What is Boat Owners' Insurance 

Boat owners’ insurance provides coverage for individuals who own and operate a boat or personal watercraft. Insurance may be purchased for sailboats, houseboats and others.

Boat owner’s insurance covers the boat and also the items needed to operate the boat safely, such as life vests, oars and anchors. Boat owners can also purchase additional coverage for electronic equipment, such as televisions, GPS and radios, as well as equipment commonly associated with boats, such as snorkels or SCUBA gear.

The coverage provided by watercraft insurance varies according to the type of watercraft being insured. This is because different types of watercrafts carry different risks. For example, a small sailboat most likely does not carry the same risks as a multi-passenger larger pontoon boat.

A few states require liability coverage on certain types of boats, such as powerboats with more than 50 horsepower, or on boats used in state parks or kept in state-run marinas. Boat owners should check their local and state requirements.

 

There are medical riders that can be purchased separately for passengers but these typically have thresholds of $10,000 per claim. Insurers are hesitant to offer these policies given the potential for increased fraud.

 

The boat owner needs to know what questions to ask when investigating policies. For instance, many policies will not pay for the removal of a wrecked boat. The policy typically covers the cost of replacing the boat but not the actual cost of towing or debris removal.

The Coast Guard no longer offers towing assistance if they determine there is no danger to lives or property. The cost of towing by a commercial marine towing service averages as high as $150 per hour, from the time the towing begins until the boat is brought to its dock or nearest port.

Possible Changes Coming 

 

A boating accident in Minnesota in 2018 brought awareness and possible changes to the limitations of boat insurance when it comes to personal liability. A passenger was maimed in a boating accident only to discover she was not covered by the boat owner’s policy. Unlike with automobile liability insurance, where everyone in the vehicle is covered, boating insurance does not necessarily cover the passengers.

Furthermore, the growing popularity of a variety of new boats, including paddle boarding and kayaking, raises concerns about what kind of boats should carry boat owners’ insurance. Boat owners’ insurance does not usually cover kayaks, canoes or personal watercrafts (PWSs).

What is Watercraft Insurance 

Watercraft insurance is an insurance policy that provides coverage for boats and personal watercraft. Watercraft insurance, also known as boat and personal watercraft insurance, often includes towing and wreckage removal, as well as fuel spill indemnification. This type of insurance may be purchased for sailboats, house boats, and pontoon boats, as well as other watercraft up to a certain size and value.

 

Watercraft insurance coverage and the types of coverage available usually vary according to the type of watercraft being insured. This is because different types of watercrafts carry different risks. For example, a sailboat and a pontoon boat are characteristically different types of watercraft. Watercraft insurance does not provide liability coverage for injuries caused by the operation of the boat or watercraft.

In some cases, an individual’s homeowners policy may provide coverage for personal watercraft. If the watercraft is too expensive it may exceed the limits of the homeowners’ policy, but may fall under the limits of a watercraft insurance policy. These policies will still limit coverage to certain types of vehicles, often based on the length of the boat and the boat’s value.

 

Watercraft insurance policies may limit the areas that the boat or watercraft can be operated in while maintaining coverage. The geographic areas permitted are outlined in the policy language, but often include inland waterways, rivers and lakes, as well as ocean waters within a certain number of miles from shore.

 

The Role of Depreciation in Watercraft Insurance 

 

The amount of damage to a watercraft that is covered under the policy is also dependent on how the policy treats depreciation. In some cases, the boat or watercraft will have its value depreciated according to a set schedule, and the insurance policy will only pay up to the value that the boat is still worth. The policyholder may purchase additional coverage that provides for a replacement boat if the boat is within a certain number of years old.

Is Watercraft Insurance a Requirement? 

 

Watercraft insurance covers most watercraft with motors, including fishing boats, sailboats, pontoon boats, paddle boats, leisure crafts and yachts. Most states do not legally mandate that watercraft must be insured. To find out, go online to check your state’s watercraft titling and registration requirements. But even if your state doesn’t require insurance, your bank won’t give you a boat loan without it, and most marinas also require you to have watercraft insurance before they’ll rent you a slip or mooring.

Watercraft insurance usually does not cover canoes, kayaks, row boats or personal watercrafts such as jet skis. Personal watercrafts are generally defined as motorboats less than 16 feet in length that are powered by jet pumps, not propellers, where the persons stand, kneel, or sit on, rather than inside the boat.

The coverage provided by watercraft insurance varies according to the type of watercraft being insured. This is because different types of watercrafts carry different risks. For example, a small sailboat most likely does not carry the same risks as a multi-passenger larger pontoon boat.

Marie V. Berkey Insurance Agency, Inc.

 Independent Insurance Agency

21151 S. Western Ave., Suite 240

Torrance, CA  90501

Main Line:  310-421-9698

E-Fax:  310-388-0835  |  Cell:  310-383-1106

Lic. Nos.:  0G44971 & 0E01867

Email:  mberkey@mvbinsagency.com

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