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    The insurance coverage your boat and pleasure craft needs

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    So, you’re sailing on an open lake by the cottage. Everything is going great. But suddenly, your engine fails, and you have no way to get your boat back to shore. Or, what if you accidentally hit another person’s boat and injure them? What if your boat, while docked, gets vandalized or damaged by the weather?

    You could be in trouble in these situations and face unexpected expenses, emergency towing, damage awards, or repairs. However, having the proper boat or pleasure craft insurance can prevent the need to pay these expenses out-of-pocket.

    This article explains the insurance policies that can provide peace of mind as you cruise your boat on the cottage waterfront or open sea.

    Liability coverage in case of injury or property damage

    Unlike car insurance, there’s generally no legal requirement for boating insurance. But, if you finance your boat or pleasure craft, insurance could be a condition to the loan. Further, a marina may mandate insurance to you dock there.

    Even without these obligations, it’s still wise to get boating or pleasure craft insurance. While out on the water, any number of accidents can occur. If you’re found at fault, you could be legally liable to compensate for injuries or property damage — not to mention the related legal fees if this issue goes to court.

    Damage awards for boating accidents can be as significant as a car accident. The other party may sue for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to compensate for injuries that inhibit their ability to work or enjoy life. In an accident, you may be legally liable for any damages caused to the passengers of your boat or pleasure craft, as well.

    You could further cause property damage in ways you wouldn’t expect. Even if your boat is relatively inexpensive, you could be liable if it causes damage to an expensive yacht. The proper insurance coverage can protect you in both scenarios so that you don’t pay these unforeseen costs yourself.

    Theft or damage to your boat or pleasure craft

    A boat often isn’t secured in a garage overnight. It may be docked somewhere with other boats, and anything can happen. A heavy storm could hit, an explosion could erupt, or a family of raccoons may decide to make your boat its new home — any of these incidents could require the repair or replacement of your boat or pleasure craft. Additionally, thieves or vandals may decide to target your boat. If your vessel isn’t there the following day or someone dots it with spray paint, it could be expensive to fix the situation.

    The right insurance policy can prevent having to pay a costly bill. More importantly, it provides peace of mind to know that while you dock your boat outside, that an insurance company would take care of any unfortunate circumstances that occur to your property.

    However, your insurance generally won’t cover properties related to your boat or pleasure craft, such as a boathouse or garage. You’ll likely need a separate insurance policy to protect yourself fully.

    Emergency towing 

    A third situation to consider is if your boat suddenly stops working out at sea or on a lake. You may end up stranded and in need of a towing service. Car towing services can be costly, but towing boat services are even more expensive. This is why it’s better to prepare yourself with insurance to take care of such a situation instead of having to fork over the emergency towing fees.

    Boating and other pleasure crafts are a lot of fun. Don’t let an accident or unfortunate circumstance ruin it. The proper insurance coverage protects you in case of an accident, theft, damage, or if you require emergency towing services. Let an insurance policy handle these situations so you can get back to enjoying the views.

    Originally published July 13, 2021, updated August 25, 2023

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