In regards to boating, the only surprises you want are unexpected whale sightings. Unfortunately, the unexpected does happen and that’s why we have boating insurance. But boating insurance doesn’t protect you from everything. To avoid getting hit with unexpected bills and expenses, you’ve got to understand your boat and your policy.
Keep policies current. That means you need to update your boat insurance policy to account for any refitting or major upgrades. If your upgrade or refit materially changes the market value of the boat, you need to upgrade your policy to reflect the replacement value of your boat. Many yacht owners are now installing high end home theater or A/V systems in their boats. These installations can cost tens of thousands of dollars and is a frequent target for thieves. If you install an A/V system and it gets stolen, you’ll get a check for the damage to the boat but not for the stolen A/V equipment, unless you get your policy adjusted to cover the new system.
Boat owners frequently ask things of their boat engines that they’d never expect their car to do. Like operate leak free even though the seals have dried out from weeks or months of misuse. Basic maintenance like changing engine oil once in a while and being sure to crank that motor up on a regular basis to keep fluids moving through the hoses and around the metal parts go a long way to reducing overall ownership costs.
Remember, boat insurance is structured differently than auto insurance. Where auto insurance is designed to pay the full replacement value of a give make and model car, with a given amount of miles, boating insurance is much more variable. There’s nothing as reliable as a Blue Book to guide boat insurance adjusters, and the market is much less liquid. As a result, documentation is even more important for boat insurance than it is for auto insurance.