ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Boaters who store their boats over the winter in heated storage facilities or garages have it best. But when winter storms bring power outages and the heat goes off, inside temperatures plummet.
That’s when a good thing can go bad quickly as the boat’s motor likely has not been “winterized,” causing water in the engine block to freeze. Even a small amount of ice in an engine block can exert tremendous pressure, cracking cylinder walls or other internal engine passageways leading to irreparable harm.
And, unfortunately, most boat insurance policies won’t compensate the owner as this kind of damage is considered a maintenance issue.
BoatUS says that’s where boat owners may want to consider adding supplemental “Freeze Coverage” insurance to their boat’s insurance policy to cover the unexpected consequences of winter snow and ice storm power outages. Keep in mind, however, that most insurers only offer this coverage up to the end of October.
“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. BoatUS freeze coverage, for example, starts at $20 and has an Oct. 31 deadline — after which it’s unavailable until the following season.
In addition to those who store their boats in inside heated storage, Freeze Coverage may also be a smart option for do-it-yourselfers who want peace of mind and are concerned about possible winterization problems, or by trailer boaters who occasionally travel south for vacations or fishing trips. “When your return home, any water left in the wrong place can freeze,” added Pellerin.
Supplemental Freeze Coverage is usually only offered in regions with consistent below-freezing temperatures, because engine winterization is not optional there. Those in temperate states usually have this feature automatically added to their policy — including all BoatUS policies — but you should check with your insurer.
For more information go to www.BoatUS.com/insurance or call 800-283-2883.