There may still be a chill in the air, but warmer temperatures are not that far away. Whether you are ready to buy a new boat right now or just starting to explore your options, you’re going to want to visit at least one of the many boat shows taking place in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. this time of year. Don’t waste a second shopping for a new watercraft that could otherwise be spent on the water. Read on to learn our tips for finding the right boat as quickly as possible so that you can make the most of this summer.
First: Determine Your Budget
Before you can do anything else, you must establish how much you are willing to spend on the boat of your dreams. Will you be paying cash, finance your entire purchase or some combination of the two? If you need a loan to buy your boat, you could wait to apply for in-house financing once you find a watercraft at the boat show, or you could shop around for more favorable terms and rates before the show to save money and expedite the purchase process.
Next: Choose Your Boat
You don’t have to shop around for long before you realize there is a seemingly endless selection of boat types sold in the U.S. There are also many dynamics at play regarding which boat is right for you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I be engaging in a specific activity from my boat, such as fishing or skiing?
- Will I need to carry several passengers or only my immediate family?
- Where will I keep my boat when it’s not in use?
- How much am I willing to spend on maintenance and repairs?
Some boats have dedicated features designed for specific purposes. Bass boats, for example, feature live wells, anglers’ chairs, and outboard motors that can be lifted for fishing in shallow waters. Ski boats have the power and structure to pull skiers and wake-boarders from the water quickly. On the other hand, pontoons and runabouts are more versatile and suitable for boaters who want a more diverse experience. Just be careful not to buy more boat than you actually need. Large boats carry more passengers, but they are also more challenging to pilot, difficult to transport, more costly to fuel, and sometimes more expensive to store.
Then: Choose New or Used
Boat shows are filled with aisles and aisles of new boats. When you buy new, you have the option to customize your watercraft, and your purchase is likely to be covered by a warranty. Buying used, on the other hand, may save a few thousand dollars on the price, but it could increase your risk of spending thousands more in repairs and additional maintenance.
Finally: Get Insurance
Boat insurance is often overlooked by first-time buyers – especially when it is not ‘required’ or when the owner believes home insurance will cover any damages and liabilities. The truth is all boat owners need boat insurance, even if their home insurance offers limited watercraft coverage. Boat insurance is much more extensive than watercraft coverage in a home insurance policy since it is personalized for your unique needs and risks. Not to mention, most home insurance only covers small non-motorized or low-horsepower boats, which is probably not what you are in the market for.
A boat policy should cover:
- Physical damages
- Passenger injuries
- Special equipment
- Emergency assistance
- And more
Before you make your purchase, contact the team here at Homewood Insurance Agency to request a free quote and find out how using an independent agent can help you save money on boat insurance.