Published: July 2014
Protecting yourself from uninsured boaters is important. Unlike car insurance, boat insurance typically isn't legally required, and you will likely encounter uninsured boaters while out on the water, in the harbor or just storing your boat. But, some marinas may not allow you to dock your boat unless you have a minimum amount of insurance, so check the regulations in your area.
One option for protection is uninsured watercraft coverage . This coverage provides protection to you and your passengers in case of damage or injury involving an uninsured boater. This type of coverage may also cover other kinds of encounters, anonymous hit-and-run accidents, plus damage to the insured's boat may be covered by a different type of coverage, typically referred to as physical damage coverage.
Some basic boater policies may contain a low, fixed amount of uninsured boater coverage. However, if available, you may want to consider purchasing it as an additional optional coverage and select a higher limit to meet your needs.
Owning and/or operating a boat when you have no insurance is a lot like driving a car when you are uninsured. If you cause an accident, you can face a variety of consequences, including the risk of major financial loss.
You could be held liable and required to compensate victims of bodily injury, including other boat owners and their passengers, swimmers, skiers, etc.
You may also be held responsible for physical damage to the other watercraft.
When boating season is over, it may be tempting to put your boat up on blocks and cancel any insurance you have on it, but that's not a good idea. Even if your boat is a small one, your homeowner's insurance is unlikely to cover it. If a tree falls on it and crushes it or it is stolen, you may be responsible for those repairs out of your own pocket.