Average Sailboat Insurance Cost

Average Sailboat Insurance Cost | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Sailboat insurance is often less expensive than auto insurance, but rates vary based on several important factors.

Sailboat owners typically pay between $250 and $1,500 per year to insure their sailboats. This cost varies based on a number of factors, including policy type and coverage amounts. Sailboats are usually less expensive to insure than powerboats.

In this article, we’ll go over the average costs of sailboat insurance for typical production fiberglass cruising vessels. Additionally, we’ll go in-depth on the factors that contribute to premiums, along with how to reduce the cost of a good sailboat insurance policy.

We sourced the information used in this article from our own analysis of insurance industry averages. We also considered information provided by boat insurance companies, along with the policies they advertise.


Table of contents

Average Annual Sailboat Insurance Price

Sailboat insurance varies, but owners rarely pay more than $1,000 annually for basic coverage. This is considering that the vast majority of sailboats are fiberglass production cruisers between 20 and 40 feet in length, and they aren’t used as often as automobiles.

Sailboat insurance prices range between $250 per year for the most basic coverage (liability, small boats with infrequent use) to $1,500 for comprehensive coverage (average-sized older vessel with somewhat regular use).

But if we were to establish a general rule about sailboat insurance, it’s this: it’s cheaper than car insurance. Sailboat insurance is usually an insignificant cost compared to mooring fees and maintenance.

Is Sailboat Insurance Cheaper than Powerboat Insurance?

Yes, sailboat insurance is usually cheaper than powerboat insurance, even if your vessel comes with an engine. This has a lot to do with speed, power, and accident rates.

Speedboats are particularly expensive to insure, as they’re more dangerous and accident-prone. The cost to insure a small speedboat is often comparable to a large sailboat.

Types of Sailboat Insurance Coverage

There are several types of coverage with different pricing rates. The actual name of these different coverage types varies between companies. But generally speaking, here are the broad types of insurance that you can get for your sailboat.

Basic Liability and Salvage Coverage

The most inexpensive coverage is basic liability, which usually covers accidents you cause only. It doesn’t cover your repair costs, but it does cover damage to other boats, medical expenses for injuries, and wreck removal.

Specialized or Custom Coverage

Specialized coverage varies most in price. This kind of coverage is determined by the owner and covers modifications and expensive equipment.

Let’s say a sailboat owner buys a basic new Catalina 315, then outfits it for offshore use. He installs solar panels, an autopilot, a Garmin radar set, and a costly set of automatic winches and hardware.

With a specialized insurance coverage plan, he can add the value of these very specific items to his repair and replacement plan in case the boat gets damaged or lost along the way.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive plans offer significantly more coverage. These policies offer towing services, damage costs for you and other boats, uninsured boater protection, repairs and replacement parts, and emergency assistance for things like dead batteries and running out of gas.

What Factors Contribute to Sailboat Insurance Premiums?

Sailboat insurance works much like car insurance, but there are some differences. Like car insurance, sailboat insurance premiums are based on factors including your accident record, the value of your boat, your location, and how often you use the vessel.

Operator Boating Record

Citations and accidents are some of the most important insurance cost factors. This makes sense, as a long history of responsible boating reduces the risk that the company will have to payout.

A minor incident won’t ruin your premiums, but a history of crashes and BWIs will certainly limit your options and increase sailboat insurance prices.

Experience plays a role as well. Documented boating experience, such as policies on other vessels or professional captain certifications, can greatly reduce the cost of sailboat insurance.

Operator Age

Age is another important factor for insurance premium prices. The ages that get the best rates are between 50 and 60. If you look at it on a chart, you’ll see insurance rates top out around age 16 and slowly decline until age 70. At this point, insurance rates begin to increase—but never to the level of a young person.

Sailboat Value

The value of your sailboat also plays a big part in your insurance costs. For example, a $500,000 classical schooner is certainly going to cost more to insure than a clunky $10,000 fiberglass sloop, especially because the owners of more expensive boats generally opt for more coverage.

Agreed Value vs. Actual Value

How does an insurance company decide what to pay out if your boat is a total loss? There are two primary ways these policies work: with either agreed value or actual value.

 Actual value policies are common for new boats, as their value is easy to determine. If a new (or late-model) boat is worth $150,000, then that’s the cost the insurance company will usually cover to replace the vessel.

Agreed value is more common for older and classic boats, as the procedures used to calculate their value aren’t always reliable. Factors such as rarity, design, desirability, and condition may not reflect clearly in analytics—but do on the market.

Agreed value is a number that the owner and the company settle on. It is more holistic than the actual value, as the actual value may be impossible to accurately calculate for some rare and vintage vessels.

Sailboat Age

The age of the vessel has an impact on insurance rates. Usually, an older vessel is thought to be less valuable to a point. This means that a 1970 sailboat is usually cheaper to insure than a 1990 sailboat. The cost difference can be negligible beyond ten years of age, but it’s higher with late-model vessels.

Sailboat Type

Different kinds of sailboats have different insurance rates. Factors under this category include a number of hulls, size, displacement, and cruising characteristics. For example, speedy trick race boats made with carbon fiber are more expensive to insure than bulky fiberglass cruisers.


Location plays a big part in average sailboat insurance costs for a number of reasons. For example, sailboats used in freshwater are typically cheaper to insure than saltwater.

Also, sailboats moored in areas prone to severe weather tend to have higher insurance premiums. For example, premiums in Florida or South Texas account for hurricanes, while premiums in central Oklahoma account for large hail.

Does Your Driving Record Affect Average Sailboat Insurance Cost?

Absolutely; your driving record can have a dramatic effect on your ability to find favorable sailboat insurance rates. This is because insurance needs to consider you and the boat—and how risky you (as a captain) are to insure.

Car accidents, moving violations, citations, and DUIs are detrimental to insurance premiums on and off the water. And they will find out, regardless of what company you choose. Risky drivers are almost always risky boaters as well.

But your driving record can also work in your favor. You may be a new boater who hasn’t had a chance to prove yourself yet. If sailboat insurance and auto insurance had no correlation, you’d be treated like a brand new driver for years, even if you’ve had experience. A safe driving record can reduce your costs and increase coverage options.

Does Liveaboard Sailboat Insurance Cost More?

Yes, liveaboard insurance tends to cost more. This is because you’re on the boat constantly and engaged in activities like cooking, bathing, and electricity use. All of these activities carry risks, which must be considered.

Additionally, liveaboard insurance policies can cover more than typical comprehensive coverage. This includes assets inside the sailboat, such as furnishings, computers, equipment, and other possessions.

Average Sailboat Insurance Costs Differences For Men and Women

Insurance companies consider risk on a wide scale, and they notice trends that are large enough to make a cost difference. One pricing factor to consider is that, after age 27, men tend to pay higher insurance premiums than women.

There’s a simple reason for this—men crash and commit violations more often. Insurance companies have found that, on average, men are more likely to engage in dangerous boating behavior, and thus they are riskier to insure.

The price difference is typically pretty small—between $10 and $100—but this gap widens with accidents, DUIs, and other detrimental incidents. Generally speaking, women can enjoy lower quotes and lower premiums if they have a clean driving and boating record.

How to Reduce Sailboat Insurance Premiums

Reducing your premiums is actually fairly simple, and there are strategies that take only a few hours to complete. The easiest way to reduce your sailboat insurance premiums is to take a boater’s safety course or to get your boating license, even if you’re not required to by law.

You can also reduce your premiums by increasing your hull deductible. This strategy will cost you more out of pocket in the event of an accident, but safe boaters can usually contend with the risk.

Seasonal insurance rates can also be reduced if you haul your boat out or winterize it correctly. If the boat sits in storage for six months of the year, like in a dry slip or a boatyard, you can usually get a pretty hefty winter discount.

Average Sailboat Insurance Cost
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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