Boat Insurance | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

Must-Know Tips for Boating Safety

The weather’s finally getting warmer and it’s time to enjoy your time out on the water with friends and family. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned boating expert or a newbie, it’s a good idea to freshen up on boating safety, so that you and those you care about most can have a fun, memorable experience out on the water.

Unfortunately, boating accidents claim lives every single year. To prevent a potential tragedy, follow these safety precautions before taking the boat out:

Have your boat inspected. The Vessel Safety Check is a free public service that is offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteers. Experts will make sure that your boat meets the minimum safety requirements and also that you have the necessary safety equipment onboard that can save lives and get help in the event of an emergency.

Make sure you have plenty of life jackets on board. The easiest way to keep yourself safe while you’re on a boat is by wearing a life jacket. Eighty-two percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket, according to Coast Guard studies. At minimum, you should have a life jacket readily available for each person on board your boat. Laws do require that you wear a life jacket while on board as well. In states where no children’s life jacket law in in place, a U.S. Coast Guard interim rule states that children under the age of 13 are required to wear a life jacket that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Develop and communicate a float plan. All important information pertaining to your trip including contact information for your trip leader, the type of boat you’re using, and where you plan to use your boat should be included in the plan.

Remember that consuming alcohol while on a boat is not a good idea. Sixteen percent of all recreational boating deaths have been linked to the consumption of alcohol. Although it’s not illegal to drink while boating, think of the situation the same way as driving a car under the influence of alcohol. Your reaction time is impaired and you could jeopardize the lives of yourself and your loved ones.

Pay attention to the weather. Before taking your boat out on the water, take a look at the weather forecast to make sure no thunderstorms will be on the way. Windy days also present certain hazards while boating. Waves can potentially capsize smaller vessels or passengers could fall overboard.

Keep your boating skills sharp. Operational error accounts for over 70% of boating accidents each year. You can improve your boating skills by enrolling in educational courses.

Know how to swim. If you’re out on the water in any situation, you should know how to swim. Otherwise, like it or not, you are putting yourself at risk. Floatation devices can help, but only so much.

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Why Do I Need Boat Insurance?

Typical boat insurance policies have two basic sections: physical damage and liability. Physical damage pertains to accidental loss or damage to the boat and its machinery. Various parts of the boat would be covered in this section of the policy: the hull and engines, sails, personal property, and any other operating equipment that is essential to the boat’s functionality.
Liability Coverage
The liability section of the policy is where you will find your coverages for your legal obligations to third parties, as well as damage caused to someone else’s property as a direct result of operating your boat. For example, let’s say you’re on your boat with your family and some guests. One of the guests on your boat slips and falls, breaking their ankle. The broken ankle would be considered bodily injury. Your policy would also cover you if someone died while on your boat.
Medical Payments Coverage
Another part of a boat insurance policy that is very important is your coverage for medical payments. If the event of an injury to another party, your Medical Payment coverage would cover the costs for any first aid treatments, an ambulance, hospital bills, and any other costs resulting from an injury on your boat. You’ll want to make sure that you have coverages for in place for when people are either coming aboard your boat or if they’re leaving. Always makes sure you have enough coverage on your policy to cover potential injuries to yourself or members of your family.
Uninsured/Underinsured Boat Coverage
When it comes to legal operation of a boat, liability insurance is not required. Therefore, in some instances, it is not unlikely that someone may not be carrying liability insurance on their boat policy. Uninsured/Underinsured Boat Coverage is meant to cover you for injuries sustained that are caused by an operator of another boat that doesn’t have liability insurance on their boat policy.
How Much Will It Cost to Insure My Boat?
This is not a simple question to answer. There are several factors that go into determining the cost of insurance for a boat. For instance, the value, length, and age of the boat; type of boat, type of engine, where you plan to use your boat, and claims history. Naturally, someone who has a long history of filing insurance claims for their boat is going to pay a higher cost than someone who has a clean slate because they are deemed to be higher risk. As is the case with other types of insurance, there are ways to lower the cost of your premium. The easiest, and perhaps most commonly used way is to select a higher deductible for your policy. This is the money you would pay up front out of pocket before your insurance policy kicks in. It may also be possible to include something called a lay-up period which is a period of time in which your boat is not being used (typically during the winter months). Your insurance underwriter may offer a discount for each month you are not using your boat.
Call our office to discuss your options for boat insurance today! We’re here for you!

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What is Boat Insurance and Why Do You Need It?

When you think of insurance, you probably think of the most common insurance policies: life, health, home, and auto. But if you’re a boat owner, there is another insurance policy that needs to be at the top of your list – boat insurance.

Unlike automobile insurance, boat insurance is not required in every state. Having such a policy for your boat, however, protects your financial security should an accident occur.

“Boat owners should at least carry liability insurance, which covers them for any damage they may cause to someone’s property or if they cause an injury to someone else,” says Dave Freeman, vice president of Personal Lines Underwriting at Erie Insurance. “If you want protection for your own boat – including permanently attached equipment, any boating equipment and accessories, outboard motors and boat trailers – you need to carry physical damage coverage.”

The comprehensive physical damage coverage Freeman mentions protects you in the event your boat sustains direct physical loss of or damage to your boat, equipment, motor and/or trailer. Another more basic coverage is Named Perils coverage that protects you should an accident occur due to fire, lightning, cyclone, tornado, windstorm, theft, vandalism or malicious mischief, collision while waterborne, collision, overturn and derailment on land or the loss of the entire motor overboard.

Another coverage every boat owner should consider is the uninsured boater’s protection policy that covers insured boaters if they are ever involved in an accident with an uninsured boater.

While most claims would be covered under these coverages, boat owners looking for more protection may also consider a medical payments coverage that covers injuries sustained on a boat. You might also consider emergency services coverage in case emergency service to the boat is required. You also have the option to insure your boating equipment and even the personal effects you bring on your boat, such as clothing, fishing equipment, canopies, tools, radios and cameras.

Finally, sailboat owners may be interested in a spars and sails racing extension, which covers damage to the sails, spars and rigging during a pre-arranged racing competition.

ERIE’s boat insurance policy protects boaters anywhere in the continental United States, Washington D.C. and Canada as well as the waters that stretch along the coastline. To learn more about this policy and specific coverage available, call Boizelle Insurance. We can walk you through the coverage you need.

It’s time to have some fun now that the logistics are out of the way. Enjoy the warm weather and head out onto the water!

Originally Posted By: Erie Insurance  

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