Summer is on the way, and with that come lake days and fishing trips. It may have been a while since you or your family has gone onto the water, so what should you do to make sure that your boats are still seaworthy?
First things first, what determines the security of a boat?
- Make sure your vessel is properly equipped with safety gear, such as floatation devices, a first aid kit, fire extinguishers, and a working horn.
- Check the weather before you sail and make sure to familiarize yourself with the area to avoid getting lost or stranded in the case of sudden weather change.
- Distribute weight evenly on the vessel to minimize risk of flipping or sinking. Keep movement on the vessel to a minimum and do not allow passengers to sit on the bow or to distract the driver.
- Learn and obey marine traffic laws, memorize distress signals and properly orchestrate yourself around other vessels on the water.
- Remain vigilant of water depth and debris, especially of rocks, sand banks, and tree limbs.
- Never operate the vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or allow others to do so.
- Do not operate your vessel without a valid permit or license and make sure to take the required courses when it comes time to renew it in order to keep rules and regulations fresh in your mind.
What determines how much you pay for boat insurance?
The size of your boat and the area where you will be sailing it effect how much you pay – larger boats are going to cost more to repair or replace, and rougher or more populated waters pose higher risks.
Smaller boats can be protected under homeowner or renter policies. They provide limited coverage for boats like canoes, smaller powerboats, or sailboats that don’t exceed 25 mile-per-hour speeds. This includes protections for the boat body, motor, and trailer, but not usually liability. This would have to be added as an endorsement.
Larger boats can’t be included in a homeowners policy and require their own policies. These policies theft, property damage, and medical liability. Coverage for accessories and trailers may be included, depending on your provider, but they can also be covered under an endorsement.
A good rule of thumb is to couple your boat insurance with an umbrella policy to make sure that you are protected in any situation. Boats can be incredibly expensive, as well as dangerous – any accident on the water would mean property damage and, quite likely, personal damage as well. Make sure to prepare for the worst so you don’t have to have the worst happen to you.
What is covered by boat insurance?
Boat insurance can come in 2 forms – Actual Cash Value or Agreed Amount Value. Actual Cash Value replaced the insured damaged parts for the cost that they are at the time of replacement, not their initial value. This means that whether the parts are cheaper or more expensive that they were originally, they will be replaced for the current cost. There is also Agreed Amount Value, which means that the damaged parts are valued based on what you and your agent initially agreed their value to be. Should the costs for replacement exceed that value, this excess cost would be covered by an umbrella policy, or at the owner’s expense.
Common boat coverage also includes:
- Accessories such as life jackets, signal flares, floats, tow tubes, mounted steps, diving boards, etc.
- Bodily Injury that occurs to yourself or others in the case of an accident
- Damage to the property of others that occurs as the result of an accident/collision with another vessel
- Loss/theft of belongings
- Medical payments in the case that another individual has to go to hospital because of an accident that you caused
- Passenger liability
- Physical loss or damage of your vessel
- Theft of your vessel or the belongings you keep in it
- Towing of your vessel in the case of breakdown on land or in water
All of this sounds expensive, how can I save money on my boat insurance?
There are several ways you can get discounts on your boat insurance! These include:
- Anti-theft devices – Keep an active protection device on the vessel.
- Boating education courses – Keep up with marine laws and boating protocols.
- Bundling – Have multiple lines of insurance with the same provider.
- Depth finder and radar – Equip your vessel with protective technology.
- Diesel powered vehicle – These are less likely to explode than gasoline powered vessels and earn you a cheaper rate.
- Fire extinguisher – Keep safety gear on your vessel for emergencies.
- Radios – Just as with the radar and the fire extinguisher, keep a radio on your vessel for emergencies.
- Years of boating experience – Earning experience from having a good history with your vessel shows that you are less likely to have an accident and shows you are less of a risk to insure, which will earn you a lower rate.
If you would like to learn more about keeping your boat ship-shape and water worthy, click here to read about our boat insurance offers!
You can also call or text us at (901)388-7283, or email us at [email protected] to speak with a member of our team today!