There are many reasons you may want to transport your boat over land. Perhaps you and your family have decided to move and want to bring your boat along rather than sell it. Maybe you bought a boat in another state and need to bring it home. It might be that you have a race or other boating event in another region that you want to participate in and the clearest path there is over land.
No matter what the reason is for needing to transport your boat over land, you are going to want to make sure you have proper insurance coverage. You may be the most cautious person on the planet. You may try to think of all the possibilities. Yet, accidents still happen. The last thing you need is to get in an accident and not have proper insurance coverage.
What is Boat Insurance?
Most boat owners carry boat insurance on their vessel. According to the article “Float Your Boat with Confidence” on the Geico Insurance website (www.Geico.com), boat insurance is much like car insurance – it protects against liability and accidental damage. Per Geico, there are policies available that also cover fuel spill liability, salvage coverage, wreck removal, and even the cost of replacing a boat with a newer model.
Don’t take it for granted that your policy has all the bells and whistles. Talk to your insurance agent and find out specifically what is and is not covered by your current policy. Most insurance agents would be more than happy to work with you to add the coverages you need for your own piece of mind.
Is Your Boat Covered?
The question remains: even if you have boat insurance, is your vessel going to be covered while being transported over land?
There are two options for moving your boat over land. One option is to tow the boat yourself. The other option is to employ a professional transportation company.
The “Float Your Boat with Confidence” article includes a quote from the vice president of underwriting at Boat U.S., Mike Pellerin. He states that boat insurance never covers liability in the case of being towed on a trailer. According to Pellerin, if you cause damage to somebody’s property with your boat/trailer, the liability is tied to your automobile policy.
Check with Your Insurance Agent
Pellerin is very adamant that you should check with your insurance agent before transporting your boat. You may require additional coverage.
According to the article “Can Boat Insurance Cover My Boat on Transit” on the AFI Insurance website (www.afinc.net), most boat insurance plans can include road transit coverage provided your boat is under 30 feet long.
However, the safest way to transport your boat is with a professional transportation specialist. In fact, AFI indicates that some insurers will cover road transit of larger vessels provided that transportation is done by a professional company, and provided that you notify the insurance carrier in advance.
Dealing with Complications
One of the complications of relocating a boat over land is that the hull of the boat is designed to be supported by water. To avoid damage to your craft during land transport, you need to have proper support under the hull for the full trip.
While the kind of boat trailer that you would use to tow your boat yourself provides the proper support, those trailers are not designed for long distance travel. Traveling at highway speeds, a boat trailer’s wheels and axles can easily overheat. It is recommended to stop every 30 minutes to let the axles cool down. Unless you are only transporting your boat a short distance, professional transportation is probably the safest and most convenient way to go.
In terms of professional transportation of your boat, there are a few options:
- Roll On, Roll Off Loading is a convenient alternative are able to offer. Under this type of transport, your boat is placed on a trailer and secured. The trailer is then moved onto the transportation vehicle as a single unit. The boat rides in this manner for the entire trip and then is easily wheeled off once the journey is complete. This allows proper support of the hull for the full trip.
- Flat Rack Shipping is an option for over sized boats, wherein a technical team creates a custom cradle that specifically matches your boat’s dimensions. This is considered the ideal mode of transit.
- Enclosed Container Shipping is a worthy option for standard sized boats. In this case, boats are matched to a container designed for vessels of their particular size.
- Submersion Shipping involves loading your boat from in the water. Considered the most convenient shipping option, the boat is then unloaded into the water at the end of the trip.
Affordable and Convenient
The cost of relocating a boat across land with a professional transport company will take into account the size of the boat and the distance it is traveling. In most cases, using a professional transportation company is going to be your best option. You’d be surprised at how affordable and convenient it can be.
No matter whether you chose to use an experienced professional or you choose to tow the boat yourself, you’ll want to make sure your boat is properly insured – both for the journey and for carefree enjoyment upon arrival.
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
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