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Navigating Boat Insurance

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2018 National Recreational Boating Survey, about 14.5 million American households own a boat used for recreation, including 378,000 here in Illinois. Boating is a fun summer activity, but it comes with risks. It’s important to make sure you have the proper insurance coverage for your boat, whether it’s a luxury yacht or a small fishing boat.

The state of Illinois may not require boat owners to purchase insurance, but it’s still a very good idea to do so. Without boat insurance, you could be held responsible for repair costs and medical costs in the event of an accident. The average cost of a boat insurance claim is $11,000, so without coverage, that could be a major financial hit.

How much coverage do I need?   

Like with cars, boats lose monetary value once you take them off the lot and depreciate further with time and use. Insuring your boat for market value factors in depreciation, which can save you money on your premium. But if you would want to replace your boat with a brand-new one if it were to get destroyed, you’d want to insure it for its agreed value. This comes with a higher premium, but also a higher payout if you were to need to replace the boat.

Protecting your boat from others

According to statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard, the most common type of boating accident is a collision with another boat. Just like with auto insurance, you’ll want to make sure you have coverage for damage caused by uninsured or underinsured boaters. You can’t count on other boaters to have proper coverage, so make sure your policy covers you if they can’t.

It’s not just the boat itself you need coverage for

Most boat owners don’t live right on the water and need to transport their boats to a marina when they want to use them. Your boat insurance can also cover your trailer and other boat-related equipment. You can add a watercraft physical damage endorsement, which covers physical damage of eligible boats and the trailers used to transport them to the water.

However, boat insurance usually does not cover damage from car accidents while transporting the boat. You can purchase an umbrella policy that would cover your boat while it’s out of the water, during transport and storage.

You can also protect items you keep on your boat. By adding a fishing equipment and personal effects endorsement, you can make sure you have the right coverage limits for things like fishing gear, water sports equipment, coolers and more.

Boating safety is key

Inexperienced or inattentive operators are the primary cause of boating accidents. Taking a boating safety course, like those offered by the U.S. Coast Guard, can help you reduce your insurance premium. Make sure to always follow best practices for boating safety; it’s crucial for avoiding costly accidents.

Contact one of our personal lines agents here at Kamm Insurance Group to make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your boat, not matter how small. We can get you an affordable policy that won’t leave you on the hook for expensive damages in the event of a boating accident.

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