Boat Insurance Agency: Independent Or Major Carrier?

Choosing a boat insurance agency has a serious effect on the coverage you get and your level of satisfaction in the event of a claim. While each agency is different, and the individual agent does go a long way in determining your level of satisfaction with the claim response and coverage you receive, the agency also matters.

The following are some considerations to make when choosing between independent and major carriers:

Choose a Reputable Carrier

Independent agents that specialize in marine insurance can be a great choice for insurance coverage for your boat. However, there are several concerns raised by going this route.

First, the agency may be so small that they are unable to cover claims or they may not really know much about Marine insurance.

If an agency is too small, then they may not be reputable. For example, they may be an agency that is more interested in collecting numerous clients than in providing excellent coverage.

The individual agent also makes a significant difference, whether the agent is independent or part of a large company.

Online or Brick and Mortar

There are a number of online agents selling marine insurance. These agencies may be reputable companies with a boat specialty, or they may be opportunistic agencies without scruples.

Some, however, are excellent specialty companies that would otherwise not have a way to reach a wide customer base.

These companies understand the complexities of insuring a boat, and are often a great place to start if you are new to boat insurance. They can explain all the different types of coverage and help you understand the risks and benefits of each type.

The other way to go is choosing a large, major insurance carrier that also writes marine insurance. These agencies usually have a physical location where you can sit down with a person and discuss your particular boat.

The agent can see the boat him or herself and can better give you advice on what coverage to purchase.


One of the advantages to a major carrier is that many provide a discount on your marine insurance if you also have your home and /or vehicles insured with them.

This is a benefit not generally available from an independent marine insurer.

There are other discounts that you can get from independent insurers, such as discounts for taking safe boating courses and safe driving record discounts.


With large agencies, the individual agent is likely to have many policies under development at any one time. Because of this, they are less dependent on your commission.

This may mean they give you better, unbiased advice regarding the type of coverage you need and the costs.

An independent agency may be more concerned about the cost, and may possibly sell you coverage that you don’t need in order to increase his or her commission on a policy.

Cost and Service

With an independent marine insurance company, you could pay lower premiums because the company has less overhead.

It’s possible that an independent agent will have access to insurance from several different carriers, and may be able to direct you to the specific carrier with the best price and coverage for your needs.

However, large agencies with a large number of policies may be able to offer lower rates based on the power of large numbers of policies mitigating the cost to individuals.

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