You are not required by law to purchase boat insurance if you own or operate a vessel in Florida. Some marinas and boatyards have boat insurance requirements, and the loan company may require you to purchase a policy if you have a lien on the boat. Although you are not required by law to purchase boat insurance, it is probably a good idea to purchase insurance because Florida has more registered boats than any other state and one of the highest accident rates in the country. Florida has very busy waterways, hurricanes, storm and a high potential for damages. Boat insurance is a no brainer.
What is the Cost of Boat Insurance in Florida?
Some homeowners insurance policies offer limited coverage for boats and watercraft. Coverage for damages to the vessel is usually limited to around $1,000 and only applies to some damage. Homeowners liability insurance may offer some coverage if you caused bodily injury or property damage to others, but there are restrictions depending on the type of boat. Personal property that you bring on the boat may be covered if it is lost or damaged, but not if it is used only on the boat.
The cost of boat insurance depends on a variety of factors, such as:
- Your boat’s value,
- Where your boat is stored and its navigational territory,
- The size of your boat and what type of vessel it is,
- How often your boat is used and for what purposes.
If your boats are operated off the coast, as opposed to inshore areas, boat insurance rates will be higher. The coastal areas are more prone to hurricanes and storms, therefore, you will typically pay higher premiums with larger deductibles given the increased risk of storm damages.
Whether you are a full-time resident of Florida or only spend a portion of the year in the state will impact the cost of boat insurance. Theft is more common in certain regions, and owners that don’t regularly use or monitor their boats can be considered a higher-risk.
You may get a less expensive boat insurance rate by purchasing an actual cash value policy, as opposed to an agreed value policy. Actual cash value boat insurance policies offer some of the best boat insurance rates, but you’ll receive a smaller payout in the event of a claim because there is a deduction for depreciation.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
Boat insurance covers damages to the vessel and your personal property, which are subject to a deductible. Coverage is in place whether the damage was sustained on the water or in a trailer. You can purchase liability coverage in case of damages to others and medical payments coverage in case you, or a guest, sustain any injuries. You can also purchase uninsured boat owners coverage, in case you are injured or your boat is damaged by another vessel that is not insured. You must purchase a personal watercraft or jet ski insurance policy if you want to cover a personal watercraft or set ski. You may also purchase towing coverage in case you are stranded and need to be towed.
Every boat insurance policy is limited to a particular area or territory. If you have a problem outside that area or territory, you would not be covered. For example, if you took your boat from Florida to Mexico, your boat insurance policy may not provide coverage unless you have obtained an endorsement to extend your navigational territory.
Every policy has a physical damage deductible, which may be a percentage of your boat’s value or a certain dollar value, such as $500.00.
How Much Boat Insurance Do I Need?
Florida is the busiest state for recreational boating in the nation. A large amount of watercraft on Florida’s waterways means the State also has the most boating accidents in the country.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a collision with another vessel is the leading type of boating accident in Florida. When it comes to fatalities, the majority of these were overboard drowning accidents in which alcohol or drugs were involved. The majority of accidents occur during recreational cruising or fishing. There are also a large number of boating accidents that occur when someone operating a boat has had too much to drink. Personal watercraft can cause substantial damage if not operated safely. Accidents caused by someone who is operating a jet ski negligently are on the rise in Florida.
You should purchase liability coverage in case of damages to others, and medical payments coverage in case you, or a guest, sustain any injuries. You should also purchase uninsured boat owners coverage because boat insurance is not mandatory and many boat owners are not insured.
Who Is Liable for a Boating Accident?
Anyone who operates a boat in a negligent manner can be liable for boating accidents. If someone operates a boat in an unsafe manner they could be found liable. If someone in your boat caused the accident, they can be held liable. If someone operating another boat caused the accident, they can be held liable as well. It will depend on the circumstances surrounding your particular incident.
Are You Entitled to Compensation after A Boat Accident?
If you were injured in a Florida boating accident, you may seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, property damage and other damages linked to the accident.
One problem victims of boat accidents have is that while liability insurance is recommended for boats in Florida, it is not required. If you are injured in a recreational boat accident, there is no guarantee that you are covered by an insurance company. One option may be to seek compensation from the negligent boat operator. He may or may not have insurance or the funds needed to cover your damages. You may seek compensation from a rental company that carries insurance and might be liable for the negligent entrustment of a vessel to someone without boating experience or training. Your best option is to have your own insurance, including uninsured boat owner’s insurance. An attorney with experience in boat accidents is needed in a boating accident case.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a boat accident and need help getting compensation for your injuries, call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353.