insurance?

So, when you want to start thinking about ways that you can reduce the cost of your liveaboard sailboat insurance then you can actually do this pretty easily. This is especially true if you do not plan to sail all that often, or if you do not intend on sailing very far.

The easiest way that you can work to reduce your premiums is to reduce your deductible. Think about it, the same thing applies to car insurance – most vehicles end up working in the same way.

We do have a few more suggestions for how you can reduce your liveaboard sailboat insurance too, so read on to find out more.

Consider Taking a Boater’s Safety Course

In some states, you are not required to hold a boater’s license for a sailboat. One thing we will say is that these states actually seem to dwindle in numbers each year, but it is true that you could live aboard a sailboat and you may have never been licensed.

In fact, there are a lot of insurance companies that can offer discounts on your quote if you take a boater’s safety course, so this is something that is definitely worth thinking about.

Consider Purchasing a Newer Boat

Insurance companies can also give you discounts on your quotes for newer boats. Having said this, you really do need to weigh up what will suit your financial situation best.

Newer boats will ultimately be more expensive than older boats, but an insurance premium for a newer boat will not be as expensive as an insurance premium for an older boat.

Essentially, this is just something that you need to weigh up yourself. There could come a point where the insurance savings that you will have from owning a newer boat will not end up making up for the additional purchasing price.

So, if you already own a newer boat then you should definitely enquire about possible discounts on your insurance.

Consider Installing Safety Systems

To keep this kind of brief, advanced safety and navigation systems will reduce the risk of an accident, and as a result of this you will find that insurance companies tend to offer discounts to people who will install these kinds of systems.

These systems include but are not limited to a radar, or fume detectors, or even automatic fire suppressors. In fact, additional safety navigation systems, such as a GPS system could also reduce your insurance rates.

Even the installation of depth finders or a smoke detector will help to bring down the cost of your insurance. 

Consider Choosing A Sailboat with a Diesel Engine

You could be wondering how having a diesel engine will end up saving you much money on an insurance premium. Well, unlike gasoline, diesel is usually not that explosive and its fumes do not prevent as much of a fire hazard.

This does only apply to vessels with an inboard engine, and there do not happen to be any widely-available diesel outboard engines. In fact, some sailboats do not have any kind of engine at all.

The thing is, explosions and gasoline fires tend to be relatively common on boats, and insurance companies are pretty clued up on this.

On the whole, liveaboard sailboat insurance can vary when cost is considered, but there are lots of factors that can impact how much you pay for your insurance. Insurance is not compulsory, but it is something that is definitely worth purchasing just because you are covered in case of any accidental damage.