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Stay Protected On The Water

Lakes, rivers and all sorts of bodies of water beckon as the temperatures warm, which means it’s time to un-tarp or retrieve from storage all your watercraft and watersport equipment. As part of your seasonal unveiling, remember to pull out your insurance policy as well and refresh the memory of your water-loving athletes about safety and equipment maintenance.

Whether you own a boat or just enjoy the water on a Jet Ski, Sea-Doo or other equipment, there are some basic protections you need to address before you leave shore. Both property and liability insurance can keep you from extensive financial losses if there is an accident or other damaging event, such as a storm, a fire, a theft or vandalism, to name a few. You can also buy boat insurance that covers towing, protection for fishing equipment and other personal articles, and underinsured boaters coverage in case someone with too little or no insurance hits your boat. Fuel spills, damage due to corroded through-hull fittings, and medical payments for passengers who are injured can also be covered by insurance. It’s just a matter of getting the right policy — or mix of policies — which your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent can help you with.

If you would like to protect your watercraft while in tow, in storage or in use, there is insurance that can save you from significant out-of-pocket expenses. Traveling across the border is often not a problem either, but let your agent know your plans so the right terms can be written into your policy. 

Do you lend, rent, race or charter your boat? These are circumstances that could require special language in your policy — or possibly a separate policy. Special customizations can also be covered, so if you significantly upgrade the interior of your boat or add some specialty exterior improvements, talk to your agent about the potential increased value of the craft. You might even want to work out an agreed value with your insurer.

For larger boats and yachts, you will need a little more extensive coverage — possibly covering crew and staff. In those cases, your agent will talk to you about all the important considerations regarding your employees as well as your property. 

For maximum flexibility in terms of using your boat and watersports equipment, consider a year-round policy, one that doesn’t include layup provisions. While layup may reduce the premium, it may also restrict the months your watercraft use is insured. Keep a clean driving and boating record, since those factor into your coverage price, and take appropriate user training, which can help with insurability and cost of coverage. 

Homeowners insurance typically provides some coverage for lower-cost, lower-power watercraft, but it often has numerous restrictions regarding the location where the loss occurs. Jet Skis and other owned or used inboard/outdrive watercraft of more than 50 horsepower are usually excluded from coverage under a homeowners policy for liability, medical payments and property damage. 

If you enjoy heading out onto the water in an owned, borrowed or rented watercraft, contact an agent with Davis and Davis Insurance and Real Estate at 269-432-3296.

sean clark