If you’re a boat owner, then you know how important it is to carry proper insurance coverage on the water. Boats are lots of fun, but a lot of things can go wrong, too. You need to make sure that you, your family and your guests are safe at all times. When accidents do happen, you want to know that everything is covered.
Recreational boating accidents are not uncommon. In 2017, according to the U. S. Coast Guard, there were 4,291 boating accidents in the United States. These accidents resulted in 658 deaths and 2,269 injuries. 47% of these accidents occurred in open motorboats. The fatality rate was 5.5 deaths per 100,000 registered boats.
Unfortunately, some people who spend time on the water are ignorant of the importance of proper coverage. Others are lazy or are outright negligent about it. Not everyone does the right thing when it comes to insurance, and not everyone is a smart and prepared boater. Because of this, one of the most vital boater insurance coverages to have is uninsured boater coverage.
It’s too bad that uninsured boater coverage is even necessary. We like to think that everyone is as concerned with their own safety and the safety of others as we are, but some people just aren’t. Also, in some cases, another boat owner may have had proper coverage at one time, but they let it lapse, thereby putting others in danger.
What is Uninsured Boater Coverage?
Uninsured boater coverage is exactly what it sounds like. If you get into an accident with another boater, but that boater does not have insurance of his own or her own, you are covered anyway. This is crucial if there is damage to your boat or if someone is injured and the other party involved in the accident does not have liability insurance.
Imagine that you and your friends or family are enjoying a nice day on the water just off the shore in Tampa Bay. You are minding your own business and are having a wonderful time. Your children are fishing off the deck and have caught some impressive fish, too. It’s a sunny day and the weather is perfect.
You have just finished putting out lunch and were just about to call everyone to the meal. The beauty of the sun and the sea is all around you, and you were just thinking about how you are so fortunate. You wave to other boats as they pass by.
Suddenly, one of those boats passes a little too near. Its captain was paying attention, but due to the wake of another larger boat nearby, his or her boat drifted into your craft. It wasn’t a major crash, but everyone felt it.
In the aftermath, you notice that your hull has a small crack. Some of the paint has been scratched off the side, and worst of all, one of your guests lost his balance in the impact and may have sprained his wrist. Everyone rushes to his aid and applies ice to his injury immediately.
The other boat’s captain is apologetic and is very friendly. Neither of you can believe this happened on such a beautiful day.
Accidents like this happen all the time. The collision wasn’t intentional, of course; that’s why it’s called an accident. However, when the captain of the other boat produces his or her insurance card, you both realize that the policy expired over a month ago. You are dealing with an uninsured boater, and it’s a good thing you know that you have marine coverage for an instance like this.
If you did not have uninsured boater coverage, a few things could happen in this scenario. Of course, we all hope that the other boater will be honest and will pay for the damage he or he caused. In some cases, that might happen.
However, as you know, damage to boats can be expensive – especially the crack in your hull. And what if your guest decides to sue for his injuries? If the other captain cannot pay or refuses to pay, these costs may be on you.
With uninsured boater coverage, you can rest easy – even if the other captain does not or cannot come through. You will be covered for property damages and for bodily injury by your own insurance policy.
Although uninsured boater coverage will cover you in most accidents with an uninsured boater, there are a few exclusions, too. If you settle the claim without your insurance company’s consent, you may not be covered in the end. If you get into an accident with a boat owned by the government, you may not be covered either. Most other situations are covered, though, so as long as you have full coverage, you can boat with peace of mind no matter what other boaters may be doing.
There are limits to every insurance policy, so you will want to make sure that you have enough coverage for the accidents you may experience before heading out on the water. Your coverage limits are spelled out in simple language on the declarations page of your policy, but if they are not clear or you feel they are not correct for your particular craft, ask your insurance agent to clarify them for you.
Recreational boating can be a lot of fun and is a big part of the lives of so many Floridians. You can boat for years or even decades without experiencing a single incident that required insurance coverage. However, if and when you do get into a boating accident, you will be glad that you had adequate coverage for both property damage and bodily injury, especially uninsured boater coverage.
To ensure that your boat, self, and passengers are safe on the water, contact your insurance agent today to discuss your coverage. Many people believe that their boat is covered under their homeowner’s insurance policy, but that is not the case. We are standing by to answer any questions you may have about boat safety and insurance. Please contact us today, so you can get out on the water and enjoy it, worry-free.