How to protect yourself and your family if you own a boat!
One of the joys of summer for me is spending time on the water. There is nothing like wakeboarding, skiing or getting in some fishing on a Saturday afternoon. I’m sure many boat owners can relate to that. While being out on the water is one of the joys of summer, it also comes with some risks as well. Although boat insurance isn’t required by the state, it is something all boat owners should consider before heading to the lake.
First of all, home insurance policies are very limited when it comes to covering boats. Most will only pay $1,000 - $1500 to cover damage to your boat. If your boat got damaged, this coverage would only apply if the boat was at your house when the loss occurred. Chances are good that the boat will sustain the loss while you are on the lake, not when it is being kept at your house.
Boat policies can offer some pretty broad coverage for your boat. If you have a newer boat some companies will offer replacement coverage, which means that they will pay to replace your boat with a brand new boat that is a similar model if you have a total loss. There are also agreed value policies where the insured and company agree on an amount that the company will pay if there is a total loss. The last type of policy is Actual Cash Value or ACV. It pays fair market value for your boat at the time of loss.
The liability coverage on a boat policy is offered in increments similar to an auto policy. The liability would protect you if you caused injuries or damages to others with your boat. Some boat policies also offer uninsured/ underinsured boaters coverage which is also similar to an auto policy. If you were out on the lake and someone ran into your boat, this coverage would pay for damage to your boat and your injuries if the other party had no insurance or not enough to cover you.
Medical payment coverage covers you and your passengers that get hurt in the boat. If you do skiing and wake boarding, make sure it includes coverage for skiers.
You can also purchase coverage for you fishing equipment. Your home policy does cover fishing equipment, but it is subject to the deductible on your house policy. If you have a high deductible on your house, you most likely will not get paid anything if something happens to it. The fishing equipment coverage is very affordable. It would be wise to get it if you have equipment that would not be easy for you to replace .
The rate on boat insurance varies. It depends on the age and type of boat. Jet Skis are generally higher than boats because they have a higher frequency of accidents. Other factors that affect the rate are age and driving records of the listed operators, years of boating experience and some companies offer discounts for taking a boater’s safety course.
This is just a brief summary of some of the coverage a boat policy offers. Please contact us if you are a boat owner. We would be happy to explain your coverage and compare rates with your existing policy or, if you don’t have insurance, we would be glad to quote you. Remember boating is one of the joys of summer, but if you and your boat are not protected summer fun could turn into a nightmare.