Are you an avid fan of boating? Do you enjoy getting out on the water to enjoy the surrounding landscapes of Apache Lake, or catch a once-in-a-lifetime bass on Roosevelt, or maybe sail the clear waters of Lake Pleasant? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we are not surprised. According to Arizona Leisure, the Phoenix Valley has been rumored to have more boats per capita than any other metro area in the U.S.
Whether you own your watercraft, borrow a boat from a friend or rent a pontoon from time to time, you may wonder, “Do I need boat insurance, or will my homeowners insurance cover me on the water?” At Imes Insurance Associates, we help local boaters better understand their insurance coverage, so they never leave a dock without knowing their vessel and passengers are protected against the unexpected. If you are unsure as to whether or not you need separate boat insurance coverage, read on.
Why Purchase Boat Insurance?
To begin with, unlike car insurance, the state of Arizona does not require that boaters carry boat insurance. However, that does not mean you should not carry it. In fact, you’ll find out shortly that it supports the case that you absolutely should carry it if you own a boat. Let’s explore some of the coverage provided by a typical watercraft insurance policy.
Like your car or home, a boat is can be an expensive investment that needs to be protected. Boat insurance is, in part, designed to give you coverage against unexpected losses or damage to the vessel itself. Whether caused by a collision, hitting an underwater structure like a stump, or some other covered event, such as a theft or vandalism, Physical damage coverage will reimburse you either for your boat’s current value, or for an amount agreed upon between you and your insurer at the time you purchase the policy. If you took a loan to buy your new boat, your creditor would likely require you carry physical damage insurance on your new boat.
Bodily Injury Liability
In addition to physical damage to your watercraft, all well-designed watercraft insurance plans should include liability coverage. Liability coverage helps cover your financial responsibility should you be at fault for an accident that causes bodily injury to another person or persons. This coverage will help pay for that person’s medical bills and lost wages related to the accident, as well as any legal expenses they may incur as a result of the collision. This works much like the liability found with your car insurance.
Property Damage Liability
Another type of liability that you might find yourself responsible for is physical damage to the property of others. For example, if you lose control of your boat and run into another person’s dock, Property Damage coverage helps pay to repair or replace the damaged property.
A few paragraphs back we mentioned that the state of Arizona does not require boat insurance. As you might expect, because of this, many of the boats on our Arizona lakes are operating without any insurance. When you couple this with the fact that there are that many boaters that pilot their boat faster than they should, are relatively inexperienced, are easily distracted by others, and include too much alcohol as a part of their activities, Uninsured Boaters coverage makes a lot of sense. Therefore we strongly recommend every boat policy include Uninsured Boater coverage.
Uninsured Boaters coverage provides benefits to you and your passengers should you be harmed by an uninsured boater. If you and your passengers were the unfortunate parties that were innocently involved in an accident caused by a boater such as the one described above, your Uninsured Boaters coverage would pay for you and your passenger’s bodily injury related expenses including medical bills, loss of wages, loss of future earnings, emotions distress, legal fees, and possibly other compensatory damages. So remember, while you can control your boat when out on the water, you cannot control the actions of others.
Personal Property Coverage
Whether you’re out for a cruise, pulling others around the lake, or out fishing, you are most likely going to need to bring some special equipment with you. Water related activities require special equipment such as water skis and wakeboards, and fishing will require fishing poles, tackle, and perhaps some fishing electronics such as a fishing locater as well. All of this equipment can be expensive, and adds up when you think about it. Electing for Personal Property Coverage on your Boaters Insurance Policy will cover this items for loss, theft, or damage while you are on your boat, yacht, or pontoon.
As with car insurance, boat insurance offers a medical payments benefit as well this will help pay for emergency room visits, deductibles, and other relatively minor expenses incurred because of an accident involving your boat.
Am I Already Covered by My Homeowners Policy?
Many boat owners are led to believe they do not need a watercraft policy because their homeowners insurance policy extends to their watercraft as well. While certain types and sizes of vessels may have limited coverage under a homeowners policy, the majority of boats are typically excluded under traditional Arizona homeowners coverage.
Still Not Sure if You Need Boat Insurance?
If you are unsure whether you need boat insurance or simply need to review your existing coverage, Imes Insurance Associates can help. Our team of qualified agents can help you identify potential gaps in coverage and provide you with boat insurance solutions that will cover your financial interests against the “what ifs” in life. Contact our office for more information or request your free Phoenix boat insurance quote today. We look forward to serving you soon!