If you live near the coast, a large lake, or another body of water, you are probably well aware that summer is fast approaching. This means taking the boat out for family time, fishing, and water sports. It is important to make sure everything is in order before you set sail. Most of the essentials include making sure the boat actually runs, the lights work, the horn functions properly, and you have enough life jackets. These are some of the items you may consider first, but is your boat insurance a top priority? It should be, and so should the coverages that are on your policy! Make sure you have the coverages you and your family need so you can hit the water with confidence this summer! Confidence in your insurance that is!
Basic coverages of a typical boat insurance policy
- Collision Damage
- Additional coverages are available that will pay for the clean-up after the accident.
- Property Damage Liability
- Covers damage that you may cause to someone else’s boat or property. This includes damage done to a dock or other structure.
- Bodily Injury Liability
- This covers injury you cause someone else while you are operating your boat. In the event you injure someone and are found legally liable, this coverage will pay for medical expenses, lost income, and other legal expenses incurred.
- Comprehensive Coverage
- Comprehensive coverage is there for damages that occur to your boat from an incident other than a collision. Such incidents can include vandalism, a tree falling on the boat, or the boat itself being stolen.
How the coverages work
- If you are at fault for the damage caused to someone else or that person’s boat, then the “liability” portions of the policy such as property damage liability and bodily injury liability will pay for those damages.
- If you are injured or your boat is damaged in an accident where you are NOT liable, then the other person’s insurance will cover the damages.
- In the event, the damage is caused or someone is injured, a boat policy will only pay for damages up to the specified limit of the policy.
Additional coverages that can be purchased for your boat insurance policy
Again, depending on the company you have your insurance with, there may be more options than these available.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Boater Coverage
Depending on the company that your policy is with, this coverage may come standard. This coverage is there for you if a boater who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance hits you. It will cover items such as lost wages, medical bills, etc.
- Wreckage Removal
If the removal of a sunken vessel is required by law, then this coverage will pay for the retrieval of that vessel.
- Water Sports Coverage
This pays for any damages to property or injuries to others while skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, tubing, etc.
- Coverage for Fishing Equipment and Other Items
Fishing equipment includes rods and reels, while other items include those that you would typically bring onto a boat such as, cell phones, scuba gear, and more.
***These coverages are optional and generally do not come standard on a basic boat insurance policy.
“I thought my boat was covered on my homeowner's policy???”
Your homeowner's policy will typically cover the liability on a smaller horsepower boat but generally, will not cover any physical damage unless the boat is scheduled on the policy. Like everything, these rules depend on different factors, so it is important to check with your agent to find out if you are covered before you hit the water!
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