What is uninsured watercraft coverage?

Last updated: January 1

Uninsured watercraft coverage helps cover your injuries or your passenger's injuries caused by another boater with little to no liability insurance. This is often an optional coverage on a boat insurance policy, and it may not be available in every state.

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What if an uninsured boater damages my boat?

It's important to note that uninsured watercraft coverage only helps pay for expenses related to personal injuries caused by an uninsured boater —up to the limit stated in your policy. However, if that same boater also damages your watercraft, the property coverage on your boat insurance policy would likely help pay for repairs, up to your policy's limit. You'll probably also need to pay your deductible before your policy will help cover the cost of repairing or replacing your boat.

What's the difference between uninsured watercraft and liability coverage?

Uninsured watercraft coverage and liability coverage are similar in that they both help cover expenses resulting from an accident with another boat. However, which coverage applies depends on who is found responsible for the accident.

Uninsured watercraft coverage helps pay for injuries people on your boat sustain from another boater who does not have insurance. Meanwhile, liability coverage helps pay for expenses if you, the boat insurance policyholder, accidentally damage another person's property or injure another person. If you are responsible for a boat accident, liability coverage can help prevent you from paying out of pocket for the resulting damage to the other person's property or their related medical expenses.

What if I don't have boat insurance?

Boat insurance typically is not legally required like auto insurance, but owning a boat when you have no insurance is similar to driving a car when you are uninsured. If you cause an accident, you may risk having to pay for damage to another boat or someone else's medical expenses out of your own pocket. But if you have liability coverage, which available on a typical boat insurance policy, it may help pay for those types of unexpected costs, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says.

In addition, boat insurance usually helps protect your boat from additional risks, such as theft, fire and vandalism, according to the III. The property coverage on a boat insurance policy helps pay to replace your boat if it is stolen, for example, but without insurance, you'd need to purchase a new one on your own.

You've likely invested significant time and money in your boat, so it only makes sense that you'd want to take steps to help protect it — and yourself. Having a boat insurance policy with the coverages that fit your needs can help give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a safety net in place, just in case the unexpected occurs.