There is good news and bad news for high-performance powerboat owners looking to insure their rides. The good news? If your boat tops out at 100 mph, it's never been easier to find insurance for it. The bad news? If your boat exceeds 150 mph, it's never been tougher. That's the word from Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance, a brokerage firm that works with several insurance company underwriters to cover go-fast boats, in Tustin, Calif.
"The bar has been raised, in a good way, for boats that top out at 100 mph," Wozencraft says. "Ten years ago, finding insurance for a boat that went 100 mph was like finding insurance for a boat that goes 150 mph today. But now it's a lot easier—I have seven insurance companies that will work with me on policies for those boats. But for the boats that run over 150, 160 mph. I have just two companies who are even willing to consider it, and even then it's tough. The insurance outlets for the fastest boats are extremely limited."
Wozencraft provided a rough sketch of what owners of go-fast boat owners can expect to pay for insurance—liability and physical damage—in premiums per year. For boats that top 150 mph, the costs run $10,000 and up. For boats in the 140-mph range, the costs run $7,000 to $8,000. Insurance for boats that run in the 130- and 120-mph range typically costs $4,000 to $5,000 and $4,000 to $3,000 respectively. The insurance bargain area, so to speak, is for boats that run from 75 to 100 mph, where annual costs can be as low as $1,000 to $1,500 per year. Of course, experience, loss history, age of the operator, driving record and many other factors will determine what the final premium will be.
"If they have good experience, I can get it that low," Wozencraft says. "And that includes catamarans."
Considering that the majority of performance boats fall in that 75- to 100-mph range—despite that the fastest-of-the-fast boats command the spotlight they are not "the majority"—that annual cost for insurance is relatively mild, even comparable with automobile insurance rates according to Wozencraft. But regardless of their boats' top speed, owners can improve their odds of finding insurance by getting educated.
"This isn't to say there aren't other courses out there, but the Tres Martin course is now widely recognized with carriers as valuable," Wozencraft says. "A full day in the classroom where the students have to pass a test at the end of the day and a full day on the water—that's one thing that really sets the Tres Martin course apart. A lot of carriers won't even write insurance for boat owners unless they've taken it. That's just the way it is."
Editor's note: This is the first installment of "Wozencraft's Insurance Corner," a new monthly feature on speedonthewater.com.