Lay-up Periods in Boat Insurance
What is a lay-up period?
Lay-up refers to the time period that a boat is not being used. In the Northeast, most insurance carriers have a lay-up from November to April. Depending on the size of your boat, your lay-up period will require pulling your boat from the water or staying afloat but winterized. In-water storage during a lay-up may require bubblers depending on the terms of your policy.
Do I have to have a lay-up period on my boat insurance policy?
Not all boat insurance companies require you to have a lay-up period on your policy. With that said, many insurance carriers will offer a discount on your boat insurance if you abide by lay-up dates. If your policy specifies lay-up months and you use your boat during that time, insurance coverage can be voided.
Preparations for the lay-up period
The leisure boating season for Newenglanders is very brief. It’s tempting to put off pulling your boat in order to squeak out as many nice autumn days on the water as possible to justify the expense of boat ownership. This may be fine if you haul, transport, de-commission and store your boat by yourself (and the weather cooperates and your friends are on standby to help, etc). Coverage may not be granted if your boat is not out of the water between these dates, it’s important to winterize your boat early enough to make the cut-off. It’s also important to note that extended lay-up periods are usually only available for late/early season sailboat racers or fishermen.
“I want to be the first in and last out” says every boater in unison.
If you utilize the services of a boatyard and certified mechanics, you are at the mercy of their schedule and may have to sacrifice a few nice days on the water to abide by the terms of your insurance policy. Marinas start scheduling services weeks to months in advance, so don’t bank on same day service. In fact, it is very common for boat service centers to get backlogged days and sometimes even weeks due to weather. Calculate that into your timetable.
Not everything is good for DIY, but if you must…
Many boat owners here in Connecticut and New York will opt to have a third party winterize their vessels. We think it’s a great idea to leave it to certified professionals – but that is a blog for another day.
If you decide to prepare your boat for the lay-up period yourself, make a list of all the winterizing tasks specific to your kind of boat, engine, generator and water systems. If the boat is new to you, we recommend you start by referring to your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s suggestions on how to winterize your make and model. Check with the boatyard where your vessel is stored to see if they have policies on what work can be done on their property. Most likely, you will not be allowed to shrinkwrap your own boat because of the open flame and the use or disposal of chemicals will have to be in accordance with the environmental protection restrictions of the marina/town/state/etc.
If your policy allows for in-water storage, find out if it is contingent on the use of bubblers. Bubblers require electricity and monitoring. Does your marina shut off power to the boat slips during the winter? Does your marina offer ice breaking or bubbler services?
Get the coverage you need. This begins with reaching out to one of our boat insurance specialists.
Daigle and Travers Insurance is based in Darien, CT with additional locations in Westport and Wilton. We’re licensed in over 30 states and will help you with your insurance regardless of where your boat is registered.
Daigle and Travers will provide you with the right coverage to make sure your investments are safe during a disaster. Partner with us. We’ll give you all the necessary information and options needed to make the best choice of insurance company and policy. Give us a call today at (203)-655-6974.