Does Boat Insurance Cover Sinking?

Even the most seasoned, expert boater may face a situation where their boat sinks.  There are countless situations where a boat may sink for one reason or another.  Of course, like any catastrophic event, it is important to be prepared.  One of the ways to prepare for something like this is to have your boat covered by insurance.  But, will boat insurance cover a boat that has sunk?  Let’s find out if boat insurance will cover a sinking boat, as well as the situations it will not cover.

Boat Insurance and Sinking

For the most part, boat insurance will keep you covered if your boat sinks.  You will need to make sure that you have comprehensive or full boat insurance, and then you should have sinking coverage.  However, if you have liability coverage, your damage caused to your boat will not be covered.  The policy may cover some parts of the damage, such as the cost of removal, but it will not actually cover the costs of the sinking.  This is because liability boat insurance is not designed to cover costs to your boat, but to keep you protected if you cause damage to someone else’s boat.

Full boat insurance will cover this if it sinks due to peril – also known as a catastrophic source of damage.  Some perils include fire, theft, vandalism, weather, etc.  So, if one of these things causes your boat to sink, you will be covered.

However, if your boat sinks because you simply did not take care of it, your boat insurance will not cover the sinking damages.  So, it is important to make sure that you are taking good care of your boat.

You will also want to make sure that your policy does not have a distance limit, also known as a navigation limit.  If you travel in your boat past your navigation limit, you will likely not be covered.

What Causes a Boat to Sink

Obviously, no matter if boat insurance covers sinking, you will want to do your best to actually prevent your boat from going under.  If you know the common causes of sinking boats, you can take steps to keep yours afloat.  After all, some of the causes are actually preventable.

Avoiding Routine Maintenance

One of the causes of sinking ships is a lack of routine maintenance.  When you do not perform maintenance on your boat, you are likely to miss issues with it until those issues get bigger and become catastrophic.  For example, you may not notice a crack in the boat, or a worn out piece.  Properly maintaining your boat year-round will allow you to prevent not just sinking, but other major problems.

In fact, corrosion is actually the leading cause of ships sinking.  Corrosion occurs faster when your boat is not properly cared for, so make sure you are taking proper care of your boat.

Drain Plug Problems

The drain plug on your boat allows you to drain water from inside your boat after you take the boat out of the water.  However, if you forget to put your drain plug back in before putting your boat back in the water, nothing will be there to stop the water from coming back into your boat.  This will cause it to sink, and rather quickly sometimes.  Always check to make sure your boat’s drain plug is secure before putting it in the water.  Additionally, if something is actually wrong with the drain plug, it will cause your boat to sink.

Hitting Something

If you hit something – like a rock – while you are out on the boat, this can cause damage to your boat hull.  The damage is similar when you run your boat aground on the sand.  It may cause cracks or other damage that will then cause your boat to fill with water and sink.


When your boat is in the water during severe weather, the winds and rains can actually capsize your boat.  Not only that, but large waves may also cause the boat to capsize.  It is never a good idea to have your boat in the water during bad weather, no matter if you are actually in the boat or not.

Additionally, if lightning strikes a boat that is not properly grounded, it can cause damage to your boat.  Sometimes, you cannot actually see the damage, and when you put the boat in the water, it will sink.  Always make sure your boat is properly grounded and check for cracks and holes in the hull after a storm.

What Does Boat Insurance Not Cover?

As we discussed earlier, not everything is covered by boat insurance – not even all instances of sinking.  But what other instances are not covered by boat insurance?  Let’s review the most common times your boat is not covered.

Infestations and Animals

If your boat is infested by insects, animals, or mold, you will not be covered by boat insurance.  You will want to keep an eye out for infestations of all kinds.  It is not uncommon to see termite infestations, zebra mussels, or even mold.  Make sure you take good care of your boat.  This includes cleaning and drying it so that mold will not accumulate.

Similarly, if your boat is damaged by marine life, it will not be covered by your insurance.  If your boat is damaged by a shark, octopus, whale, or something else, you will need to cover the cost on your own.  That is, unless you pick up supplemental insurance coverage for these instances.

Wear and Tear

Your boat will deteriorate over time.  This happens naturally as your boat ages.  If you take good care of your boat, the wear and tear will slow down.  However, if you take your boat into saltwater, it will deteriorate faster!  Since this is a natural occurrence and you are expected to keep up with maintaining your boat, you will not be covered by boat insurance for wear and tear.

If you do not store your boat properly, it will also not be covered by boat insurance.  You are expected to take care of your boat, and if it is damaged due to neglecting to properly care for it, you will need to pay for the damages yourself.

Bad or Broken Parts

If something on your boat needs to be repaired or replaced, it will not be covered by insurance.  Think of your car – your auto insurance typically does not cover every part that needs repairing or replacing, unless something like a car accident has occurred.  It’s similar for your boat.  If your boat has faced some sort of peril and needs a part repaired or replaced, it is likely covered by insurance.  However, if your boat needs a part repaired or replaced for routine maintenance, you will need to cover the cost yourself.

Contact Robinson & Stith for Boat Insurance!

You never know when your boat will face a peril, such as sinking.  With that said, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to covering your boat with insurance.  If you are looking to insure your boat and are located near the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, contact us here at Robinson & Stith!  Our expert agents will work diligently to help you find the best coverage for your boat.  If you have absolutely any questions regarding boat insurance, you can feel free to ask our agents.  We are here to help you completely understand your boat insurance coverage.  Contact us today to get started on protecting your boat.