Summer is the time for outdoor fun and what is more relaxing than a trip on the water? Out there surrounded by blue, all your worries and fears are drowning in the depths. Not to rain on your parade, but all that serenity can be gone in a matter of seconds without insurance. If you have heard about boat insurance but didn’t bother to get all the information yet, read on to find answers to the five main questions on the subject.

Do I really need boat insurance?

Most states including Pennsylvania do not require you to purchase boat insurance. However, you might be looking at financing the purchase of a boat, which will mean providing proof of insurance to your bank. In this case, the policy will need to cover the full value of the boat apart from minimum requirements for specific types of coverage that your bank may set. Additionally, most ports and marinas will ask you to maintain boat insurance to use their facilities.

Does my home insurance cover my boat?

Your standard homeowner’s policy or renters insurance policy may cover your boat, but there are limitations that you must be aware of. Small boats such as canoes, small sailboats, or small powerboats with less than 25 miles per hour horsepower might be included by the limited coverage, but that will apply only if the boat is damaged while it is on your property. This type of coverage does not include larger or motorized boats such as yachts or jet skis and is less than ideal for damage that might happen while on the water.

How much boat insurance do I need?

The amount of boat insurance you may need is largely a personal decision and is guided by how much risk you are willing to take. The value of the boat, its motor size, age and the water body it will sail on are the main factors that must be kept in mind here. Naturally, high-performance boats will need more coverage to ensure compensation for any serious damage or loss.

What is covered by boat insurance?

Boat insurance coverage can vary slightly but the most common ones include the following:

  • Physical loss or damage covers any physical damages that occur to your boat and generally includes permanently attached equipment like the hull, trailers, equipment, motors, and accessories. Common claims include fire and windstorm damage and exclude everyday wear and tear and damage from insects, mold, defective machinery, etc.
  • Medical payments for injuries to the boat owner and other passengers.
  • Property damage covers the cost of damage to another person’s property due to an accident that you are found responsible for.
  • Bodily injury covers the costs associated with injuries to other people involved if you are found legally responsible for a boating accident.
  • Theft of the boat or the belongings on it which may not be covered and must be specified to include fishing gear etc.

 

What are some best practices to ensure boat safety?

The 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics Report reveals that there were 767 boating fatalities nationwide in 2020, a 25.1 percent increase from 2019. The costs associated with these accidents in loss of life and property are huge. Boating can still be a pleasure if you follow safety best practices suggested below to ensure a stress-free experience:

  • Be prepared for a disaster by equipping your boat with easily reachable emergency necessities such as navigation lights, a sound device such as a horn/whistle, life jackets, fire extinguisher, medical kit, paddles/oars, tools kit, freshwater, flashlight, and a radio.
  • Prepare for your trip in advance by checking weather forecasts and sailing conditions. Double-check the health of your boat and engine, fuel, electrical and other systems to prevent failure while on the water.
  • Ensure passenger safety by keeping to the number that the vessel can carry and distribute the load evenly. Carry out safety checks for life jackets, evacuation procedures, and rules on where passengers can ride, strictly avoiding the bow, seatbacks, and gunwales.
  • Learn and obey marine traffic laws including distress signals and speed limits while watching out for co-sailors, swimmers, and floating debris.
  • Practice accountability by strictly avoiding operating the boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs and being alert. Do not allow inexperienced individuals to try their hand at operating the vessel at any time.

The state of Pennsylvania has 85,000 miles of rivers and streams, along with 76 natural lakes providing ample opportunity to sail. But boats are a big investment and can incur huge expenses in case of an accident, unexpected repair, or theft.

Overall boat insurance could be your ticket to peace of mind by saving your savings from an unforeseen disaster. You can enjoy the tranquility of being water-borne by talking to us at Gilmartin Insurance Agency. We can help you learn about and find the best insurance policy that covers your needs both when you’re out on the water and when your prized possession is parked during the offseason.

As the leading provider of boat insurance in Lehighton, Jim Thorpe, Pittston, and Clarks Summit our officers can sail you through the experience and help you get ready for your next trip with a smile.

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