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