The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported most boating incidents occurred on the weekend between 4:00-8:00 pm. As we might image, these are certainly popular times to be on the water. While you are enjoying the sun and the breeze, we want to make sure you are covered!
Boat Insurance Basics
The size, type, and value of the craft and the water in which you use it factor into what type of insurance you need and how much you will pay for insurance coverage. As with any insurance policy, make sure you understand exactly what perils are covered and what your policy limits are.
- Small craft may be covered under your standard homeowners policy or renters insurance policy. Most insurers provide limited coverage for property damage for small boats such as canoes, small sailboats, or small powerboats with less than 25 miles per hour horsepower. Coverage generally includes the boat, motor, and trailer combined. Liability coverage is typically not included, but it can be added as an endorsement to a homeowners policy.
- Larger and faster boats such as yachts require a separate insurance policy (as do personal watercraft such as jet skis).
Typical boat insurance policies cover physical damage to the boat itself. They also cover property damage, theft, and medical payments, each with different deductibles. Your insurer may offer additional, optional coverage for trailers and boat accessories.
Boat insurance policies generally provide broader liability protection than a homeowner’s policy. However, depending on the assets that are at risk, boat owners may also consider purchasing an umbrella liability policy, which will provide additional protection for their boat, home, and car.
Best practices for boat safety
There are thousands of recreational boating accidents per year, which can be costly in injuries and damages. Contributing factors to boating disasters include traveling too fast for water or weather conditions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to follow boating rules and regulations, carelessness and inexperience.
The best way to ensure your years of accident- and claims-free experience is to follow boating safety practices.
- Properly equip your vessel with required navigation lights and with a whistle, horn or bell. Have on hand plenty life jackets and emergency safety devices such as a paddle or oars, a first-aid kit, a supply of fresh water, a tool kit and spare parts, a flashlight, flares and a radio. Carry one or more fire extinguishers, matched to the size and type of boat and keep them readily accessible and in condition for immediate use.
- Before you sail or launch, check weather forecasts before heading out to ensure good boating conditions. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. Check engine, fuel, electrical and steering systems, especially for exhaust-system leaks.
- When you have passengers and/or a load, pay attention when loading. Distribute the load evenly and don’t overload. In a small boat, warn passengers not to stand up or shift weight suddenly. Don’t permit riding on the bow, seatbacks or gunwales. Make sure that every person on board the boat gets and wears a life jacket.
- Know and obey marine traffic laws; learn distress signals and other boating signals.
- In shallow waters, keep an alert lookout for other watercraft, swimmers, floating debris and shallow waters.
- Don’t operate the boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or allow anyone who might be impaired to operate the vessel.
Make sure you and your watercraft are covered this boating season and make some waves!