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Unlike with car insurance, boat insurance is not required in the majority of states. In fact, as of this writing, only two states (Arkansas and Utah – see below for more information) have clear boat insurance requirements.
Even though you aren’t required to have boat insurance, it is highly recommended. Read more to learn about how boat insurance can benefit you.
When Boat Insurance Is Required
While most states do not require you to have boat insurance, you might find that there are certain situations that call for you to have your boat insured.
If you use your boat as collateral for a loan, your bank may require you to have insurance for the boat.
Also, you may be required to have boat insurance in order to dock your boat in certain marinas or harbors. Contact marina/harbor officials to learn more about their boat insurance requirements.
Home Insurance and Your Boat
One of the biggest reasons people might not purchase boat insurance is the misunderstanding that boats are covered under their home insurance policy.
While your home insurance policy may provide very limited coverage to smaller boats on your property, the general rule of thumb is most large items that have their own specific type of insurance available to them can only be covered by that specific insurance. So, if you have a boat, your best bet is to have it insured with boat insurance.
Boat Insurance Coverage
Because boat insurance is typically optional, your policy can be highly customizable. Generally speaking, boat insurance coverage categories include:
- Boat coverage.
- Medical coverage.
As careful as you may be while operating your boat, the fact remains that accidents happen.
If you are found to be at fault for an accident, you can be held responsible for certain costs associated with that accident.
Boat liability insurance can cover costs related to bodily injury and property damage suffered by others in a boating accident you cause.
Because boat insurance is optional, there is a chance you might find yourself involved in a crash caused by a boater who does not have boat liability insurance.
Your uninsured boat coverage can help with property damage and injuries you suffer in a collision caused by an uninsured boater.
There is no denying that your boat faces a lot of risks, and repairs to your boat can be costly.
Fortunately, there are boat insurance coverages that can help you get your boat fixed after it has been damaged.
Common types of boat coverages include:
- Collision – This will help with repairs to your boat after it is damaged in a collision.
- Comprehensive – This can help get your boat repaired if it is damaged in several types of non-collision-related incidents. For example, if your boat is damaged in a fire, this coverage can help cover the repairs.
- On-water towing – If your boat breaks down in the water, this coverage can help with towing.
Along with the risks your boat faces, your body also faces some risks when operating a boat.
Boat insurance medical coverages can help with costs related to injuries you may suffer in a boat crash.
NOTE: Consider your health insurance before purchasing medical coverages. You may find that your health insurance provides more than adequate coverage for boat-related injuries.
Purchasing Boat Insurance
Shopping for boat insurance can be very simple, especially with several companies allowing you to get boat insurance quotes online.
Before you purchase boat insurance, there are a few things you should take into consideration.
Do I Need Boat Insurance?
The easy answer is yes. Even though boat insurance is typically not required by law, it is highly recommended that you have your boat covered.
Keep in mind that boats and boat repairs are not cheap, and there are inherent risks to operating a boat that can be offset by a solid boat insurance policy.
You should also consider that if you are in a boat collision, your assets can be put at risk in a potential lawsuit. Liability boat insurance can help ease these risks.
In addition to the coverages listed above, several boat insurance companies offer other types of coverages. Before purchasing your boat insurance policy you should consider just what type of coverage you need.
Also keep in mind that not all companies offer the same types of coverages. You may also find that some companies have limitations to what boat they will cover. These limitations often involve the:
- Size of your boat.
- Age of your boat.
- Type of boat you have.
As stated above, Arkansas and Utah do have mandatory boat insurance laws.
In Arkansas, personal watercraft and motorboats with engines that produce more than 50 horsepower must be covered by liability boat insurance.
Your boat insurance policy must include at least $50,000 of liability coverage.
Utah also requires boats to be covered by liability insurance.
Your Utah boat insurance policy must have the following minimum coverage limits per incident:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person.
- $50,000 for total bodily injury if multiple people are hurt in the accident.
- $15,000 for property damage.
You also have the option of combining the coverages into a limit of $65,000 per accident.