Whether you live in a climate that enables you to enjoy motorized water sports year-round or if you are getting ready to launch your watercraft for the season, it is always a good time to check one item off the “preparation list” and that is the insurance carried on your watercraft. Below is a list of items that you should consider regarding your watercraft insurance.
Is my watercraft adequately covered if it is destroyed or stolen?
The coverage for the watercraft itself is referred to as hull physical damage. Most policies cover watercraft on an actual cash value basis. In other words, if your watercraft is completely destroyed, you will receive the actual cash value of the watercraft based on replacement cost minus depreciation. It is important that you research the value of your watercraft (speak to your dealer and use the internet to arrive at a value) to confirm that your coverage level is adequate. You can also purchase a policy with an agreed value clause. An agreed value clause means you and the insurance carrier agree to the value of the watercraft and the amount shown on the policy is the amount you will receive regardless of age, etc.
Am I covered if a non-family member is injured either in my watercraft, skiing behind my watercraft, or if I hit someone in the water or another watercraft?
Coverage for bodily injury or property damage is referred to as watercraft liability. The increased exposure to you from owning and operating a watercraft is enormous. Most watercraft policies include watercraft liability automatically, although some policies require you to add specific endorsements such as coverage for water skiing. It is imperative, however, that you also carry a personal umbrella, and make sure your agent includes the watercraft on the umbrella policy.
I have added permanently attached items to the watercraft such as a trolling motor, depth finder, radios, stereo, down riggers, etc. Are these items covered automatically?
Permanently attached items (attached to the hull using bolts and brackets including slide out brackets) are covered under the physical damage to the hull section, therefore it Is important that you consider the value of these items when determining the amount of hull coverage you are purchasing.
I have a lot of equipment such as water skis, ropes, anchors, etc. that are used for the watercraft but aren't permanently attached. Are they covered?
Most watercraft policies will include items intended for use only with the watercraft, but it is limited in scope and amount. Make sure you have added the proper amount of coverage and that you understand what type of equipment is covered.
I own significant amounts of fishing equipment. Is my equipment covered?
Many policies contain special fishing equipment coverage. The included coverage can be as high as $10,000, however, coverage is typically limited to $1,000 and this limitation does include tackle boxes. Also, with many policies, this coverage needs to be specifically added.
I store my watercraft at a watercraft warehouse for the winter. Is my watercraft covered?
Your watercraft is covered while at the warehouse, however you never want to use your insurance when someone else is liable. You will want to be sure that the warehouse is covering your watercraft for any damages that may occur while the watercraft is under their care.
There are many watercraft policies available for purchase and they do differ significantly. Many policies include special options for purchase not discussed above, which may be important to you. The above list is a guide to get you thinking about your watercraft policy. Be sure to check with your insurance agent to confirm that you are adequately covered.
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