Warm State or Cold State? Why Boats Wintered in Either One Need “Freeze” Coverage Insurance

Boats stored for the winter in regions with consistent below-freezing temperatures in heated storage facilities have it best, except when winter storms bring power outages and the heat goes off. Suddenly, the boat’s motor, which is often not winterized or prepared for freezing temperatures, becomes a liability as water in the engine block freezes, destroying it. And for boats stored in warmer states, an unexpected cold spell can lead to ice damaging the engine block. That’s why no matter where you keep your boat over the winter, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recommends having ice and freeze coverage on your boat’s insurance policy.

Ironically, the most claims for ice-related engine damage are from temperate states such as Florida, where boaters are caught off-guard when temperatures suddenly plummet overnight for an unexpected freeze. Even a small amount of ice in an engine block can exert tremendous pressure, cracking cylinder walls or other internal engine passageways. The good news is that insurance for boats in warmer, temperate states usually have this feature automatically added to their policy, including BoatUS’ industry leading Yacht Policy and it’s Personal Watercraft policy, but you should check with your insurer.

However, for cold states most boat insurance policies won’t pay a claim for this kind of damage because it’s considered a maintenance issue. BoatUS says that’s why you should consider purchasing ice and freeze coverage separately. BoatUS offers supplemental ice and freeze coverage for their Yacht and Personal Watercraft policies for a inexpensive fee that varies from $20-$55 per year additional, depending on the type of boat and number of engines, but it’s only offered to an October 31 deadline – after which it’s unavailable until the following season or your policy’s renewal date.

“Adding freeze coverage costs very little, but will cover freeze-related damage to the single most expensive item aboard a recreational boat – the engine,”said BoatUS Vice President of Marine Insurance, Mike Pellerin.

In addition to those who store their boats in inside heated storage, ice and freeze coverage may also be a smart option for do-it-yourselfers who want peace of mind and are concerned about possible winterization snafus, or by trailer boaters who occasionally travel south for vacations or fishing trip. When your return home, any water left in the wrong place can freeze.

For more information on boat insurance, or to get a free quote online, go to www.BoatUS.com/insurance or call 800-283-2883.

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