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Does car insurance cover towing a boat?

Insure your boat against damage while it’s on the road.

Updated

Fact checked

Towing a boat isn’t something that’s typically covered under your car insurance. However, some companies may offer a towing add-on to your existing car or boat insurance policy to provide coverage.

Is towing a boat covered by car insurance?

The basic rule of thumb for vehicle insurance: If you’re on the road, you’re covered by car insurance. If you’re on the water, you’re covered by boat insurance.

If your boat trailer hits another car, your liability coverage will likely kick in. However, if the trailer detaches and causes damage, it’ll be a different story. And, in either scenario, damage to your boat won’t be covered.

To insure your boat against damage, you could add trailer or towing coverage to your existing car insurance policy. But make sure your insurer covers trailers first.

Best comprehensive coverage: Progressive

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Compare car insurance that covers your boat

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Progressive
Optional
30%
All 50 states
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Clearcover
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Yes
AZ, CA, IL, LA, OH, TX, UT and WI
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The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford
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Yes
All 50 states & DC
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What kind of damage does boat insurance cover?

Boat insurance often covers your boat from physical damage in the water or on the road. Sometimes it covers physical damage to your hauling trailer, either included with your policy or through trailer add-on coverage.

Towing coverage may be included in your boat insurance policy. While not required, boat insurance is usually a good idea for large or valuable boats that would be expensive to cover out of pocket.

Boat insurance covers your boat from:

  • Collision
  • Fire
  • Storms
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

What should I do if I’m in an accident while towing my boat?

  • Document the accident. Gather as much information as possible, taking photos, recording the date and time of the occurrence, location and weather conditions, especially if weather caused the accident. If the accident involves another vehicle, exchange personal and insurance information.
  • Call the police. In most cases, you’ll need an official police report to file a claim with your insurance company. Call them and ask the officer to give you a copy of the report. Try to get the officer’s name and badge number if you can — you may need it later.
  • Call the medics. If you’re injured during the accident call the medics. If another vehicle caused the accident, file a report. Otherwise, your personal medical insurance is responsible for your medical expenses.
  • Contact the insurer. They’ll guide you through the procedure for filing a claim.

How do I file a claim for damage while towing a boat?

Call your insurer and they’ll assign you a claims adjuster. The adjuster investigates the accident and helps you get your claim. Make sure they have all the information you gathered to move the process quickly.

How much will it cost to repair the damage out of pocket?

This largely depends on the damage. Was it the boat, the trailer, the car or all of it? Repair costs can range from a few hundred dollars up to the value of your car, trailer and boat combined.

For example, say you get in a fender bender while towing your boat. Since there’s no fender, your boat or trailer might take the damage instead of your car. Some scratched paint or a bent frame might run several hundred dollars to repair, but any real damage to your boat could run into the thousands to fix.

Bottom line

Your mandatory liability coverage may only cover damage to other vehicles. Some insurance companies may offer add-on towing to your existing policy. If you have an expensive boat, or are worried about the damage it could cause in an accident, you could opt for boat insurance.

Consider shopping around for the best insurance for your boat or car.

Common questions about boat towing coverage

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