What would a Florida summer be like without exploring the waterways, water skiing, fishing and other boating activities?
July marks the middle of the boating season. As a boat owner, you probably spend more time on the water during June, July and August than all the rest of the year combined, even in Florida.
Naturally, you make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your boat during these peak times, but what about the rest of the year? And, more importantly, do you have enough liability coverage?
Florida boat insurance covers more than just damage or theft, so it’s important to have a boat insurance policy that frees you to enjoy your watercraft.
Boat insurance has more in common with auto than homeowners insurance, an important fact to keep in mind when you’re shopping for boat coverage.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
A good boat insurance policy covers you against damage and theft, as well as fire and flood. It also covers liability, including environmental cleanup.
The liability portion of the policy includes bodily injury and property damage resulting from an accident you cause.
Bodily injury takes care of someone else’s medical bills if your boat harms someone. It can also pay for lost wages and legal costs of the claim.
Property damage liability pays for damage to someone else’s property, such as a dock or other structure, or another boat.
This pays for costs of damage to your own boat or property that you cause, for example, if you run into your own dock.
While most boat insurance policies include the basic liability and damage coverage, some additional coverages can reduce your financial liability considerably.
Uninsured or Underinsured Boaters
Just as you probably carry car insurance against uninsured motorists, it’s a good idea to insure yourself against the financial consequences of an accident with an uninsured boater.
A medical rider will pay expenses for you or your passengers resulting from a boating accident.
If you use your boat for fishing and carry expensive equipment, you can add a rider to cover it.
A personal property rider covers damage to other personal property while it’s on the boat, or being put onto or taken off the boat.
Evaluate Your Boat Insurance Needs
It’s wise to review your individual situation with an experienced agent who’s knowledgeable about boat insurance. Don’t make these five common mistakes:
- Assume your homeowners policy adequately covers your boat. If you store your boat at home, your homeowners policy does provide some protection. However, coverage is limited, and may not provide liability coverage in all circumstances.
- Assume your homeowners policy provides the least expensive coverage. You may be pleasantly surprised to find a specialized boat insurance policy can save substantial amounts while providing better coverage.
- Risk your homeowners policy. If you make a claim against your homeowners insurance for a boat-related liability, it could affect your deductible or your rate. It’s a better financial strategy to keep them separate.
- Cancel during the off season. About 20% of all boat claims occur during the fall and winter months, from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Even if your boat isn’t in the water, you risk theft and damage from vandalism, fire and flood. Make sure you’re covered during the off season.
- Assume the marina’s insurance will cover you. If you store your boat at a marina or in dry dock, you’re still liable for certain damages. For example, if a hurricane blows in the roof of the building where your boat is stored, the marina’s insurance is unlikely to cover it. Or, if someone is injured by your boat – even if they are there illegally – it’s your liability, not the marina’s.
We’ll be happy to review your coverage and make recommendations for an affordable policy that will protect you during boating season and all year long. Call Insurance Land today for a no-obligation boat insurance consultation.