Is It Safe to Go Into the Water? Insuring Your Boat or Watercraft
Summer is here! People are out on their power boats, sail boats, jet skis, wave runners, and other types of personal watercraft having fun. But did you know these “water toys” have their own insurance exposures and you should make sure that you are properly covered for all of them.
Most Homeowners policies provide limited coverage for property damage for small boats such as canoes and small sail boats. Coverage is very limited (usually $1,000), and generally includes the boat, motor and trailer combined. Liability coverage is typically NOT included, but it can be added as an endorsement to a Homeowners policy. You should want to consider purchasing a personal watercraft policy to protect yourself and your water vehicle in the event of an accident.
Larger and faster boats, yachts, and personal watercraft such as jet skis and wave runners require a separate boat insurance policy. The size, type and value of the craft and the water in which you use it factor into how much you will pay for insurance coverage.
What Does a Personal Watercraft Policy Cover?
Bodily Injury: For injuries that you might cause to another person.
Property Damage: For physical damage that you might cause to someone else’s property.
Guest Passenger Liability: For legal expenses incurred by someone using your boat with your permission.
Medical Payments: For injuries to yourself or any other passengers.
Theft: If someone steals your boat or watercraft, whether on the trailer or not, typical policies include deductibles of $250 for property damage, $500 for theft and $1,000 for medical payments.
Liability limits start as low as $25,000 and can be increased to $1,000,000. Boat owners should also inquire about special equipment kept on the boat, such as fishing gear, to make sure it is covered and verify that towing coverage is included in the policy.
You can save money on your boat insurance by inquiring about the following discounts:
- Diesel powered craft, which are less hazardous than gasoline powered boats as they are less likely to explode.
- Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers.
- Ship-to-shore radios.
- Two years of claims-free experience.
- Multiple policies with the same insurer, such as auto, home or umbrella policy.
- Safety education courses, such as those offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Jet skis and wave runners are growing in both popularity and power. And with that growth, the risks associated with them have increased as well. Many people don’t think that they need to buy a separate policy for their wave runner, but this is not the case! These machines are very powerful and can cause severe injuries and property damage.
You are just as liable for damage you cause on the water as you are for damage you cause on land and/or on the highway!
When buying any type of personal watercraft policy, be sure to read the exclusions. Some common exclusions include:
- Striking a submerged object is a typical exclusion and a quite common cause of damage.
- Engine overheating due to an accidental cause is often excluded under some policies.
- Some policies have limits on theft or only provide coverage only when the jet ski is in a locked enclosure.
- Some programs have a catastrophe deductible, which applies whenever the watercraft is damaged in a windstorm, hurricane or other natural disaster.
Another important limitation involves operators of the watercraft. Many policies require operators to have a driver’s license. Some may not insure children on jet skis. For some high-powered jet skis, policies may limit coverage to a named driver. It is important to read your policy to ensure that you have purchased the coverage that you need.
Have questions or interest in personal watercraft insurance? Contact us today for a free quote. At United Agencies, we specialize in creating personal relationships with our customers, and serving their needs in a prompt, efficient and friendly manner.
Have fun and be safe out there!
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