With summer in full swing, many people have their boats and other crafts out on the water, and that means something bad could happen at any moment that might ruin what otherwise might have been a great day. Many things can go wrong when boating, and with the proliferation of personal watercraft and other vessels in recent years, there are more people making recreation use of the nation's waterways than ever before.
There are nearly 13 million types of vessels registered in the United States, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. And there are many that ply the waters without state-mandated registration tags, making busy waterways a potential source of problems for boat owners and others.
Fortunately, a good watercraft insurance policy can protect owners of vessels against damage or loss of their property as well as provide liability protection in case a passenger or someone else is injured or killed or their property damaged or destroyed in the course of recreational activity. Even something as simple as a canoe or flat-bottom boat can tip and send someone into the water, which might result in an injury or fatality that could wind up putting the owner in financial ruin.
Nearly all property and casualty insurance companies underwrite protection for personal watercraft, and a good policy can be had for as little as a couple hundred dollars per year. Such plans will insure boats and personal watercraft against theft, damage, destruction or causing damage or destruction to other people's properties. If accidentally ramming another craft or striking a dock or other structure and damaging or destroying it, the policy would pay up to policy limits to repair or replace it.
And with many people enjoying water skiing and other activities, there is a possibility of an accident resulting in serious injury or death for which the boat owner might be held liable. But a good policy will insure against that as well. Even personal effects lost or stolen from a vessel could be covered by a good plan.
While such policies can be affordable and somewhat comprehensive in what they cover, there are limitations and exclusions. Generally, any watercraft that has been modified or built for high speed will be excluded, and that speed might be as low as 65 miles per hour, which many craft can exceed these days. And males under age 25 tend to be charged higher rates due to a greater likelihood of risky behavior from the demographic subgroup.
A common liability range for vessels ranges from about $100,000 to $300,000 but can go higher. And the insured amount for the craft in question can be determined by its replacement value or its actual cash value. Replacement value policies run more than actual cash value coverage, but the more someone enjoys being on the water, the more the higher priced protection makes sense.