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Store your watercraft, not your coverage

A forklift operator, a family of mice and few hundred wasps walk into a watercraft storage facility …

That may sound like the setup to a bad joke, but there was nothing funny about the damage one forklift operator, a few mice and a whole lot of wasps inflicted on three different boats stored for the offseason. And if there were a punch line, it would have been that there is no “offseason,” at least not from a protection perspective.

The good news is that you can be confident when you put your boat away—whether it’s for the offseason, a deployment or any other period of extended storage. Keeping your coverage all year long can insulate you from unexpected repair bills resulting from surprises that can happen even in the most secure, professional storage facility.

Most boats aren’t built to bounce like that

Take the case of a Progressive customer who kept his $90,000 Chaparral Bowrider “high and dry” in a storage facility to keep it, well, high and dry.

Thankfully, he also kept Total Loss Replacement (TLR) coverage on his boat year ’round. Because when a forklift operator accidentally dropped his boat 25 feet into the water, bouncing it off a retaining wall and effectively sinking it, his TLR coverage kicked in and he got another boat valued at the same price.

It must’ve been a rude awakening for these critters

As for the mice and wasps, it seems like there’s nothing cozier than a boat in storage.

Consider the seemingly harmless mice who built their nest in one customer’s Mercury outboard cylinder one winter. While putting the boat back in the water in the spring, the unsuspecting owner started the engine only to have the compressed mouse nest bend a rod and damage the engine block. But, because he kept his coverage active, he got a check for the approximately $6,000 in damage.

(Side note: The owner also topped his boat with a fitted cover—always a smart move. No, a cover can’t prevent all damage. But imagine what the mice could have done to the rest of the boat if left uncovered!)

Similarly, another customer went to start his boat after being in storage (again, with a fitted cover) only to learn that some enterprising wasps built a nest inside the air intake. After he cranked the engine, it gobbled up the nest—wasps, dirt and all—causing around $6,000 worth of damage. Like his fellow boater with the mouse house, he kept his coverage throughout the year, so we paid for the entire repair.

Keep your coverage active, but follow proper storage and winterization techniques, too

While these boaters took the right steps to reduce the risk of damage (indoor storage, fitted covers), each one chose to stay covered even in the offseason. Take control of the unpredictable and keep your watercraft coverage active all year long.

And while all-year coverage is the ultimate protection plan, you can take additional steps to protect your watercraft if you store it during the cold weather months.

Check out these winterizing tips from our friends at Discover Boating to learn how to prepare your watercraft for winter so it’s ready to hit the water come spring.

*Note: These are unusual scenarios, and each claim is different. Coverage is provided according to the terms of your policy, and deductibles apply. But, as you can see, it’s always a good idea to keep your coverage in place.