Does Boat Insurance Cover on Water Towing? (is the Vessel or Person Covered?)
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Does Boat Insurance Cover on Water Towing? (is the Vessel or Person Covered?)

So, you have an insured boat, but do you actually know what that insurance covers? You could need all kinds of assistance on your vessel, including towing.

But does your insurance have towing coverage? And what type of towing coverage are you entitled to?

For example, are you covered in the case that you need a tow vehicle on the water, or are you and your boat covered when you are towing it on dry land? 

Generally speaking, boat insurance does not cover on-water towing or off-water towing. That being said, there may be some fine print in your insurance that covers “other boat accessories” – which could include your trailer.

So, let’s take a closer look at what your boat policy will likely cover, and what additional coverage you should be looking at.

Does Your Boat Insurance Cover Towing or On-Water Assistance?

If you tow your boat in and out of the water, then it is important to know where exactly your boat is covered. 

In many cases, boat towing on the water will be included in a basic policy.

In most cases, your boat will be insured only when it is in the water.

So, when it is on your trailer going home, it will not be covered by your boat insurance. 

But, what happens if you get in an accident on the road or just out of the water, and your boat is damaged? 

As an ‘element’ on your trailer, the boat may be covered on your car insurance. However, that is not guaranteed either. 

Therefore, it is essential to check with both your boat insurance policy and your car insurance carrier about whether or not towing expenses are covered.

Does Boat Insurance Cover an Accident While Hauling Your Boat?

Again, if you are hauling your boat out of the water, then no, your boat or yacht insurance will not cover physical damage or accidents.

Boat insurance policies cover any accidents that could happen while your boat is in use, i.e. when it is in the water.

Out of the water, your boat isn’t as likely to run into another boat, sink, or incur marine damages! So, why would your boat insurance cover it? 

That being said, you will need to check your car insurance / roadside assistance cover for damages that could occur to belongings that are being towed.

If your car insurance does cover such aspects, then it should cover your boat while it is on the back of your car.

However, it is always best to check with your insurance company before assuming anything, as accidents do happen everywhere, and not every policy is very clear. 

What’s more, it may be that you will need to pay extra for coverage on your trailer specifically, as it may not automatically be included in your car insurance coverages. 

Does Added Sea Tow cover the Vessel or The Person (or Both)?

While some boat insurance companies will have additional sea tow cover, it’s usually best to get specific sea tow membership for peace of mind.

In the UK and surrounding waters, a Sea Start membership covers your pleasure craft.

Membership costs between £145-£165 depending on the type and size of the vessel.

The Sea Start membership generally covers the boat, rather than the owner.

In the US, if you have a membership with Sea Tow, then your basic package should cover the vessel and the person involved. 

Sea Tow are the people you call when you have run out of fuel, your engine has broken down, you’ve run aground, the list goes on.

The towboats will then come and get you safely back to your port.

You can easily call them via radio for instant boat towing support.

However, non-members can end up spending a fortune, with certain towers costing around $250 per hour! 

Sea Tow provides various membership options to choose from depending on where you take your boat.

Memberships typically cost between $100 and $200 per year.


Be careful out there – as even the best boat insurance policies have limited coverage when it comes to towing and off-water haulage.

We don’t tend to think of getting a boat insurance policy to cover physical damage that could happen to our vessels on dry land – but, in fact, it is an essential part of owning a boat.

While your vehicle is towing your vessel, you could incur any kind of damage to your boat.

You could also be found liable should the boat trailer or boat itself cause any damage to someone else’s personal property or even injuries that will require medical treatment. 

That is why it is so important to discuss your auto insurance, boat insurance, and any other coverages that you have with your insurance company. 

Liability coverage is also a must if you’re running a commercial boat or fleet of boats.

You should also ensure that you have separate coverage for any towing expenses that could occur. Think of it like roadside assistance.

In fact, car insurance or auto insurance may cover this. Check your boat policy

You hope as a boat owner that you will never need it, but it will save you a fortune and a lot of time if you have the right coverage for it.

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