What is boat insurance?

Get the right boat insurance for your watercraft.

If you’re ready to live a sea- (or lake-) faring dream, you might be interested in boat insurance. Buying a boat can be a huge investment that’s largely rewarding all around. However, owning a boat requires a lot of upkeep, an up-to-date knowledge of your local boating laws, and the ability to protect yourself and your vessel if worst comes to worst. So, here’s a guide to getting the best boating insurance to stay safe off the shore.

Is boat insurance required in Georgia?

While there are various regulations regarding age of operation, boat identification, and registration, Georgia does not require boat insurance to own a vessel. However, being out on the water can be more dangerous than you think. There are tons of risks that a boat owner may face and that may cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars to resolve without the proper boat insurance.

What are the risks of driving a boat?

Although boating may be a very low-stress activity, there are tons of high-risk situations that you can be exposed to. Many boating laws and safety training may specifically warn about hazards such as:

  • Drowning
  • Dams
  • Submerged objects
  • Powerful currents
  • Waves
  • Inclement weather
  • Hypothermia
  • Carbon Monoxide from gas fumes

While some of these instances may be preventable, you’re mostly subject to Mother Nature on the water. And nature is nowhere near predictable. So, it’s important to consider the type of protection you’ll need in the aftermath of a particularly harmful event before it happens.

Boat safety is a must.

What type of insurance do I need for a boat?

If you have a small watercraft such as a canoe, paddleboat, or rowboat, the personal property portion of your home insurance policy typically covers damages and theft to those boats.

However, if you’re setting sail fairly soon in something bigger, you’ll need personal watercraft (PWC) coverage. This type of insurance works a little like your car insurance in the way that it can help you cover costs due to:

Liability & Medical Payments

Let’s say that you set sail with a few passengers after checking a weather report.  The forecast is set to be bright and sunny until that evening. However, halfway through the day and your leisurely cruise, there’s an accident. Everyone on the ship is tossed around, and one passenger suffers a concussion and a few other major injuries.

If you have the right boat insurance, your carrier could help you pay for the injured passenger’s medical expenses, including any hospital stays, doctor visits, medications, or therapy.

The liability portion could help you cover legal expenses if there’s an accident and an injured party takes you to court. PWC insurance also usually covers water sports liability coverage in case someone is hurt while they’re waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, etc. off of your boat.

Property damage

Your boat is an expensive investment. So, paying out repairs or replacing your boat entirely after an accident isn’t the ideal situation. Fortunately, PWC insurance also usually includes physical damage coverage.

This part of your insurance may not just help you cover your watercraft itself. It can also help you cover the costs of repairing or replacing your boat’s equipment, such as anchors, oars, fuel tanks, life jackets, dinghies, and other tools if they’re damaged in an accident or stolen.

Additional Boat Insurance Coverages

Liability and property damage coverages are, of course, only the baseline types of coverage for a worst-case scenario. There are still other specific situations in which your vessel may need to be covered. So, talk to your agent about adding these types of boating-specific coverage:

  • Reasonable repairs: Unlike car insurance coverage, you may be able to add coverage to help you with the costs of repairing the equipment on your ship before it becomes a bigger, more hazardous problem.
  • Emergency service: If someone has to tow your boat or provide other emergency services to you out on the water, you might want to have emergency service coverage for your boat to help you handle the bill. Think of it like the roadside assistance coverage you can get for your car.
  • Wreck Removal: It’s not fun to think about, but if your boat is wrecked into pieces and beyond recognition, normal PWC coverage may not cover the costs it will take to clean up the debris of your boat. It may also not cover the hazmat costs of clearing up any pollution from the water. That’s why it’s important to talk to your agent about adding wreck removal coverage in case your boat is broken apart, has sunk, or has been ordered to be destroyed.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to properly insure your belongings if you don’t know where to start. Hopefully, this guide can give you the building blocks to consider and properly cover the risks of owning and operating a rewarding watercraft.

Once you’ve made the decision to buy a boat, protecting yourself from these risks can be smooth sailing with our insurance experts. Whether you have a broad idea of the risks you need to insure or if you need help every step of the way, our specialists are here to help you get the unique boat insurance you need for the best price. Call us today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent now to start saving money on your PWC coverage.