Every year, boat owners weigh the risk versus benefit of insuring their boats for the summer season. When asked “Do I need boat insurance?” Some try to weigh the likelihood of an incident versus the cost of protection, while others simply accept that coverage provides the security they need to enjoy their time on the water.
When deciding whether to invest in boat insurance, first compare that coverage to another common type of summer protection: sunscreen.
Although some people feel that their odds of getting a sunburn aren’t enough to justify using sunscreen outdoors, others have done their research and understand risks Spending time in the sun unprotected.
The same applies to boat insurance. Not every person who invests in this coverage is going to need it — much like wearing sunscreen isn’t a 100% guarantee that someone won’t get skin cancer — but the odds are a lot better if something does happen.
In this article, we will examine the potential risks associated with boating, review the general benefits of consistent coverage, and uncover some of the factors that contribute to the price of a boat insurance policy.
The Risks of Boating
Although we don’t like to think about accidents occurring during such a peaceful pastime, gross 5,000 boat accidents occur annually in America.
The most common of these boating accidents included collisions with other pleasure craft, flooding, collision with a fixed object, running aground and falling overboard.
While accidents on the water can come in a variety of forms, the results are often the same. Boating accidents in 2022 resulted in more than $62.5 million in property damage and a high number of injuries and fatalities among passengers, swimmers and other boaters.
Most fatalities in boating accidents occur when a person is thrown from the boat into the water and makes contact with the propeller. In many cases, the person is not wearing a life jacket, which is more likely to result in the person drowning if injured.
Did you know: Usage statistics show that only 11.6% of adults and 65.8% of children wear lifejackets while boating.
Always wear a life jacket when operating a boat to reduce the risk of injury or death in an unexpected accident.
What causes most boating accidents?
Many factors can contribute to boating-related fatalities, including Operator inexperience, inattentionand excessive speeding. However, by far the most common factor is alcohol.
Alcohol is the leading cause of at least 19% of boating-related deaths in 2022. Similar to driving a car, alcohol consumption can affect a boater’s ability to safely operate their boat. It impairs judgment and affects the driver’s vision, balance and coordination.
However, drinking alcohol on the water poses an additional risk that those who only drink on land are unaware of. Constant exposure to stressors on the water, such as noise, vibration, sun, glare, wind and the movement of the water, leads to fatigue known as “boat hypnosis”. Corresponding Boat United States“Boat hypnosis” can “slow down reaction time almost as much as if you were legally drunk”.
Furthermore, in addition to this natural reaction to the water, the consumption of alcohol increases the effects of this feeling. As a result, every drink multiplies your risk of an accident.
The added risk of new boaters
The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled renewed interest in outdoor recreation, leading to a 40% increase in new boat sales in 2020. today million Americans are boat owners, with first-time boat buyers accounting for more than a third of this population.
Due to the large number of new drivers, there has been consistency uptrend in accidents, injuries and deaths on the water. During the COVID pandemic alone, propeller-related accidents increased by 44% and boat fatalities by 25%.
What does boat owner insurance cover?
Now that you understand the potential risks associated with boating, it’s time to explore the protection that comes with a boating insurance policy.
Although coverage can vary by policy, coverage typically provides protection for you boat, Engine-, followerand Accesories. Boat insurance is also offered liability insurance for covered damages to others resulting from the operation of your boat.
Typical coverage includes losses caused by:
- Fire, lightning and storms
- Explosions, sinking or stranding
- theft and vandalism
- Collision and damage when loading, unloading or starting
- road collision or overturning
Liability insurance for boaters
“When you own a boat, you face a variety of risks, including liability,” says Judy Dammeyer, Senior Personal Lines Product Development Specialist at central insurance with four decades of personal boating experience. For this reason, investing in a policy with liability coverage is crucial.
Liability insurance protects you from legal liability arising from insured claims for bodily injury or property damage arising from the operation of your vehicle. Medical coverage applies to passengers on board your boat, including skiers, who suffer physical injury as a result of an insured event.
Factors affecting boat insurance rates
Determining an appropriate boat cover is based on several factors. Some of the most common are:
- Boat Specifications: These include the value, size, speed and condition of the vessel itself, as well as the specific type of craft and engine used.
- A clean ticket: Depending on your state, an insurance company may review your DMV record when determining your premium. You can consider previous DUIs (or BWIs), reckless driving convictions, etc.
- Past Losses: If you have made claims for boating accidents (or other types of damage) in the past, this may be considered.
- Additional insurance: If you decide to insure personal items such as water skis, inner tubes, life jackets, etc., this can also be taken into account.
How to reduce boating risks
“It’s important to remember that there are rules about boating,” says Dammeyer. “People often see the water as a big, open road where they can do whatever they want, but that’s not the case.”
She recommends a few simple rules for staying safe on the water.
- Always wear a personal flotation device when boating and insist that your passengers do the same.
- Never consume alcohol while operating a boat.
- Sign up for one Boat Safety Course.
- Make sure your boat has working horns and lights.
- Stay alert when out on the water.
“You can’t control everything and everyone when you’re with other boaters, so it’s important to know what to look out for and use safe personal boating practices at every opportunity,” she says.
Do I need boat insurance?
The short answer is yes.
“A common misconception is that a boat is covered by a homeowner’s policy or that you only need coverage during boating season. Both assumptions are inaccurate,” says Dammeyer, clarifying that boat insurance is an additional, year-round policy that all boat owners must consider.
In addition, Dammeyer states that certain circumstances may require this form of coverage. “If you have a loan for your boat, the bank will require coverage, just like they would with a car,” she says. “Or if you hit another boat or get injured while boating, you get medical payments, just like you would in a car accident.” Boat owners may also need boat insurance when docking at a marina.
Keep in mind: Boat insurance requirements vary by state and circumstances. If you own or operate a boat, it is important to understand the liability insurance laws specific to your state.
Boat Owners Insurance with Central
headquarters boat owner and boat dock cover Policies are specifically designed to ensure the safety of our customers in any situation. Whether you suffer damage to your vessel or dock, or are responsible for an injury that occurs on the water, you can have peace of mind knowing Central has you covered.
Not yet covered by Central? Find one independent central agent today to get an offer.
Please note: the information above is general in nature and your policy and covers may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy completely to determine your actual coverage available.