Owning a boat can be a rewarding experience. Many people have wonderful memories of boating. However, owning a boat is a financial responsibility. The best way to address this responsibility is to purchase boat insurance.
Property insurance has two components consisting of first party and third party coverages. First party coverages protect the financial interest the owner has in the property itself. Third party coverages protect the owner from financial exposure presented by others in the form of liability claims.
Boats are subject to perils that can result in damage. Collisions with boats and marine structures, vandalism, theft, fire and weather-related losses are all possibilities. If your boat is financed, you’ll need to have insurance to protect the lender. Once a boat is paid for, you’ll need to decide if the boat’s value warrants continued physical damage coverage.
Coverage to protect the investment of a boat owner is often referred to as hull or hull and machinery insurance. Such insurance protects the boat, equipment affixed to the boat, and items such as life vests and safety equipment. Your hull insurance won’t cover everything. Personal property taken on boating excursions and then removed generally falls under homeowners coverage.
As a boat owner, you’re responsible for its operation. This can lead to liability claims against you. Damage to another boat or property at a marina can result in a property damage liability claim. If injuries occur on your boat, you can be faced with bodily injury liability claims.
Liability coverage is purchased by limits known as single or split limits. If you purchase $300,000 single limit coverage, the most available to pay claims related to an occurrence would be $300,000. If you purchase split limits of 100/300, the most any one claim would be insured for would be $100,000. If there are multiple claims from one occurrence, all claims are limited to a grand total of $300,000.
Owning a boat is a rewarding experience but financial responsibility comes with ownership. Understanding boat insurance and making sure that you have adequate coverage is the first step to enjoying life on the water.