What is emergency towing coverage for boats?

Picture this: You’ve gotten up early to watch the sunrise on the water in your boat. Out in the middle of the lake, you enjoy the moment just long enough before it’s time to head back to shore. When you stick your key into the ignition and give it a sharp turn, anticipating the steady growl of your boat’s engine—nothing happens.

Whether your boat is in pristine condition or has seen a few summers, it could break down at the most inconvenient of times. As a boat owner, being prepared for this situation is crucial. 

Emergency towing coverage for boats is a saving grace for unpredictable circumstances that leave you unable to bring your boat to shore. Let’s dive into the technicalities of this coverage and what it means for you as a boat owner:

What Is Emergency Towing Coverage?

Emergency towing coverage is a type of insurance coverage that provides boat owners with assistance should their boat not start or become stranded while out on the water. If this occurs, your boat will be towed to a repair facility or marina, where it can receive the maintenance that it needs. Similar to emergency towing coverage for other vehicles, the intention of this kind of insurance is to lessen the financial burden that often accompanies unforeseen towing expenses. 

How Does Emergency Towing Coverage Work?

There are generally five different factors involved in emergency towing coverage for boats. Let’s take a look at them in more detail:

Claims Process

To take advantage of your emergency towing coverage, you must first contact your insurance provider to file a claim. Your provider will help you navigate this process and ensure that your insurance is applied accurately. They may arrange for the towing service to come and get you or give you the number to call yourself. In most cases, payment will be handled directly by your insurer.

Covered Events

Whether you ran out of fuel or your battery died—there is an expansive range of reasons why your boat may suddenly stop functioning while in use. Emergency towing coverage can cover various circumstances, including engine failures, overheating, contaminated fuel, or running aground. Most situations in which the boat has been rendered immobile and is unable to operate safely would be considered a covered event.

Towing Service

After you have contacted your insurance company, explained the circumstances, and verified this is a covered event, the next step is the towing service itself. For emergency towing coverage, an established marine towing company will come to your location, hook your boat up, and bring it to a marina or repair facility where it can be properly looked at.

Coverage Limits 

Your insurance policy will have a specified maximum limit that they will pay for emergency towing services for your boat. This limit is dependent on your provider and the kind of insurance plan that you have selected. Once you have reached your limit, you may have to contact your insurance company to discuss how to extend your coverage or pay the remaining amount out of pocket.

Geographical Coverage 

Similar to other types of insurance, your boat coverage may have geographical boundaries on where the towing service is covered. This may be in a certain town or region or a specific distance from your area of residence. Understanding these limitations may impact where you choose to launch and travel on your boat, so it’s important to be aware of the details of your coverage and act accordingly.

Do All Boat Insurance Plans Cover Emergency Towing Services?

Boat insurance policies can be customized depending on your provider. In many cases, a dedicated boat insurance company can help secure you proper coverage for all essential and additional needs, including emergency towing services, However, not all insurance policies include this basic coverage. 

This is why it’s crucial to discuss your insurance needs with your provider when setting up your plan. Being informed about your coverage can help you prevent expensive problems down the road.

Your Responsibility as a Boat Owner

Owning and operating a boat is no small feat. You are responsible for not only your own safety but that of anyone who may be around you when you’re out on the water, such as passengers in your own boat or fellow boaters nearby. 

Many insurance policies often require boat operators to take their own initiative in boat maintenance. This may include inspecting your vessel regularly for upkeep to ensure safe functioning and following safe boating practices. This makes the boat owner accountable for preventing or minimizing harm to their watercraft.  A lack of care in this area and a failure to maintain your boat may have an impact on your eligibility for coverage. 

What Do Most Basic Boat Insurance Plans Include?

Boat insurance has your back for when the most unforeseen circumstances may occur, and can follow a similar policy structure as car insurance plans. Most basic plans include:

  • Coverage against collisions, fires, thefts, and loss of personal effects
  • Emergency towing expenses
  • The choice between agreed value or actual cash value coverage, where, in the event of total or partial loss, you’ll receive the full value of your boat or part at the time of opening your insurance policy, or the fair market value.

Although it is challenging to predict what might happen to your boat on the water, marine insurance can help you prepare for rough waters.

Portside Insurance Can Help

Emergency towing coverage for boats is an essential component of being a responsible boat owner. It offers peace of mind that, should your boat become immobilized on the water, you have a plan in place to get yourself out of that situation safely and without paying high costs.  At Portside Insurance, we can help you discover the insurance plan for you and your vessel. We offer comprehensive marine insurance coverage to ensure you can enjoy your time spent on the water. Contact us today to get started.

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