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Boats | The Hidden Costs of Buying a New Boat

The best two days in a boater’s life is the day they buy one and the day they sell it.†That old proverb can have a lot to do with cost. Here at Wired2Fish we like saying “The best two days of a boater life is when they buy one and when they buy another one.†It’s not quite the same, but knowing what costs stand in front of you can make the boat buying experience better.

Die-hard Wired2Fish anglers know that buying a boat is just the first step to enjoying a day on the water. There are several things that should be checked and rechecked prior to putting the boat on the water. In prior articles we have talked about safety, maintenance, repair, electronics, storage and ride, but some things that should be addressed before stepping foot in a dealer’s building are insurance and other costs.

Being able to afford the payment is very important, but gasoline, oil and maintenance should also be taken into account with the purchase. Taking into consideration today’s gas prices at or above $3.50 a gallon, and with the mileage of today’s tow vehicles, it can be a costly proposition even before putting the boat in the water. There is nothing worse than having a brand new boat and not being able to put it in the water because it costs too much to operate. It should be part of the family budget and should not be a surprise when the boat is parked in the driveway.

Another thing that should be addressed is insurance. There are a lot of great companies out there who would love to collect your premiums and give you a promise should anything arise, that they will be there for you. The procedure and repercussions of filing a claim should be considered as well. What type of record does the company chosen have in regards to claim filing? Is it easy? Do they have a representative that understands boats? Do they know boats and fiberglass repair? If I file the claim, will I get canceled? Ask others who you know have insurance with that company, and make sure they are reputable and will work with you on your claim. Talk to the insurance representative prior to purchase, and ask him the aforementioned questions.

Another consideration is what the boat is used for. Major insurance companies usually cover pleasure boats and fishing boats that are NOT used for tournaments. It’s important to know what companies insure what. For example, grandpa who just goes fishing on the weekends with a buddy is usually covered but if grandpa was fishing tournaments he may not be. Boats used for tournaments are considered commercial vessels and are not necessarily covered. Most companies ask on the application if the boat will be used to entertain clients or if you tournament fish. Some do offer endorsements for these cases but others will simply may not write this policy or when a claim is submitted, decline it.

It is very important to be honest with your insurance company to not have an issue arise. Some will stipulate that if 50 percent or more of their income is derived from tournaments, they are not able to be insured. This is a gray area, and the only way to be sure is to talk it over with your insurance agent or representative. There are organizations like BoatUS and commercial companies  who do cover tournament anglers and embrace that opportunity. They also have equipment and emergency towing clauses in their policies as well. Additional coverage can be purchased for electronics and amounts of equipment stipulated in the base policy in many cases.
BoatUS Angler even offers incentives for tournament anglers fishing sanctioned events.

Buying a boat should be a wonderful experience but it is critical for owners to go into the purchase with both eyes open and make sure they cover all of the details, not just the boat purchase.