Will Boat Insurance Keep You Afloat?
Make Sure You Have Boat Insurance to Weather the Storm
If you enjoy fishing, sailing, yachting, or cruising around on a powerboat, make sure you have boat insurance that covers your liability risk as well as your watercraft, equipment and passengers. Perhaps you have a lake cabin and like to tow water skiers or tubing enthusiasts. Maybe you have the party boat and every Fourth of July you load up your vessel with guests, food and libations.
Water activities are a great way to bring people together, but it is important to remember that accidents, injuries and fatalities do happen, especially when alcohol is involved.
Critical Steps for Boater Safety
- Take a boating safety course
- Educate your passengers on safe boating techniques
- Make sure all passengers wear life vests
- Follow all rules of the waterway you frequent
- Stay sober, particularly if you are at the helm
- Get boat insurance to ensure you are protected for the risks involved in boating, from liability claims to theft, storm damage and capsizing
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
The exact boat coverage you need depends on multiple factors. Small boat insurance is very different from yacht insurance, for example. However, for most types of boats, the three kinds of coverage in a basic boat insurance policy include:
- Bodily injury liability for expenses related to the injury of another person
- Property damage liability for expenses related to harming another person’s property
- Physical damage for damage to your own property, including your boat and trailer.
You also may want to add additional types of coverage to your boat insurance policy in order to fully protect yourself and your property. Here are some examples of additional coverage:
- Property coverage for equipment such as tools, life preservers, anchors and oars
- Insurance for fishing equipment like your rods, lures, nets and tackle
- Towing coverage when your boat becomes disabled and needs servicing
- Medical payments coverage for hospital and funeral expenses for you or your passengers
- Uninsured/underinsured boaters coverage if you have an accident with another boater whose insurance is not sufficient to cover damages
As with all insurance, the amount of benefit or reimbursement you have in the event of an incident is set at the time you buy your policy. Be sure to talk with an experienced independent agent who can make sure you have sufficient insurance for the risks you encounter.
What Kinds of Boats Need to Be Insured?
You can insure just about any kind of vessel, whether you have a yacht, speed boat or personal watercraft (PWC) like a JetSki. Every type of boat has the potential to be stolen or damaged, and can be involved in an incident that results in harm to another person or their property. Even if your boat is docked or stored in your garage, it can potentially be vandalized, damaged in a fire or storm, or stolen.
Many owners of small watercraft such as canoes, rafts and kayaks assume they will be covered under a homeowners or renters policy. This may be the case, up to a specified limit in your home policy. However, when it’s time to make a claim, you don’t want to be surprised to find out that this limit is not adequate to cover the value of your investment.
Be sure to consider the amount of coverage you would need to repair or replace each of your boats and recreational vehicles if damaged or stolen and ask your agent to help you get the right coverage for those items.