Why Do You Need Insurance For Your Boat Or Personal Watercraft
Youll enjoy the water ever more when youre not worried about the safety of yourself, your passengers or your investment. Here are a few things to consider:
- If youre in an accident or your watercraft is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
- If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
- If your watercraft is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than youre worth.
- Your watercraft also needs protection when its on land. Accidents can happen while towing a watercraft.
Where To Secure Your Registration Or Title
You can obtain your boat registration and title from the Fish and Boat Commission. More often than not, new owners will want to use their vessel while their documents are being processed. For this reason, they can get a temporary registration from the Commission through its authorized boat registration agents.
All they need to do is to fill out and file an Application Form that is made available at the Commissions regional offices, county treasurers offices, and various marine dealers.
How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost
According to the Insurance Information Institute, some homeowner insurance policies cover damage on small boats or watercraft with less than 25 mph horsepower.
Be careful, though, because coverage tends to be low sometimes only $1,000 or 10% of your homes value. Larger watercraft need to carry their own policies.
- Safe boater: You have no violations or accidents recorded for the last three years.
- Pay in full: If you pay the entire year upfront.
- Original owner: If you have been the only owner on your boat.
- Homeowner policy: If you own a home, townhome, or condo .
- Multiple boats: You have more than one watercraft or boat to insure.
- Safety course: Completed a state-approved boating course.
- Multiple policyholders: If you insure a car, home, or anything else, you could receive a discount for bundling.
Some insurers place limitations and restrictions on the type of boats they will cover. Be sure to double check before moving forward with any policy or boat purchase.
Are There Any Legal Requirements To Operate A Boat
A lot of people dont know this, but Pennsylvania requires persons born after 1982 to complete a brief boating safety course to be legal on the water. If you dont complete the course, you can actually get fined.
Taking the course even if you arent legally required to can actually lower your boat insurance premiums.
Does Boat Insurance Cover Engine Damage
Boat insurance sometimes covers engine damage. This varies from company to company, as well as by policy. Some insurance companies have machinery damage exclusions while others do not it often depends on the age of the motor. Reimbursement may include replacement cost or be subject to depreciation.
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Pennsylvania Boat Registration And Titling
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission requires all powered boats and personal watercraft to be registered. As an Authorized PFBC Issuing Agent, we are able to offer services to get you on the water as fast and efficiently as possible.
We can provide
- Change of Address and/ or Name
- Duplicate Title and/ or Registration
Similar to a vehicle, you must register your boat just like you would register your car. This means that you also need a title for your boat. You might hold the title if you paid cash for the boat or paid it off. If on the other hand you financed your boat your bank holds the title in which case we may need to work directly with your lender. If your boat was manufactured before 1997 there may have never been a title issued in which case, we ask that you bring in other paperwork related to the purchase of the boat so that we can order a title and issue registration. If your boat is coming into Pennsylvania from another State please call our office in advance so that we can discuss renewal procedures and title requirements which varies by State.
You will leave our office with a 60 days temporary registration while your title transfer is being processed and your two years registration is mailed to you by PFBC.
You will need to bring
- Boat title or former registration card
- Bill of Sale
Factors That Impact Boat Insurance Premiums
Some elements that will affect the cost of your boat insurance policy include:
- Value of the boat
- Extra coverages
Value of the boat
Like a car, the value of your boat is determined by several factors. The age and size of your watercraft, any extra features, and even your geographical location all contribute to the value of your boat. The value of your boat is the number one factor in determining your insurance premium.
The horsepower of your boat will also play a significant role in arriving at your premium amount. The higher the horsepower, the more expensive the premium.
Insurance companies consider your auto driving record when purchasing boat insurance. This factor doesnt significantly impact your boat insurance rates, however.
Age of the drivers
With boat insurance, you must list anyone who will regularly be driving your watercraft on your policy. This includes minors.
The insurance company will consider the age of the drivers who will regularly be behind your boats wheel.
Your insurance premium will reflect the amount that you use your watercraft. Heavier usage may increase your premium amounts.
If you will be living on your boat, boat insurance would not adequately cover you. You would need to purchase a separate policy to cover your insurance needs.
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What Boat Insurance Policies Cover
How and where you boat determines the type of coverage you need. An “all risk” policy will offer the best protection. However, an all risk policy does not cover every type of loss. In insurance terms all risk just means that any risk not specifically omitted in the policy is covered. Typical exclusions include wear and tear, marring, denting, animal damage, manufacturers defects, design defects, ice and freezing.
You may also be able to add extra coverage. Available options may include: medical payments, personal effects, uninsured boaters liability, and towing and assistance. Most policies will cover permanently attached equipment, as well as items like anchors, oars, trolling motors, tools, seat cushions, and life jackets. Be sure to discuss these options with your agent.
The Type Of Policy Being Purchased
We recommend that you buy marine insurance designed to cover property and injury-related specifically to the boat.
However, your boat may be covered by different types of policies.
Here are 4 types of policies that may apply:
1) Homeowners Insurance
People who store their boat on their property may be able to use their homeowners insurance policy should the worst happen.
This is especially true if the boat is small and stored inside the house or the garage.
For example, a kayak stored in the basement of a persons house will be covered if the house burns down and the kayak is destroyed.
In fact, some homeowners insurance policies may protect the kayak even if it is chained up at the homes back dock. However, the same rule might not apply to a larger boat.
A homeowners insurance policy will often only cover up to $1,000.00. This means that if your $700.00 canoe is stolen, your insurance company may reimburse you.
However, it also means that if your $35,000.00 boat is stolen, youll only be reimbursed $1,000.00 for it.
For this reason, most people will get an additional insurance policy to help cover their boat.
On top of this, a homeowners insurance policy cannot cover a boat that is out on the water or out on the road. This means that a person will need to get another policy whenever they intend on using the boat.
Failure to do so will leave them out of luck should something happen.
2) Vehicle Insurance
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Who Else May Require You To Carry Boat Insurance
If you intend to finance the purchase of a boat, your bank will require you to provide proof of insurance for the watercraft. Typically, the policy will need to cover the full value of the boat, and your bank may set minimum requirements for specific types of coverage. In addition, you will need to list the bank as a lienholder on the policy so that it will be included as a co-payee on any compensation in the event of a loss payment.
Most ports and marinas will require you to carry boat insurance in order to use their facilities.
For example, if you want to moor your boat at Port of Bellingham in Washington, you must carry a policy with at least $300,000 in general, legal and pollution liability with a policy term of no less than one year. As another example, the Hawaii Division of Boats and Ocean Recreation requires all vessels moored at its facilities to carry at least $500,000 in liability insurance.
Some marinas, such as the Hawaii Division of Boats and Ocean Recreation, may even require that the marina itself be listed as an “additional insured” or “additional interest” on the policy. You’ll normally need to provide proof of insurance before you can sign a contract for a slip or mooring.
Licensing And Boat Operating Requirements
While an exhaustive breakdown of the laws pertaining to boating with small vessels like Jon boats is beyond the scope of this article, we have pulled together key information and links that should help you determine if a license is required for a Jon boat in your State.
The owners age and level of boat safety education, as well as the power and length of the boat, may determine your need for a license.
Licensing requirements for boats are almost always unique to each State but some key themes are recurring and should be expected to exist in your States boating laws.
The following are boat operating requirements that exist across the USA and will be active in most US States:
- Age. Many states will require a boating license depending on the year you were born with emphasis placed on those under 18 years of age.
- Completion of boat safety education and training. States often will require evidence of a certain number of hours of training on the water or completion of a standardized boating safety course.
- Boat power. Training for handling powerboats may also be mandated.
- Boat length. Requirements will differ from State to State but it is common for larger Jon boats to be more subject to license requirements than smaller ones.
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Pennsylvania Boat Insurance Requirements
Unlike car insurance, boat insurance is not a requirement in many states, including Pennsylvania. However, that doesnt mean that you should go without it. Our partnership with American Modern gives you access to comprehensive coverage with increased liability and physical damage protection. It even offers the option for coverage of your personal items on board, including your fishing gear.
What Is The Difference Between Comprehensive And Limited Boating Insurance
While both types of insurance provide the all-important liability coverage, comprehensive boating insurance provides protection against a far greater number of sources for damage. When you have named-perils coverage, you get a list of damage thats covered. On the other hand, when you have comprehensive coverage, you get a small list of incidents that arent covered while everything else is.
Since comprehensive insurance is only incrementally more expensive yet much more inclusive, it is the best choice for serious boaters.
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I Need Boat Insurance What Are My Next Steps
If you have a boat or are in the process of buying a boat, you can line up your insurance by calling a local insurance agent.
Your agent will ask you a series of questions about the watercraft you are purchasing, how you intend to use it, where you will keep it, and who will be driving it.
After plugging in your information, they can quickly give you an estimate.
At Baily Insurance Agency, we sell insurance products for boat owners in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.
And as an independent insurance agency, we can provide you with multiple quotes from various boat insurance companies. When you give us a call, we can do the shopping around for you!
And if you already have homeowners or auto insurance with one of our insurance partners, we can often bundle your boat insurance with your other insurance products. And anytime you bundle, you can expect some discounts on your insurance policy.
If youre ready to get started with that quote, you can call us at 724-627-6121. Or, you can let us know your ready to right here on our website.
Does Boat Insurance Cover Passengers
Boat insurance covers boat passengers as well as the owner in an accident. Passengers on the boat are covered under the liability portion of the boaters policy.
However, depending on the policy, this may or may not extend to water skiers you are pulling behind the boat. Be sure to work with a knowledgeable professional who can help evaluate your needs and risks.
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What’s Included In A Standard Progressive Pennsylvania Boat Insurance Policy
Bodily injury and property damage liability coverage may help pay for injuries you cause to other people and damage to their property. Bodily injury liability covers injuries you’re at fault for, such as if someone is hurt while on your boat or if you cause an injury while operating your vessel. Property damage liability pays for damages you cause to another person’s property, such as a boat or dock. As with any liability coverage, choose a coverage limit that best protects you and your assets. If you need more than a $500,000 liability limit, an umbrella policy can offer extra protection, typically up to $5 million.
Wreckage removal helps pay for the costs of removing the wreckage of your boat after it sinks if legally required.
Fuel spill coverage protects against the legally required costs of cleaning up a fuel spill.
Watersport coverage helps pay for injuries that others suffer while participating in water sports like skiing and wakeboarding.
Is Boat Trailer Insurance Required And Do I Really Need It
No state requires you to have boat trailer insurance, but that doesnt mean that it isnt a wise investment. As with most insurance, whether you need to insure your boat trailer really depends on many factors, including the value of the trailer, how old it is, how often you use it and whether you have the financial resources to replace it.
Evaluating those factors can help you determine whether boat trailer insurance makes sense for you.
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What Does Boat Insurance Cover
Common boat insurance coverages include:
- Property damage liabilityâProperty damage liability insurance covers the cost of damages to someone else’s property after an accident you cause. In most cases, your property damage will pay out when you are at fault for an accident that causes damage to someone else’s boat or PWC.
- Collision damageâWhen your boat or PWC is damaged in an accident, collision insurance is an optional coverage that pays the cost of repairing or replacing it, minus the amount of your deductible.
- Bodily injury liabilityâBodily injury liability coverage is the part of your insurance policy that pays for the costs associated with injuries to other people involved, if you are found legally responsible for a boating accident.
- Hull coverageâHull insurance covers any physical damages that occur to your boat and generally includes trailers, equipment, motors, and accessories. Typical claims include fire and windstorm damage.
- Fuel spill liabilityâA separate policy that separates out fuel spill liability and provides coverage for any fines that may occur from an accident involving a fuel spill.
What Is Boat Trailer Insurance And What Does It Cover
Boat trailer insurance is a specialized type of vehicle insurance policy that applies to trailers specially built to transport a boat safely from a home to a lake, river or ocean.
Some boat trailers can be covered as a special rider attached to a vehicle or homeowners policy, but because these items are so specialized in terms of how theyre used, it is often a good idea to get separate trailer coverage.
Boat trailer insurance generally covers damage to the trailer, whether its stored at home or at a recreation area. Your policy can also cover theft as well as liability coverage in the event that your trailer causes damage to another vehicle, trailer or boat or injures another person.
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What You Need To Know About Boat Insurance
If you own a boat, you know it is a great way to spend time outdoors with friends and family. While you may not be required by the state to carry boat insurance, it is probably a good idea anyway. If you have a loan on your boat or you dock it in a marina, your homeowners policy may not be enough insurance to satisfy the necessary requirements.
Typical Boat Insurances Cost Examples
As we will see in a second, many factors go into boat insurance, so absolutely knowing the costs ahead of time isnt possible.
However, you can estimate annual costs based on 1.5% of the boats value.
So a $100,000.00 boat should have an annual insurance cost of $1,500.00. Individual factors will come into play, but, in general, the 1.5% rule is reasonably accurate for estimation.
However, here are a few basic examples I found from other boaters around the web:
2003 Scout 242 Abaco with a 225 HP Yamaha motor in Northern California. Hull value of $70,000.00. The owner has full coverage and is paying $658.00 a year for insurance.
1963 Bertram 25 with two 135 HP motors on Orange Beach, Alabama. The value is $55,000.00, and the owner is paying $583.00 annually.
2008 MayCraft 2000cc with a replacement value of $26,000.00. The boat is located in Delaware, and the owner is paying $348.00 a year.
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