Warmer weather means more boats on the water, but particularly this year as so many people are flocking to their boats for distraction during the pandemic. However, every year those that own boats, jet skis, and other watercraft hit the water without insurance, putting themselves at risk.
Let’s look at the details of boat insurance and why in almost all cases you should definitely consider buying coverage.
What’s at Risk?
While boat insurance isn’t legally required in Rhode Island, your lender or marina may require it. Even if they don’t, you should understand what’s at risk and why it is highly recommended.
You’ll Pay Out-of-Pocket
Some boaters believe the chances of an accident are slim and even if they had a minor accident they could handle the cost of repairs. However, even a small collision would probably cost you much more than the cost of a policy. Since you probably invested a pretty penny in your boat already, it doesn’t make sense to scrimp now.
Additionally, you may also be held responsible for damage to other people’s property. Consider how much it would cost if you sank someone’s boat or caused considerable damage. You’d need to pay out of pocket for their salvage or repairs on top of your own.
Accidents don’t always involve another boat either. You could damage a dock, boat ramp, boat house, or other structure and be held responsible for repair or replacement. However, physical damage is often the lesser expense if you ever have an accident.
You’re Jeopardizing Your Future
If you’re an uninsured boater and you’re involved in an accident that leads to injuries you could be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without liability coverage, you’ll pay out of pocket for medical expenses, settlements, lawyer fees, and court costs on top of any physical damage. Payment of these expenses would affect your assets and your future earnings.
Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Offers Little or No Protection
Most policies only provide limited coverage for damage or vandalism for crafts with engines with less than 75 horsepower. The typical policy limit is around $1,000.
If you own an old canoe or kayak, that might protect you, but more than likely you’ll need a standalone boating insurance policy. Some policies exclude watercraft completely.
You Have Coverage Options
Insurers offer comprehensive and named-perils boating insurance. Both provide liability coverage, but comprehensive insurance is much more inclusive.
Rates are calculated in much the same way as when you buy auto insurance. The make and year of the boat and the type of coverage you choose affects how much you pay. You can customize your policy and include coverage for your trailer too, if you wish.
If you have a good driving record, you may enjoy a lower premium as the insurance company may consider you lower risk. You may also be able to bundle your boat insurance policy with other insurance policies for a discount.
If you’re interested in a quote, or if you’d like us to review your existing policies to ensure that you’re adequately covered, contact us today.