Boat Insurance

Boat Insurance 101

The last of the cold fronts are making their way through and boating season is in full swing. Previously, we discussed a few tips for safe boating. Now, let’s cover boat insurance in the event you have an accident on the water. Boat insurance is very similar to your car insurance. Liability and physical damage are the two main sections of coverage in a boat insurance policy. 

boat insurance

Liability coverage is most commonly split into Bodily Injury and Property Damage limits. These coverage limits protect you when you are liable for another person’s injuries or damage to their property (boat, dock, etc.). Within the last month, there have been 3 major boating accidents on Sarasota Bay involving two or more vessels colliding with multiple people injured. In a situation like this without insurance, you could be paying out of pocket for the medical bills of the people injured and the costly expenses to repair or replace the other party’s boat.

On the other hand, if you’re involved in an accident where the other boater is at-fault and does not carry insurance but you do carry boat insurance. Your policy may include Uninsured Boater Coverage, similar to your auto insurance’s Uninsured Motorist. This coverage will help you recoup expenses for medical bills that have accrued due to a boat accident with an uninsured boater.

What may not be covered with the uninsured boater coverage is the damage to your vessel by the uninsured skipper. Damage sustained to your boat is covered by the policy’s Comprehensive or Collision Coverage. Again, similar to your vehicles coverage, this is protection for damage to your vessel. Comprehensive coverage is anything other than a collision and includes theft of the vessel. As well as theft of the additional items attached to your boat such as an electric trolling motor, power anchoring systems, and GPS/fish-finders.

A well covered policy will also include optional coverages that may be over looked. For instance, trailer coverage, on-water towing, personal items, fishing equipment, mechanical breakdown, and haul out coverage. These optional coverages provide protection for a trailer that may have been damaged from a hurricane or stolen while your boat was in storage. Also, your personal items, such as cell phones, sunglasses, and coolers that may have been lost or damaged in an accident.

A common misconception is boat insurance is very expensive. Compared to other common coverage premiums, boat insurance is on the lower end. With ever increasing boaters on the water, the chance of being involved in an accident increases. You may be a seasoned skipper, but that does not mean that everyone else is. Most states do not require boaters to take any training before operating a vessel or require the vessel owner to carry insurance. 

Whether you skipper the S.S. Minnow, The Black Pearl, or anywhere in-between, contact our office and rest easy knowing your floating pride and joy is protected.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raymond Killian.jpg

Raymond Killian is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Raymond is experienced in all lines of personal insurance.

5 Tips for Boating Safely this Summer

The weather is warming up and it’s time to hit the water.  With nearly 12 million registered recreational boats in the U.S., the waterways become a very busy destination.  Before you set sail with your friends and family, here are a few tips to keep everyone safe and enjoy your time on the water.

Life Jackets

When boating, it is required by law that you carry proper and enough life vests for all persons aboard your vessel.  Drowning is the cause of nearly 80% of fatalities in boating accidents. Of that, nearly 90% were not wearing a life jacket.  Insist that your crew accompanying you wear a life jacket that fits them properly.  Wearing a life jacket greatly increases your chance of survival if find yourself overboard.

Boating Safety Course

Taking a boater safety course is a great way to learn the finer details of safe boating.  Most courses can now be done online and for free.  They will cover everything from rules of the road and navigation, to proper life jackets and other required safety equipment.  Out of all boating fatalities, only 13% occurred on vessels where the skipper received a nationally recognized boating safety certificate.  Completing a safety course can also qualify you for discounts with most boat insurance carriers.

Free Vessel Safety Check

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer Vessel Safety Checks at no cost.  Their certified vessel examiners check your boat’s equipment and provide you information on where your vessel may be lacking.  Most local marinas and yacht clubs will have the information for your local Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron.

Watch the Weather

A smooth day on the water can quickly turn rough when the wind kicks up.  Always check the weather forecast before setting sail and keep a watchful eye for ever changing conditions.  If possible, operate your vessel on the leeward side of the bay, lake, or river in high wind situations.

File a Float Plan

A float plan is a detailed outline of your destination is for the day and your estimated return time.  Letting a friend or family member know where you will be boating and your estimated time of return is often overlooked safety item.  In emergency situations, this allows that person to notify the authorities of your expected location.  Remember to plan your float and float your plan.

With an ever-increasing number of boaters, these few tips will help assure that you have a safe and fun trip on the water.  To assure your vessel is not only inured, but insured correctly, reach out to office  and our team will guide you through the process.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raymond Killian.jpg

Raymond Killian is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Raymond is experienced in all lines of personal insurance.