There is nothing like spending a day out on the lake to combat the summer heat. And with the variety of watercraft available, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Keep your family safe and protect your investment by following these safety tips and making sure you have the right insurance in place.
Watercraft Insurance 101
It is important to make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place before you take your boat or personal watercraft out on the water. Here are some things you should know about watercraft insurance.
- Coverage for physical damage to small boats (less than 25 mph horsepower) can be added to your homeowners or renters insurance policy. This type of coverage generally includes the boat, the trailer, and the motor. Liability coverage can be added as an endorsement.
- A separate boat insurance policy is needed for larger and faster boats, including yachts, jet skis, and wave runners.
- The cost of boat insurance coverage depends on the type, size, and value of your watercraft, as well as the water in which you use it.
- Some policies will provide coverage for your boat while you transport it on land by trailer or store it on land. Ask your insurance agent what your specific policy will cover.
- Normal wear and tear and damage from insects, mold, animals, and zebra mussels are generally not covered on a policy.
- A watercraft insurance policy usually includes coverage for theft.
Water and Boat Safety Tips
Don’t let a fun day on the lake turn into tragedy. The causes of watercraft accidents can be attributed to several factors, most of which are preventable. According to www.iii.org, the main causes of watercraft accidents include the following:
- Traveling too fast for the conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Operator inexperience
- Operator inattention
- Failing to following boating regulations and rules
In 2015, alcohol was a contributing factor in 306 recreational watercraft accidents, resulting in 122 deaths and 258 injuries. Operating watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol is particularly dangerous because the motion and vibration of the vehicle, along with water spray, sun, and wind add additional distractions to the mix. Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.10% increases a watercraft operator’s risk of being killed in an accident by 10 times more than operators with zero BAC.
Here are a few tips to ensure the safety of you and your passengers:
- Take a boating course and familiarize yourself with boating safety rules.
- Learn how to swim.
- Always wear a life jacket. In 2015, 6% of fatal boating accident victims died by drowning, and of those, 85% were not wearing life jackets.
- Never operate a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and do not ride as a passenger with someone else operating the vehicle who is under the influence.
- Know your boat’s load capacity and don’t overload. Distribute weight evenly.
- Check the weather forecast before hitting the water. Get out of the water if conditions start showing signs of storm, including darkening clouds, sudden decrease in temperature, and volatile winds.
For more tips on safe boating, visit http://www.discoverboating.com/beginner/safety.aspx.
If you already own or are considering purchasing a boat or personal watercraft, contact your Leavitt Group insurance advisor to ensure you have the right coverage in place for your unique needs.