Other than your home or college education, your automobile may be the most expensive thing you own. You pay the loan every month and have it serviced regularly. At one time cars were luxuries but with the new commutes to work, they are a necessity. You take your time and research different insurance companies to ensure you have the right insurance at the right price. You do not like surprises.
Now what about your watercraft? A personal watercraft means just as much to the owner as the larger power boat does to its owner. These are luxuries. One person may just be able to afford a one or two-seater Jet Ski and another person can afford the party boat on pontoons. You simply do not want to miss the boat on insuring your pleasure crafts.
Not all states or municipalities require marine insurance. However, can you imagine if you were pulling a water skier who had an accident and was seriously injured? How would you cover their medical bills? Would you have to sell everything you own just to contribute?
Think about your speedboat accidentally bumping into a slow-moving sailboat. Do you have enough cash reserves to purchase a new boat for the injured party as well as paying any medical bills or loss of wages?
You can gamble on never having a claim. What percentage of people who visit Las Vegas or Atlantic City go home as winners. The chips are actually against you. The U.S. Coast Guard published their statistics for 2014 which showed that there were 4515 accidents that involved 651 deaths, 3000 injuries and approximately $38 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
What boat insurance do you need?
Ideally, the best place to get educated about boat insurance is from Mariners Insurance Group, a local independent insurance agent who writes a good deal of these types of policies. Liability for a large vessel is dramatically different from that of a SeaDoo. Those who house kayaks, canoes and other non-motorized vehicles in their garages may be under the impression that their home owners or renters’ policy covers liability and damages. You know what happens when you assume! It is smart to always check.
Liability Insurance for boats: This should cover medical bills for anyone injured where you are at fault. This person can be riding with you or was in the other vessel. The insurance will pay for the damages you did to another’s property. This can include the boat itself or even a dock. It will cover damages to your boat when you are at fault and can include your trailer and any other property damaged by you.
Is this it? No, this is the basic policy that every boat owner should have. If you want to stack the deck in your favor it is also recommended that you carry uninsured boat owner insurance. Similar to an automobile policy, this protects you in every way when you are involved in an incident with a party who did not have enough sense to buy their own insurance.
Other considerations: You may say that you are a careful operator and everyone in your boat wears a life jacket. Incidents are not always your fault. If you leave your boat in a marina, that marina may have insurance restrictions prior to your getting your slip. Bad weather can harm boats in marinas and they want to be sure they are not held liable. If you have financed your motorized water craft, the bank or lender will insist that you have full coverage. Even docks along your vacation route may require to see your certificate of insurance before they grant docking rights.
Is boat insurance expensive?
Boat insurance does not have to be expensive. Your local agent can look around and see which carriers are offering discounts. It is also possible for your agent to determine if you qualify for a multi-use discount if you use the same carrier for your home or auto. Count on your local agent to ensure that you are protected for the risks involved in boating, from liability claims to theft, vandalism, storm damage and even capsizing. Enjoy your fun in the sun without worrying about liability or insurance.