Is boating insurance or liability insurance a legal requirement for boaters? Numerous states around the country are increasingly requiring boaters to have liability insurance. In addition, local marinas might require boaters to have boat insurance for docking purposes.
Boating and Liability Insurance
For a canoe, kayak or paddle boat you won’t be required to have insurance. On the other hand, some motorized boats including pontoon boats require insurance to operate in some states. Your current homeowner’s coverage could provide coverage for a small watercraft, but for larger vessels most states will require you to purchase liability insurance.
Property damage liability insurance covers any damage that you could do to another boat, nearby dock or another’s property. Depending on the type of boating that you engage in, you might also want to consider purchasing bodily injury liability insurance.
In case you or someone gets injured following a boating accident, bodily injury liability insurance will help pay for medical bills and lost income.
If you have invested a lot of money in your boat, you should consider purchasing comprehensive insurance. This type of insurance will help pay for repair costs if your boat is vandalized or damaged. If your boat is stolen, then comprehensive insurance could pay for the cost of a replacement.
If you were required to get a loan to purchase your boat, then the lender could require you to have boater’s insurance. Ultimately, whether you need liability insurance or boater’s insurance will depend on your particular circumstances and state law.
Check your homeowner’s policy to see if it provides coverage for smaller watercraft. As a rule of thumb, the more liability the insurance company perceives, and the higher the boat’s value, the more you can expect to pay in liability insurance. A speed boat that entails a higher chance of severe bodily injury or property damage will typically carry a higher deductible than a pontoon boat.
So, when are you actually required to have liability or boat insurance? Marinas around the country are increasingly requiring boat insurance from their dockers. Also, if you took out a loan to purchase your boat, then you might be required to have liability insurance.
There’s no national law mandating boating insurance, although states differ on insurance requirements for operating a motorized maritime vessel. Some states require liability insurance while others do not require such insurance.
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