Owning a boat is great fun. Whether you own a luxury yacht or a powerful speedboat, nothing beats the feeling of being out on the high seas. But, when you’re not out sailing on the open ocean, you’ll need to moor your boat in a marina. It is at this moment, when trying to dock into a marina, that many boat owners realize for the first time that boat insurance is sometimes a necessity.
As insurance isn’t a legal requirement for boats. Many people purchase a boat and take it out to sea without getting it fully insured, often ending in some awkward moments when trying to dock into a marina. In this article, we will discuss why you are often required to get insurance to use marinas, what type of coverage you may need, and some other potential situations in which you may need insurance.
Does Your Marina Require Boat Insurance?
While getting insurance for your boat isn’t legally required by the state of Florida, many marinas will only allow mooring facilities for fully insured boats. This is entirely up to the personal choice of the marina owners, but most ports and marinas around the country choose to only allow access to their facilities to insured boats because it can prevent complications from occurring down the line, such as damage to your boat on their property.
Sometimes, ports and marinas will require insurance that covers a set amount, such as the Port of Bellingham in Washington which requires coverage of at least $300,000, while others will have certain other requirements such as insurance covering fire, theft, or damage.
What’s Covered By Boat Insurance?
Just like with most forms of insurance, you can choose different levels of coverage for your boat. But, at the most basic level, in the case of the total loss of your boat, you will have a choice of receiving the actual value or the replacement cost, should you decide to purchase a new one. If someone is injured while on your boat, they will be covered by your insurance, and any wear and tear to your vessel will be paid for by your insurer.
You will, of course, be able to get much more coverage, and many boat owners choose to purchase add-ons such as collision coverage, coverage for fishing equipment, roadside assistance with on-water towing, and hurricane haul-out coverage: one that is especially useful here in Florida. Many companies offer discounts if you take and pass a boat safety course, have a good driving record, or limit your boating activities to specific areas.
What Coverage Do Marinas Generally Require?
It is entirely up to the owner of each port or marina to choose what needs to be covered by your insurance. Many are happy with basic insurance, but others require you to have specific coverage. Many of these are to prevent the marina from being liable for certain events, and others are simply to ensure a peaceful existence and stop problems from arising in the marina.
Collision coverage is generally required if you plan to dock your boat at a port or marina. Due to the large number of boats using the waters in and around these places, collisions are fairly common. These can range from minor bumps that do only aesthetic damage to big crashes that can destroy engines or sails. If you accidentally crash your boat then the cost of repairs will be covered by your collision coverage.
Coverage For Your Fishing Gear
There’s no better place to go fishing than out on the open seas. If you’re an avid fisherman, then you have probably spent a lot of money on your equipment, especially if you plan on catching some big ocean fish. If you decide to insure your fishing gear with your boat then you will be covered if any of your equipment is stolen, damaged, or lost at sea. If you like to leave your fishing gear in your boat while it’s docked, this optional extra is a great idea.
Some marinas will require you to have coverage for your gear so as to avoid any issues if your equipment is stolen on their property. If you do purchase this extra coverage, it is a good idea to take stock of what you own first. Take photos and keep them with you; this will make it easier to claim for any loss or damages.
Hurricane Haul-Out Coverage
Living in Florida, hurricanes are always a potential threat. These are common in the summer months and can be disastrous for any boats that are in the water, with massive waves smashing them into the rocks and powerful wind tearing them away from their moorings. Hurricanes can appear rapidly, and we sometimes get only a few days warning if one approaches, and with a marina full of boats, getting them out of the water to safety can be a huge task.
For this reason, many marinas in the southern states require hurricane haul-out insurance, so you can afford to pay the owners for the monumental job of hauling so many vessels out of the dangerous seas in a race against time.
Where Else Might You Need Insurance?
Although here in Florida there is no legal requirement to get your boat insured, this is not the case everywhere in the country. These laws differ between states, and so if you wish to take your boat around the country then insurance will be essential. Of course, that being said, if you plan on taking your boat to a different country then you may be required to have your boat insured.
if you are buying your boat on finance then your bank or lender will generally require proof of insurance before financing your purchase. This will need to cover the full cost of the boat and your lender can even choose specific coverage for you as well.
Why You Should Get Your Boat Insured
Sometimes, boats are covered by your home insurance. However, these are generally restricted to smaller, cheaper boats; some home insurance policies only cover boats up to a value of $1000, so it’ll just about cover a decent canoe. And sometimes, these policies only cover damage your boat has sustained while on your property and do not extend to damages while in the water, or while parked in a marina.
It isn’t just about getting into ports and marinas, however, as boat insurance is very useful for many reasons. If you are forking over a few thousand bucks for that boat of your dreams, you want to make sure it can remain pristine without having another huge bill. The sea can cause a lot of harm to boats, and even while docked in a marina, big storms can still affect them, and, of course, Florida is well known for its particularly violent storms.
Well, now you know how useful it is to get your boat insured. No matter what type of sea-faring vessel you own, you can always benefit from getting insurance for your boat, and not just for getting into marinas. If you plan on buying a boat, or have a boat that isn’t yet insured, contact us at iInsure to get your precious vessel insured, giving you peace of mind.