TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2016
Unlike auto insurance, which every state requires at least liability coverage in case you do damage to someone else's property or cause injury, few states require that you have liability insurance for your boat. If you are financing your boat, you may be required by your bank to carry coverage for the boat in case of an accident causing damage to your boat. Your homeowner's policie generally is limited to boats under 16 feet with a small outboard and with very low value. Homeowner's policies don't provide the necessary coverage for different types of losses that may occur with a boat, such as salvage, wreck removal, or pollution liability. Boat insurance is designed with the specific needs required to protect the boater.
Liability insurance is important to protect you from being sued by another individual. For example, let's say you take a friend or neighbor out in your boat and come upon a large wake that slams your friend down against a hard object in the boat. Even if your friend says he's not injured, if it turns out later that he is, you could be sued and held liable for all the medical bills as well as payments for lost time from work and even pain and suffering. Your boat policy will provide coverage for this up to the liability limits on your policy.
Physical damage coverage for the vessel is generally required if you are financing the boat through a bank or credit union. This kind of coverage can protect your investment from damage or sinking due to a storm, fire, vandalism, or grounding.
Many policies also offer options that protect your personal items, such as watersports equipment and fishing gear. Non-emergency towing coverage is also important to have in the event of a breakdown.
Even if your boat is worth very much, it is wise to consider purchasing liability insurance. A collision with a another boat or jetski can cause serious injuries, and even if you are found not liable for those injuries, it could cast a significant amount of money in legal fees to defend yourself agains such claims.
Boat insurance is flexible, so you can buy the kind of policy that fits your needs and budget.