At present, there is no legal requirement to carry boat insurance. However, not having any coverage in the event of an accident may leave you vulnerable to being sued, especially in this particularly litigious world that we are living in.
There are several types of insurance that you can take out; from dinghy insurance on a smaller boat to more complicated and detailed policies for those who venture further out into the ocean, partake in more dangerous activities and perhaps even need to protect paying charter customers.
Each policy, even cheaper more basic policies, should cover several areas. The value of the boat and whether it will be repaired or replaced and under what circumstances should make up the first paragraph or section. After that, some kind of third party insurance should be included, just in case your boat causes injury or damage to another person or vessel – much like third party motor vehicle cover. These two points should be on all policies to ensure that you do not leave anyone in discomfort or distress should you be deemed responsible for an accident or error, and to ensure that you are able to keep boating without bankrupting yourself! Charter boats will need public liability coverage, and deep sea fishing expeditions that go far off-shore may need special clauses written into their policies – some insurers may have a standard distance from shore that their customers are allowed to venture
More detailed and expensive contracts may go on to detail what level on medical care will be covered and for what duration. No-one wants to think of death and sorrow while out boating for pleasure, but make sure you ask your marine insurance broker about what financing will be made available in the event of someone dying on the trip. Damage or destruction of personal property is another point to raise – marine policies may not cover it, and your household policy may well have an exclusion if the items are not physically in the home. If you want your clothing and equipment to be covered, make sure it is mentioned in the paperwork! This especially holds true of pricey fishing gear, which is often lost overboard in the struggle to land a big fish.
Look for clarity in the wording of boating policies. Some parents have been horrified after accidents to find that their children's injuries are not covered. This is because, hidden deep in the fine print of some policies, children under the age of eighteen are not covered in any way – despite it being a 'family' policy. Make sure that you know exactly what you and your loved ones are entitled to in the event of such a disaster occurring while on holiday or simply messing about in boats.
- Boating coverage is not required by state or federal law, but it is a very sensible precaution to take out some kind of policy.
- Compare several quotes from different companies, including online ones which can offer excellent rates.
- Ask your broker about exactly what you are, and are not, covered for.