How Boat Towing Regulations Work

Boat Towing Insurance

boat towing insurance
Another kind of boat tow­ing insurance covers situations at sea when a boater runs out of gas or has an accident and needs to be rescued.
iStockphoto/James Pauls

Boat towing insurance is a general term that has a few different meanings, making it confusing for rookie boat-owners. One kind of boat towing insurance has to do with on-the-road situations -- covering you in case of an accident while you're towing your boat. The other kind has to do with on-the-water situations -- covering you in case your boat needs rescue after getting stalled or stuck while it's in the water.

First, let's discuss the road towing insurance. Some auto insurance policies also cover towing costs for accidents that happen involving your boat while it's on the road. But not all of them do. If you plan on towing a boat, look for a policy that incorporates protection for a towed vehicle. If you already have a policy but you aren't sure if it covers road towing, call your insurance company and ask. Better yet -- check the fine print of your policy yourself.


Sometimes when people talk about boat towing insurance, they're talking about the kind you use when your boat needs rescuing while it's in the water. This can be an especially expensive service because of certain laws. These laws were passed to attach a monetary incentive to encourage people to risk their lives and boats to save stranded boaters [source: BoatUS].

Because it can be pricey to get your boat rescued while it's in the water, getting the right type of boat towing insurance can be a wise choice. There are two varieties: towing and salvage. Simple towing insurance refers to more minor incidents like when a boater runs out of gas and must be towed to shore. Salvage insurance usually refers to more dangerous incidents [source: BoatUS]. Towing is charged by the hour, whereas salvage recovery can be charged as a percentage of a boat's value. Some policies may cover either towing or salvage, and some cover both.

As we've seen, knowing how to tow a boat involves more than just getting the right kind of hitch. For everything you've ever wanted to know about towing -- and some stuff you didn't think you should know --explore the links below.


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More Great Links


  • "Boat Towing Insurance - All You Need to Know About Boat Towing Insurance!" [Oct. 15, 2008]
  • Bayliner. "Tow Guide." Bayliner, 2006. [Oct. 15, 2008]
  • BoatUS. "State Trailering Laws." BoatUS. [Oct. 15, 2008]
  • BoatUS. "Towing vs. Salvage: it really pays to know the difference." Boat/US Magazine. Bnet. March, 2006. [Oct. 15, 2008]
  • BoatUS. Towing vs. Salvage." BoatUS. [Oct. 15, 2008]
  • CA DMV. "Towing Your Trailer Safely." California Department of Motor Vehicles. [Oct. 15, 2008]
  • Smith, Bruce W. "The Complete Guide to Trailering Your Boat." McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007. [Oct. 15, 2008]
  • Woodward, Whitney. "Gov. Easley vetoes bill to ease boat towing rules." WRAL. Aug. 17, 2008. [Oct. 15, 2008]