During the boating off-season, take time to inspect your equipment and gear to maximize your time on the water in the next season. Visually inspect your boat, motor, trailer, batteries, life jackets, and all other safe boating equipment. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher, and make sure life jackets are properly cleaned and stored.
An often-overlooked item to check is your boat insurance. Insurance serves as a protection for any of those potential “what-if” scenarios. It can be summed up in the adage of “it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
There are several components of an insurance policy that will allow you to gain a better understanding of the coverage you have on your vessel. Locate your boat insurance declarations page and thoroughly read through it. The declarations page will contain all pertinent information regarding the specific details of your policy and the exact type of policy you have.
Upon review of a declarations page, check for the following key components:
- Total insured value – This value is the stated amount you’ve agreed your vessel is worth. Take your time to understand if your coverage is adequate for the replacement value of the boat, motor, trailer, and equipment.
- Liability coverage – This is the amount of insurance coverage provided if you’re legally responsible for injuries, boat damage, or property damage caused by an incident. If you’re participating in any sanctioned boating events, or are a licensed captain, you may be required to carry additional liability coverage.
- Policy Period – This period covers the dates you are insured for or “covered by insurance.” Familiarize yourself with the expiration dates and the renewal process to avoid a lapse of insurance coverage.
Whether you’re a weekend boater, competitive fisherman, or looking to purchasing a boat, everyone’s insurance needs are different. Take the time to get the right coverage for the recreational activities you participate in. As you’re reviewing your insurance policy, be reminded that several insurance companies provide policy discounts for obtaining your boating safety card and taking an on-water skills training course.
Visit with an insurance agent to discuss your boating coverage needs that maximize your protection on the water and explore savings opportunities for being a responsible boater. After selecting your policy, make sure to store a copy of your insurance documents in a watertight container along with your boat registration on your vessel. And, store a copy safely at home.
Before hitting the water next, review your boating insurance coverage and gain an understanding of the policy. The piece of mind will allow you to stay protected on the water and ultimately be a safer, more confident boater.