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Common Boat Insurance Exclusions

If you own a boat, as many Floridians do, it is critical to have insurance. But just because you have insurance does not mean that you are automatically covered for every incident. Many boat insurance policies have exclusions, which just means that if certain conditions are met, you will not be covered for damages despite having an insurance policy.

Read on to learn what some of these common boat insurance exclusions are. Then, make sure to review your own policy to ensure that you are covered.

Damage Caused by Animals

Nope–they are not referring to the party animals that you take out on your boat. This is in reference to actual animals. Imagine being out on your boat and a majestic dolphin swims alongside you. Now imagine if a group of dolphins decides to push against your boat. At a few hundred pounds each, dolphins can cause substantial damage to your boat.

Without supplemental coverage, you may not be covered. While someone in Indiana would not have to worry about this, Floridians–especially Floridians in certain parts of the state–should take caution about their policies.

Damage Outside a Certain Area

Most policyholders assume that if they are covered, they are covered no matter what. What difference does it make, a policyholder may wonder, if they operate a boat in one part of Florida or another? But many boat insurance policies have provisions restricting where the boat can be operated, limiting the policy to a particular geographical area.

This is because the insurance provider only wants to provide coverage in spaces with a certain level of risk. Be sure to review the policy before taking a boat that you typically operate in coastal waters into inland waterways.


Water and mold -– they kind of just go together. They can also be a common problem with boats. But just because mold can be common does not mean that it is automatically covered under an insurance policy. Boat owners are required to regularly clean and dry off their boats in order to prevent mold.

Since mold can largely be prevented through maintenance, getting rid of mold is often not covered. However, if the mold was the result of something else–perhaps a collision caused damage which then led to the mold growth–it could be covered. 

Defective Equipment

A boat owner has a duty to maintain the boat and must replace any equipment the owner knows to be defective. However, sometimes equipment fails due to being defective without an owner knowing about it. Still, you might not be totally covered.

For instance, what if the boat malfunctions and is unable to dodge an incoming hazard? The boat could sustain serious damage. While the insurance policy may cover the damage that has resulted from the defective part, it may not cover the cost of replacing the defective part itself.

Wear and Tear

Boats–especially without proper maintenance–can deteriorate quickly due to exposure to the elements. While that is unfortunate, that is not the responsibility of the insurance provider. For instance, saltwater can really take a toll on a boat’s exterior. Yet, it is almost never covered. Owners must wash off their boats to prevent this damage.

Final Thoughts From Our Boat Insurance Attorneys

It is always better to be safe than sorry. Review your insurance policies and, if in doubt, contact our boat insurance attorneys to review your coverage before tragedy strikes.