Summer is almost upon us. Are you thinking of purchasing a boat to take advantage of beautiful weather days on the water?

After you’ve looked at the brochures and visited the boat shows, don’t forget to give our agency a call. There are specific insurance questions you should answer before you sign on the dotted line. While a boat is considered personal property, coverage under your homeowners insurance policy will be limited for watercraft.

A typical homeowners policy covers liability for damage to property and bodily injury to others when the owned watercraft is a sailboat under 26 feet, or when the owned watercraft is powered by engines or motors of 25 horsepower or less.

In addition, the homeowners policy will have specific limits on the amount of coverage for watercrafts and their trailers, as well as gaps in covered perils like theft and sea perils—including sinking, stranding, running aground and collision. After one of these events happens it is too late to discover you don’t have the proper insurance coverage for the loss.

Watercraft owners will be better served by a policy specifically designed to cover the lawsuits and potential physical damage arising out of owning a watercraft. When selecting a policy or checking existing coverage, look for limits of navigation—where the watercraft can go and still be protected by the insurance policy. Check also if there is a “lay-up period”—a time when coverage is suspended as the boat is assumed to be in storage for winter months.

Also important in a watercraft policy are adequate limits of liability insurance and provisions for insuring sails, spars and other property in the watercraft.

If coverage suspension is not automatic for winter months, some insurance companies will allow you to pause your insurance while it is in storage, but you should make sure you have the proper coverage to protect it during this time, too. We can help you figure out the coverage you may need. Remember, if your insurance company allows you to suspend the coverage, don’t forget to reinstate it before the next season.

If you have the proper insurance coverage, you are more likely to have smooth sailing, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

  • 100 million Americans go boating each year.
  • Americans spend $49.3 billion on boats, marine products, and services each year.
  • Common boating insurance claims: weather, hitting sunken objects, fire, injury, collisions and theft.

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