Picture this. You are spending a sunny afternoon on your boat at the lake with your family. Everyone is enjoying themselves when all of a sudden something goes wrong. You lose control of your boat and smack collide with another boat. It was a pure accident but now both boats have rather large dents and some of your passengers are feeling a bit of pain from the collision. Now what?

Well, if you do not have boat insurance this could be an expensive accident. Not only do you need to fix your boat, but you could be liable to fix the other boat and reimburse medical expenses for your passengers. If you do have boat insurance however, this situation could be covered.

What is boat insurance?

Boat insurance is coverage for your boat, passengers, personal possessions, and yourself. It can provide coverage in the event of an accident and help protect you financially from any liability you may have.

What does boat insurance cover?

Boat insurance coverage options depend on many factors including your carrier and state laws. Some coverage options could include:

Bodily Injury Liability. This coverage can help pay for injuries to others from a covered accident if you are found to be legally liable. It can also help with any lawsuit that arises from a covered loss.

Property Damage Liability. This coverage can help pay for property damage to others from a covered accident if you are found to be legally liable. This coverage can also help up to the limits of your liability coverage for fuel spills that result in property damage if you become legally responsible as a result of an accident.

Medical Payments. This coverage may cover medical expenses caused by an accident incurred while on, boarding, leaving, or being towed behind an insured watercraft – regardless of who is at fault.

Uninsured/Underinsured Boaters Bodily Injury. This coverage may cover medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages owed to you by an uninsured/underinsured boater, or a hit-and-run boater.

Uninsured/Underinsured Boaters Property Damage. This coverage may cover damages to your watercraft caused by an uninsured/underinsured boater, or a hit-and-run boater.

Collision. This coverage can pay for damage to your watercraft if you hit another watercraft or object, another watercraft hits you, or your watercraft rolls over.

Comprehensive. This coverage can help pay for damage to your watercraft from vandalism, theft, weather events, and accidents involving animals.

Personal Effects. This coverage can provide coverage for the loss of, or damage to, personal property while onboard your watercraft, or while being carried on or off. Boat hoists and lifts may also be covered.

Fishing Equipment. This coverage protects fishing gear and equipment used in the legal sport of fishing. Items include, but are not limited to, rods, reels, lures, tackle boxes, and electronic gear used to locate fish.

Mechanical Breakdown Coverage. This coverage can apply when sudden and accidental damage to the boat’s machinery from an internal cause occurs. This coverage is important because it protects you where a typical boat policy would not.

Salvage Coverage. This coverage can help with the rescue costs of a boat that is taking on water and is in danger of sinking. This can apply to the reasonable cost of the salvage.

Wreck Removal. This coverage provides for the costs when you are legally required to remove your boat if it sinks.

Roadside Assistance. This coverage provides towing to your nearest qualified repair facility. It may also provide necessary labor at the time and place of disablement when the tow vehicle or watercraft trailer is disabled while transporting your insured watercraft.

For all of the above coverages, a discussion with a licensed agent is the best way to ensure you are covered for everything you need and to make sure that you are fully protected. Coverages will vary based on carrier and state laws.

Am I required to have boat insurance?

Not all states require boaters to have boat insurance, but that does not mean you should go without it. Owning and operating a boat can come with many risks. Even if you are not worried about theft or damage to your boat or the contents, you are exposed to liability risks. Without enough liability coverage, you put your passengers’ and your own life savings at risk. In addition to this, your lending institution or marina may require you to hold some level of insurance even if your state does not.

What goes into the cost of boat insurance? 

The cost of boat insurance depends on many factors such as:

  • Length of the boat
  • Replacement value of the boat
  • Type, make, and model of the boat
  • Age of the boat
  • Speed/Horsepower of the boat
  • Cruising area where you drive your boat
  • Coverage options that you choose
  • Boating and driving history
  • Boating safety courses you have taken

The cost of your boat insurance can also vary depending on your state laws and insurance carrier. You can also ask your agent about any discounts that your carrier may offer. Some carriers offer discounts such as multi-boat discounts, multi-policy discounts, or even discounts for having taken a boater safety course.

If you own or operate a boat, then boat insurance is a smart choice. There are a lot of options and considerations that come into play when choosing what type of coverage, you should have. Your Gannon Associates Insurance agent can help you navigate your options and determine what best fits your insurance needs. Give us a call today at 844-GANNONS to speak with one of our licensed agents.

This article is purely informational. Any policy language, coverages, exclusions, etc. will be dependent on your carrier and state laws. Contact your independent insurance agent to discuss your options and needs to get the right coverage.