If you own a motorboat, jet ski, or even a canoe, you want peace of mind when you’re out on the water. That’s where boat insurance comes in. Currently, boat and watercraft operators are not required to hold an insurance policy in order to operate their equipment. However, just like car or homeowner’s insurance, a boat insurance policy can help to protect you, others and your property in the event of an accident.
Let’s take a look at what a boat insurance policy looks like in New York, plus what’s included in a typical policy.
How Does NY Boat Insurance Work?
Even though boat insurance is not required by law in New York State, a policy with liability coverage can help to pay for injuries for yourself and your guests in the event of an accident. Boat insurance may also help you to cover the cost of repairs of your boat or another person’s property if you have proper collision, comprehensive, or property damage liability coverage.
If you are financing or plan on taking out a loan to pay for your boat, some banks may require you to provide proof of insurance before they lend to you. In the event that something happens to the boat before you pay off the loan, the bank will need to know that repairs can be covered.
In some cases, private docks or marinas may even ask you for proof of insurance before they allow your boat to dock at their property to ensure their property or others’ property will be protected.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
While your boat may be partially protected under your homeowners policy, a boat insurance policy may offer additional coverage at higher limits if your boat or watercraft is stolen, in an accident, or otherwise damaged as a result of covered peril like lightning or a fire.
Here’s what’s included in a standard boat insurance policy in NY:
Property damage liability coverage: Pays for damages to another boat, watercraft, or property if you are at fault for an accident.
Bodily injury liability coverage: Helps to cover medical or legal expenses if someone in your boat, another boat, or in the water is injured in an accident for which you are at fault.
Medical payments: Pays for medical bills if you are injured in an accident.
Uninsured boater coverage: If you are injured in an accident where an uninsured boater is at fault, this coverage will help to pay for medical treatment of your injuries.
Other optional coverages include:
Comprehensive coverage: Pays for damage to your boat or watercraft in the event something out of your control occurs (theft, glass damage, weather-related incidents, etc.)
Collision coverage: Pays for damage to your boat or watercraft if you’re in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Why is Boat Insurance Important to Have?
One common misconception is that driving a boat is far less dangerous than driving a passenger vehicle. While it’s true that boat operators are 30 times less likely to be involved in a serious or fatal crash than drivers, recreational watercraft accidents are actually more common than accidents with a vehicle.
According to the American Boating Association, there were over 5,000 watercraft accidents in 2020, resulting in 3,191 injuries and 767 deaths. Without boat insurance, you would be responsible for any medical bills and property damage costs if you were to be involved in an accident with another uninsured boater or are at fault for an accident in the water.
Alternatively, if you are hurt in a boating accident, you may not be able to collect compensation for medical bills for injuries resulting from the accident if the owner of the at-fault party’s boat does not have liability insurance.
Although the thought of adding another insurance policy may seem daunting, it is worth the small investment. We recommend talking to a trusted and experienced insurance agent to help you determine the right boat insurance policy for you, as this policy will help to protect you in the event that a personal injury occurs on the water.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the waters of boat insurance to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries. Call the attorneys at Cellino Law for your free consultation 24/7 at 800-555-5555.