Are you hoping to score a great deal on a new boat this spring? If so, you’re not alone. Countless people flock to boat shows this time of year to check out the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. If you’re planning to spend your time shopping the sales floor this season, don’t go unprepared. Whether you are a long-time boater or just testing the waters, read on to learn what you need to know before splurging on a new boat.
Choosing a Boat
Boats are about as diverse as vehicles. All of them get you from Point A to Point B, but the similarities end there. Just as you wouldn’t buy a sports car to transport a big family or a sedan to haul heavy-duty equipment, the type and size of boat you purchase should also correlate to your needs. Will you be using your boat to fish? If so, a bass boat might be right for you. Are you looking forward to leisurely afternoons relaxing on the water? Maybe you should glance at a runabout or sailboat. Are you looking for a multi-purpose watercraft? Perhaps a pontoon boat is just the thing you are looking for.
You’ll also need to decide on a boat motor. There are three primary types of motors – Inboard, Outboard, and Inboard/Outboard (I/O). Outboards are the simplest to maintain and provide the greatest amount of floor space. Inboards are the choice if you want more power or want to reduce wake. An I/O may be right for you if you need more cabin floor space and plan to operate in shallow water, but you also want horsepower and aesthetics.
Boats can differ not only in function but also in size. A small boat may be more affordable and easier to store on a trailer in your garage, but it may also fall short of the capacity to carry friends or family. On the other hand, a bigger boat may seat more people, but it could also prove more expensive and difficult to haul to and from home. Before you make a decision, ask yourself:
- What is the primary purpose of my boat?
- How many people do I need seating for?
- Will I be storing my watercraft on a trailer or at a dock?
- How confident do I feel piloting a large boat?
Shopping around for a boat is exciting, and a boat show offers the opportunity to meet with multiple dealers and view extensive inventory all in one place. Before you make a decision, though, be sure to read reviews for each dealer and learn about any special services they provide after the sale.
Keep in mind that many dealers sell both new and used boats. If you have your eye on a brand new watercraft, there’s a chance you may be able to save money by going with a similar, gently used version. On the other hand, make sure you aren’t sacrificing peace of mind for upfront savings. After all, new boats often come with warranties that promise to pay for any mechanical complications that may arise during the first years of ownership.
Don’t Forget about Insurance
When you buy a boat, you need insurance. Don’t make the mistake of relying on your homeowners coverage to protect you, either. Although some watercraft may be covered, it is typically limited to sailboats under 26 feet long, outboard motors under 25hp, and I/O motors under 50hp. Even then, there are limitations for liability, as well as restricted damages coverage based on the type of incident responsible for your loss.
At the end of the day, you really just need to invest in a separate boatowners policy – one that covers physical damages, property damage liability, bodily injury liability, personal property, medical payments, special equipment, emergency assistance, and more. To find out how an independent agent can help you save money on boat insurance, contact our office today.