OH NO! My Boat’s Been Stolen! Now What??
OH NO! My Boat’s Been Stolen! Now What??
Guys, do you know how many boats are stolen each year? In 2019, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported 4,240 boat thefts1. The large majority were personal watercrafts.
Before you get out on the water, make sure you follow ALL of these tips to keep your boat safe. In the event that it gets stolen (and we’ll have some advice for that, too!), following these measures will help you get it back safely.
Dock it, Lock it, and Lock it
Seriously. As many locks as you can. Even if it looks a little goofy. If someone’s walking around, looking for a vulnerable watercraft, they’re not really going to look twice at the boat that has a lock on the hitch, a lock on the trailer tongue, a lock on the doors, a lock on the equipment, a lock on the outboard engine… You get the picture. It would take too long to bust through all of those, which increases the odds that someone will see them. According to Boat US, only 15% of stolen boats had any kind of lock on them. The remaining 85% of stolen boats were unlocked2.
Audible Security Systems
The louder and more obnoxious your alarm is, the better. They’ll know they’ve been exposed and (hopefully!) take off.
Remove Expensive Equipment
There are all kinds of reasons why someone might try to steal property. Yeah, some people want the actual vessel, but others choose to evade the risk of getting caught by stripping the boat for its parts. When you’re not on the lake having fun, take the expensive gear with you. The less attractive your boat looks to onlookers, the less likely it will be that your craft is specifically targeted.
Get Good Coverage
We want you to have the best coverage possible. Whenever you buy new or expensive add-ons (like fishing graphs, water skis, wakeboards, or fishing equipment) just give us a call! We’ll update your policy so the financial loss will be covered if your watercraft is damaged or stolen.
Install a GPS Tracker
WELL SHOOT. You did everything you could, but the thieves found a way to take off with the boat. But guess what they didn’t anticipate? You hid a GPS tracker that’s logging everywhere they go. A GPS tracker doesn’t guarantee that you’ll recover your property, but it makes it a heck of a lot more likely!
What You’ll Need to Recover Your Boat
1. Record the Incident
Make a police report as soon as possible, while all of the details are still fresh in your mind.
Not just the vacation pictures. Spend some time getting detailed photographs–especially if you have any unique identifiers.
The essentials include your state registration number, your decal number, and the hull identification number (HIN). Do not leave your title or registration on the boat when you’re not on the water.
3. Proof of Purchase
While proof of purchase isn’t entirely necessary, it sure doesn’t hurt!
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
ACV: Actual Cash Value
One of the ways you can insure your watercraft is with ACV coverage. This is more common for older boats. If your property is stolen, this coverage will reimburse you for the current depreciated value of the boat.
For newer boats, I would recommend Replacement Coverage. This policy will cover the agreed value. Let’s say you bought a Chaparral, Sea Ray, or Tracker that’s worth $25,000–that’s the agreed value that I would insure the boat for. So if you sink it, or it’s stolen, you would be reimbursed the full $25,000 after deductibles. Plus, this kind of coverage can often cover some of the expensive technology and add-ons that you made. So make sure you report any extra gear that you’d like to cover.
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1 “NICB: 2019 Watercraft Theft Report.” Cision, National Insurance Crime Bureau, June 2020, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nicb-2019-watercraft-theft-report-301068888.html.
2 Fort, Charles. “Analyzing Boat Thefts.” BoatU.S., Oct. 2016, www.boatus.com/expert-advice/expert-advice-archive/2016/october/analyzing-boat-thefts.