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The summer is the perfect time to be out on the water. A day on the boat at the lake with the family is a great way to enjoy the day and beat the Louisiana heat. But, before you pack up the boat and Jet Ski, call your Lafayette insurance company to get your watercraft insured so you can enjoy your summer days stress-free.

More than 100 boating accidents occur in this state each year. Although days on the water and watercrafts are fun- losing money due to an accident is not. Be sure to cover your vessel and your finances by investing in a watercraft insurance policy. The average boating accident in Louisiana results in $7,654 in damage. Read on to find out the basics of watercraft insurance and how it can help you have a stress-free summer.

What is Watercraft Insurance?

Watercraft insurance is an overarching term for three types of insurance: boat insurance, yacht insurance, and personal watercraft insurance. It protects against damages to boats powered by a motor with a horsepower of at least 25 miles per hour (mph). The types of costs covered by watercraft insurance policies can, for example, include physical loss or damage to the boat, theft of the boat, and towing.

Depending on the policy, there may also be watercraft liability coverage for bodily injury to people other than the boat’s owner and family, guest passengers using the boat by themselves, and medical payments for damage to the owner and their family. Some policies, however, require the purchase of additional liability coverage as an add-on. The size of your vessel dictates the specific type of insurance you buy.

Boat Insurance

Any vessel under 197 feet long is considered a boat, while ships are 197 feet or longer. However, the dividing line between boat and yacht is less settled. Some sources define a yacht as at least 30 feet long. Anything shorter is a pleasure boat marked by the National Boat Owners Association marks at 27 feet.

Standard homeowners or renter’s insurance policy may cover small craft, such as canoes, rowboats, small sailboats, and powerboats with less than 25 miles-per-hour horsepower. However, such coverage is unlikely to include liability insurance. Typical boat insurance covers theft, physical damage to the boat itself due to a collision or striking a submerged object; property damage to the boat caused by vandalism, a windstorm, lightning; and medical payments for injured passengers and the owner their family. There will be different deductibles for each piece of coverage, which is how much you must pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Boat insurance will often provide better liability insurance than a homeowner’s policy, but it is often wise to purchase additional liability coverage as an add-on.

Yacht Insurance

Most yacht coverage is broader and more specialized than pleasure boat coverage because larger vessels travel farther and are exposed to more significant risks. It also generally costs more, in part because yachts cost more. In terms of a deductible, it is usually determined as a percentage of the insured value. For example, with a 1% deductible, a boat insured for $175,000 would have a $1,750 deductible. Most lenders allow a maximum deductible of 2% of the insured value.

Generally, yacht insurance coverage does not include wear and tear, gradual deterioration, marine life, marring, denting, scratching, animal damage, osmosis, blistering, electrolysis, manufacturer’s defects, defects in design, and ice and freezing.

Personal watercraft insurance

Personal watercraft insurance is for recreational vehicles such as Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, and Yamaha Wave Runners. These surface-skimming craft can have engines with horsepower anywhere from 60 mph to 310 mph. They usually are not covered by homeowners insurance.

Personal watercraft insurance covers the owner and anyone they allow to use the craft for risks such as:

  • Bodily injury to another person
  • Bodily injury to you that an uninsured watercraft operator causes
  • Liability in the form of legal costs if you’re sued due to an accident (which can include water sports liability for things such as waterskiing risks)
  • Property damage to another watercraft, a boat, or a dock
  • Theft
  • Towing after an accident

Deductibles and liability limits will vary depending upon the policy and the company offering it. You can buy additional coverage for trailers and accessories and, if you own more than one craft, you may be able to bundle your insurance policies for a discount. These pleasure vehicles are easy to use and can also be dangerous, making personal watercraft insurance a wise investment.

How Watercraft Insurance Works

Watercraft insurance is similar to other types of insurance services. However, in exchange for paying a series of insurance premiums, the policyholder receives protection from certain rare but potentially costly risks. Depending on factors such as the size of the craft, age, and intended uses, the premium costs may range from relatively inexpensive to costly. When underwriting a policy, an insurance company will also consider the policyholder’s track record of previous claims.

Is Boat Insurance Required in Louisiana?

You are not mandated by law to carry boat insurance in Louisiana, unlike auto insurance. However, there are times when boat insurance might be required:

  • If you financed the purchase of your boat, your lender is likely to require you to have boat insurance until your loan is paid off.
  • If you dock your boat at a marina, having boat insurance might be a stipulation of your marina lease agreement.

Regardless of whether it is required, having boat insurance is a good idea — mainly if your boat is costly or if you will be operating it at high speeds. One of TSL’s insurance representatives can help you determine whether this coverage is cost-effective for you. Life on the water is one of the many joys of summers in Louisiana. But, make sure that the vessels that get you there are protected. Call a representative at TSL today to Insure Yourself for Summer Fun.