Owning a boat opens the door to great fishing and memorable days on the water with family and friends. However, owning a boat can be expensive, and unexpected issues can lead to big headaches and big charges on your credit card.
For peace of mind, boat insurance is a no-brainer. Simply knowing that you’re protected in the case of an accident can reduce your stress and help you enjoy your boat more.
Even better than having boat insurance is never having to use it. According to a representative at Travelers Insurance, one of many companies offering boating insurance, there are three types of incidents that make up 65 percent of their claims.
#3 Mechanical Breakdown
For Travelers Insurance, mechanical breakdowns make up 11 percent of their boating claims. Engine problems are inevitable, but you can avoid most major problems by staying on top of maintenance and service. Many engine issues will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, there are specific cases where a warranty claim will be denied, such as if a piece of debris is drawn into the engine and causes damage. When a manufacturer warranty claim is denied, boat insurance can help cover the repair. To avoid mechanical breakdowns, make sure your boat is inspected by a professional at the start of the season, and make any necessary repairs before launching. Address minor issues before they become catastrophic and lead to major mechanic bills and time off the water.
#2 Weather Damage
Tornados, tropical storms, and hurricanes make up 16 percent of claims at Travelers Insurance. They can cause major damage to a boat, or even worse, cause it to sink. Always keep an eye on the forecast between June 1 and November 30, but especially in August and September, which produce the worst weather of the boating season. Have a plan for your vessel, with extra lines on hand to secure your boat in the case of high winds. Most marinas will haul boats out of the water when there is a potential for high winds, storm surges, and large amounts of rainfall. If your boat is docked or at a slip, the best course of action is often to remove the boat from the water to eliminate the risk of damage or the boat sinking.
The biggest category of boating claims is damage as a result of collisions. Thirty-eight percent of boat insurance claims in 2020 were the result of collisions with docks, seawalls, other boats, and especially submerged objects such as rocks and logs. The most obvious way to avoid collisions is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. When boating in an area that is new to you, proceed with caution. However, there are days when even the most experienced captains will struggle to navigate because of poor visibility caused by fog or rain. Learn to use your electronics, especially your Chartplotter and radar if you have it, keep a lookout, and always reduce speed in poor conditions.
Have questions about boat insurance? Speak with a Travelers agent to discuss your exposures, assess your needs, and fill in the gaps so you have peace of mind when on the water.
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