Serial boat owner Drew Maglio shares his experiences with Progressive boat insurance and how to get the best out of your cover with them…
Over my boating lifetime, I have used and/or sought quotes from many different insurers for my various power and sailing vessels, including SkiSafe (underwritten by Geico), BoatUS, Allstate, State Farm, Progressive, NBOA, and other more obscure and niche maritime entities.
That was until I bought an 1987 Ericson 38-200 sailboat in the fall of 2018 and needed an affordable, but reputable, insurer.
Upon submitting quotes to various boat insurance agencies, who all seemed to use a common underwriter (which is common practice for the maritime insurance industry), I quickly grew disheartened as quote after quote came back in the >$2,500/year range for even relatively sparse and basic coverages.
And then out of sheer exasperation, I submitted a quote request to Progressive boat insurance.
Much to my surprise they offered coverage for $1,200/year with customizable coverage options on an ‘agreed-upon value’ policy that included Progressive’s newly-minted ‘Sign & Glide’ on-water towing and roadside-assistance program.
Coming in both cheaper and more comprehensive than the competition, I switched to Progressive boat insurance and four boats later, I haven’t looked back.
Who are Progressive boat insurance?
Progressive Mutual Insurance Company opened its doors in 1937, when two burgeoning lawyers, Joseph Lewis and Jack Green, sought to offer automotive vehicle owners security and protection and decided an insurance company was a wise investment towards this end.
In the years since, Progressive has become one of the world’s largest and most reputable, multinational insurers, with a wide variety of offerings for renters, homeowners, drivers, motorcyclists, and boaters alike.
What does Progressive boat insurance cover?
Perhaps my favorite feature about Progressive as a maritime insurer, is the flexibility and customization its online portal affords its clients.
With Progressive, you can quite literally, craft a policy with basically as much or as little coverage desired – all while seeing in real time, the effect of each coverage on the overall premium.
Progressive boat insurance offers coverage for liability (including bodily harm, environmental damage, and property damage) with limits up to $1,000,000 for my relatively typical 25’ powerboat.
In terms of protecting your boat, Progressive offers both ‘agreed value’ and ‘market value’ options – the latter contributing to a cheaper premium.
For boaters conducting a refit aimed at increasing a vessel’s value, Progressive has allowed me – on numerous occasions and without the need for a survey – to increase the insured value of my vessel as I made repairs, renovations, and added various pieces of equipment.
While Progressive boat insurance may ask for pictures and receipts to payout a claim in the event of a total or partial loss, they did not require information beyond a list with pricing of various components and procedures to increase the insured value of my 1987 Ericson 38-200 sailboat, as I substantially increased its value by refitting it after a lightning strike during 2018-19.
Unlike many other boat insurers, Progressive also seldom requires a survey to insure a recently purchased vessel in so far as it is currently insured upon acquisition.
Making a claim with Progressive boat insurance
From personal experience I can similarly (and unfortunately) vouch for the veracity of Progressive’s ‘Sign & Glide’ on-water towing and roadside assistance service, as I required a tow in the spring of 2019 when Walden, my Ericson 38-200, became disabled after its diesel engine stalled upon entering a calm inlet after beating to weather for three hours, on Charlotte Harbor during a springtime gale.
This cost me roughly $900, and despite not following Progressive’s instruction to call their national dispatch center – instead opting to call BoatUS via VHF radio and initially pay out of pocket – Progressive promptly and without a fuss, reimbursed me for the full amount of the tow.
The next year there was a marginal increase (roughly $35) in my premium, but the incident – which required Progressive to pay out nearly a full year’s rate in one instance – had no further repercussions.
Unlike many other maritime insurers, Progressive tends to have fairly relaxed requirements for boaters – and yet offers various discounts for those possessing advanced licenses and certifications.
Where can I take my boat?
Navigational limits for my current 25’ single-engine powerboat, with a premium of around $450, are 75 miles offshore from the ‘Lower 48’ United States mainland.
For Walden (or 25’ or larger power boats with multiple engines), Progressive boat insurance offered Bahamas coverage as well for a very modest fee, which also raised the limits to 150 miles offshore of a contiguous United States shore or Bahamian island.
Progressive boat insurance will likely not be suitable for Bluewater sailors, but potential clients should call to be sure.
Another thing to note: Progressive offers additional (optional) coverages for uninsured boaters, medical payments, electronics, fishing gear, and personal effects.
Additionally, Progressive offers mechanical insurance (depending on the age of one’s vessel), coverage against named storms with a provision for an emergency haul out if choses – and even coverage against ice damage for boaters that live in more temperate climes.
Of course, selecting more coverage with higher insured values raises your premium exponentially, but the competitive advantage that Progressive boat insurance offers as far as I can tell is its customizability, which allows for tailor-made insurance policies with as much or as little coverage as needed or required.