Watercraft and Boat Insurance

My life, my love and my lady is the sea

Humans have always sought the water – for exploration, trade, or to totally rock an innertube over the waves on Memorial Day Weekend. Boats, Yachts, and personal watercraft (Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, Wave Runners, etc.) can be a lot of fun – and they can bring people together. Which makes it even more important that they are sufficiently insured.

Does Watercraft Insurance include Boat Insurance and Jet Ski Insurance?

Watercraft Insurance is an umbrella term for Boat Insurance, Yacht insurance, and Personal Watercraft (Jet Ski) insurance. Most insurers define a yacht as a boat 27′ or longer (197′ is when it becomes a ship!), but the most common option is boat insurance in Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming.

Most states don’t require watercraft insurance, but there are still a lot of reasons its a good idea. Being on the water has inherent risks that can open a boat owner up to liability, in the form of damage to your boat, damage to someone else’s boat or property, or personal injury or death.

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Boat Insurance operates a lot like car insurance, in that it combines coverage for both the property (your boat) and any liability you may have in an accident, either to someone else’s property, watercraft, or bodily injury.

Like Comprehensive/Collision coverage in an auto policy, costs to repair damage from theft, vandalism, collisions, or striking submerged objects will be covered once a deductible is met. You are covered even in the off-season and when your boat is in storage.

If the boat is totalled, Actual Cash Value (ACV) policies will pay what the boat is worth minus depreciation, while Agreed Value policies will usually reimburse owners at closer to the true replacement cost of the craft.

Boat Liability insurance covers anyone who is on your boat or skiing behind it. Accidents happen on the water, and even if you aren’t at fault in a collision, legal fees or medical expenses can pile up faster than the liable party is willing to pay. Your liability insurance can cover the legal fees, and Bodily Injury coverage will help any injured party get care as quickly as possible.

You can add all kinds of optional coverages to boat insurance – including protection for personal items on the boat that might get lost or stolen (Phones, iPads, Coolers); Specialty Insurance for particularly costly add-on accessories or parts (like a wakeboard tower or propreller); boat trailer insurance; and ice/freezing coverage – there is even an aquatic equivalent to roadside assistance.

What does Jet Ski Insurance Cover?

Jet ski Insurance covers the same things as boat insurance – Bodily Injury, Legal Liability, Property Damage and Theft – but because the risks and costs on a personal water craft are unique, rates are calculated on a different scale than for boat insurance.

What Does Yacht Insurance Cover?

Yachts are a whole different…boat. Large boats have very different concerns than pleasure boats, and depending on their allowed navigational territory, they will usually be covered by a specialty insurer. Yachts travel farther and for longer than smaller boats do, and those that leave sight of the shore and venture into international waters must be insured according to Maritime Law. There are special policies necessary to make sure the crew is insured and in accordance with the Jones Act, and that you have Longshoremen and Harbor Worker’s coverage. And on top of it all, yachts just generally tend to be much more expensive than pleasure boats, so their policies are more expensive.

Does my homeowner’s policy cover my boat or personal watercraft?

Homeowner’s policies may provide some damage protection to specified watercraft, but there are always exceptions and every policy is different. If your watercraft has more than 25 HP, you should check with an insurance agent to see how well you are actually covered, and whether you need any supplemental insurance or an entirely separate policy. If you are operating in a popluar areas or ever have people outside your family on board, an increased liability coverage is recommended.

Can I cancel my policy in the off season?

You can – but it isn’t recommended. Most policies take lay-up time into consideration, and will often lower rates to reward continuous coverage. Theft, fire, vandalism and snow can still result in damages in the offseason, and your homeowner insurance policy will have much more limited payouts than your watercraft insurance.

It’s best to talk to an experienced, trusted agent to get advice on what Boat Insurance is best for you!

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