Written by Barbara Pettinger, Signature Account Manager
As winter draws to a close and we put our skis and snowmobiles away for another season, our thoughts turn to summer fun and in between we use spring to start making plans for the beach or the cottage and fun in the water. Boat shows abound for those looking to buy their first watercraft or upgrade. Ads start to appear online or in the paper for used watercraft being offered for sale. Craft that have been stored for the winter are being readied for their return to the water. Anglers, sailors, water-skiers and swimmers are looking forward to getting back to the water.
Whether you are new to watercraft or a seasoned sailor, one of the most important things to remember is insurance for you and your vessel. Why you may ask? No matter how much experience or training you have had, no matter the steps you take to protect your watercraft, accidents happen. Imagine the following:
- The marina where your vessel is stored is struck by vandals and thieves and yours is one of the boats to sustain damage and have contents stolen
- You hit a hidden rock in the water and your vessel is damaged or sinks
- A freak storm upends your sailboat and it flips over dockside, with the mast stuck firmly in the mud below
- The barn where you store your boat for the winter is felled by a tornado, crushing the vessel and boat trailer inside
- The garage you stored your boat and trailer in goes up in flames, leaving you nothing but ash
- The boat sitting on a trailer in your driver rolls down the driveway and strikes a parked car
- You inadvertently drive your boat into the side of a dock and now have to cover not only the damage to your vessel but the damage to the dock as well
- Your boat hit a sandbar, caught fire and not only destroyed the vessel but left you with a bill from the local authorities for clean up of the wreckage and the pollution to the water caused by the leaking fuel
- You struck a swimmer with your Sea-doo and caused them serious injuries
All of these are real examples of watercraft insurance claims.
Watercraft insurance includes coverage not only for physical damage to the vessel itself, but liability for damage to other vessels, docks or people caused during the operation of your craft. Coverage may also include coverage for salvage if the vessel sinks, pollution and spill liability, medical payments, emergency towing, personal effects on the boat, emergency vacation expense and loss of use.
No matter the size or nature of the craft, you should discuss the best way to protect your vessel with your Insurer. Coverage for some smaller craft such as rowboats, runabouts with small outboard motors, kayaks and canoes may be included in the underlying coverage of your property insurance, but it is best to verify this and to ensure there are no special limits applied. Kayaks and canoes may be covered but the values may be restricted on the policy and additional coverage may need to be purchased. The length of a craft, horsepower and speed of the engine, may make a craft ineligible for inclusion on your property insurance, but they may be eligible for scheduling on a policy. Larger or higher valued vessels, sailboats, powerboats, ski boats, yachts and personal watercraft such as Sea-doo’s will need to be insured on separate watercraft insurance policies.
We at the Lawrie Insurance Group are at your service. We have several options to protect you and your watercraft. We can offer solutions to suit your needs. Call us any time for quotes or advice on how to ensure you and your family are protected.