Now that summer is officially here, it’s likely that the lakes of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana will be busy with people enjoying their boats and personal watercraft. If you are among them, now is a good time to check to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for these assets.
If you have just bought your first boat or personal watercraft, it is important to remember that your homeowner’s insurance policy does not usually cover these vehicles—and they each need their own separate policy. Therefore, if you have a boat and a personal watercraft you’ll need to insure them separately. For insurance purposes, a personal watercraft requires its own policy and is defined as a water vehicle that riders sit or stand on outside of a boat, such as brand name vehicles like Jet Skis and Sea-Doos.
In some ways, you can think of boat insurance policies as mash-ups of car and homeowner policies. Like home insurance, these policies cover you for liability if someone is injured while on your boat and, in the event that your boat is damaged, it can also give you the choice between the replacement cost or cash value if the vehicle is considered a total loss. As with auto insurance, boat coverage typically includes coverage for bodily injury that your boat inflicts on others, property damage your boat inflicts on docks and other boats, and any physical damage that your boat sustains should you hit something or run aground.
You can also purchase additional coverage to include assistance in the event your boat needs to be towed and to protect it against theft, vandalism, fire and flood. You may also want to consider personal property coverage for any items of value that you keep on your boat such as fishing gear.
Personal watercraft policies generally offer protection for damage repair and replacement costs, but often have the following exclusions: vehicles that have been modified to enhance performance, accidents and damages that occur if the personal watercraft is operated in the dark, and operation of the vehicle by someone without a driver’s license (unless there is a special endorsement added to the policy). Keep in mind, too, that most states regulate the minimum age for drivers of personal watercraft. In Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, personal watercraft drivers must be at least 12, 14, and 15 years of age, respectively.
Boating and enjoying the water on a personal watercraft during the summer is one of the true pleasures of living near, or visiting, the lake areas of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. By taking a few moments to review your existing boat and personal watercraft insurance coverage or to obtain a new policy, you can ensure that you’ll have smooth sailing on the water all season long.
Let’s Talk! Have you recently purchased a boat or are you thinking of purchasing one? Give Kemner Iott Benz a call for your boating/watercraft needs. With locations throughout lower Michigan, we are here to serve you.
Andrea Bailey specializes in asset protection and risk management for our personal lines customers at our Adrian location. Born and raised in Adrian, MI, Andrea graduated from Lenawee Christian School, and has both her undergraduate and masters degree from Siena Heights University. An active member of the Kiwanis Club of Adrian, Andrea also enjoys watching her son participate in soccer and basketball. Andrea has been a member of the Kemner Iott Benz team since 2012.