What is Florida Boat Insurance?
In Florida many families and individuals own personal watercraft and this presents specialized exposure to loss. Boat insurance provides coverage for various types of boats (including rowboats, canoes, outboard and inboard motorboats, sailboats, houseboats, and power yachts.) Policies covering these boats are referred to as Watercraft Policies, Personal Watercraft, or Yacht Policies. The type of policy that a boat owner needs will be determined by the types of exposure to loss, specific use of the boat, and physical characteristics of the boat. A homeowner policy may provide some limited coverage for a boat but the unique exposures of boat ownership and their operation are better addressed by a policy form that is specific to watercraft loss exposures.
What are some of the coverages provided by a Florida boat policy?
Common coverages include:
- Physical damage coverage for the boat – typical loss exposures covered include damage caused by collision with an object, damage to sails, theft of equipment, and damage to navigational equipment. Larger boats and yachts have property coverage called “hull” insurance.
- Liability coverage for the operation of the boat – losses to others caused by operation of the boat that includes loss of life, illness, and damage to personal property. Larger boats and yachts have a form of liability coverage called protection and indemnity (P&I). Due to the exposures of these types of larger vessels coverage is a broader form of bodily injury and property damage.
- Medical payments coverage – medical losses due to bodily injury while occupying, boarding or leaving the boat. The owner does not have to be at fault for payment of expenses caused by medical payments. Medical payment expenses include medical, surgical, dental, and hospital expenses.
- Trailer coverage – damage to a trailer.
In addition to understanding the various coverages that are available, it is very important for boat owners to be aware of the warranties that may be part of a policy, especially for larger boats and yachts. A warranty is a promise made by the Insured that guarantees compliance with certain requirements. Examples may include include:
- The vessel is only used for pleasure – no hire or chartered services.
- Seaworthiness – proper maintenance to insure the boat is seaworthy.
- Lay-up period – the period during the year the boat will be used such as during winter months.
- Navigational limits – use within a specific geographical territory.
What are some additional coverage options available in Florida?
Examples of some coverage extensions include:
- Uninsured Boaters Coverage – an endorsement that provides coverage for a boating accident that is caused by another boat owner or operator who is legally responsible for the accident and does not have insurance.
- United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act – an endorsement that provides injured workers with benefits similar to benefits provided by workers compensation statutes that are excluded by the federal USLH statute.
- Coverage can be added for the legal obligation to remove a wrecked or sunken boat following a loss.
- Coverage can be added for commercial towing and assistance.
- Coverage for certain personal items such as a portable television, stereo or camera that is not normally intended for the operation of the boat.
- Coverage can be added for bodily injury and property damage due to transporting the boat on land.
- Hurricane protection can be added that will reimburse the owner expenses such as hiring a professional to move the boat to a safe location if a hurricane is approaching. There are restrictions such as the cost of moving the boat must be less than the potential total loss of the boat in the hurricane.
Does a Florida Boat policy have deductibles?
There are a wide variety of policies available for boat owners. Some policies and coverages have required deductibles. Generally, however, there are a number of deductible options available.
This is a general description of a Boat Policy and should not be considered an interpretation of your specific coverage. You must consult your individual policy for coverage, definitions, limits, conditions, and requirements.