Five Reasons to Consider an Extended Warranty on a Used Boat

If you’re considering a used boat that’s new enough to qualify for an extended boat warranty, it might be worth considering the extra expense. Here are five reasons you might be better off spending more money to get that extended warranty.

You are not handy

A wise Canadian fellow once told me, “If you can’t be good looking, you should at least be handy.” For good or ill, I am handy, but I have paid for extended warranties before and considered it money well spent. I can fix most mechanical objects I own, but not all of them. I am not afraid to admit defeat and say “uncle” when it comes to things that are over my head, so when it comes to stuff that baffles me, I pony up for an extended warranty.

Weigh your own skills, time, and money against the complexity of systems on the boat. The more complex they are, the more an extended warranty might make sense.
Weigh your own skills, time, and money against the complexity of systems on the boat. The more complex they are, the more an extended warranty might make sense.

Your boat has a litany of “systems”

A used runabout with a small-block Chevrolet is one thing — I can fix that pretty easily. A 40-foot cabin cruiser is quite another. When you start adding lots of systems to a boat, everything becomes that much more complex. I don’t know how to fix a macerator, nor do I want to. Yecch! Ask yourself if you’re prepared not just to replace a fuse or a wire terminal, but to troubleshoot and fix a complex marine electrical system. Or a heating and air-conditioning system. Those things require time, expertise, and money to repair, so insuring against those potential costs makes a lot of sense. The more complex the boat, the greater the need for an extended warranty.

You store your boat far from home

Let’s say live inland and you keep your boat on the coast. If something goes wrong with it, like, say, a bilge pump, you can get it taken care of by doing little more than making a phone call or two. Most boat mechanics like to be paid when repairs are completed, but not all of them are technically wired to accept payment from hundreds of miles away. Having an extended warranty can alleviate those payment concerns and eliminate the need to have to tend to the details yourself.

It’s a performance boat

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I used to be the editor for Powerboat magazine, which was billed as “the world’s leading performance boating magazine.” In the five years I edited that publication, we tested a few hundred boats and I can’t even tell you how many we broke, even though they were brand new. Things are better now, of course. Mercury Racing has done a lot to ensure the reliability of the products it offers, but the moment you attach a supercharger to a boat engine, things become more fragile. Repairs can be expensive because the components aren’t sold in the quantities that regular marine engine hardware is, so things can add up quickly.

You don’t have enough cash in reserve to cover expensive repairs

This is the part of the equation where you’ll have to get introspective. If something expensive on your boat breaks, do you have the financial wherewithal to shoulder the cost of repairs? If the answer is no, or even maybe no, then an extended warranty might be a good idea.

I’m not trying to sell you an extended warranty. I am trying to provide a little perspective as to whether you should consider one. In some instances, I buy them. In others, I don’t. It just depends on the circumstances. If you are in the market for an extended warranty, here’s a brief list of links to companies that might be able to help in addition to our Boat Warranty service page.
Mercury Marine
American Boating
NBOA Marine Insurance

Written by: Brett Becker

Brett Becker is a freelance writer and photographer who has covered the marine industry for 15 years. In addition to covering the ski boat and runabout markets for, he regularly writes and shoots for Based in Ventura, Calif., Becker holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in mass communication from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.


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