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What you should know about boating insurance

Boating is a favorite pastime for many Californians. Our state’s warm weather and beautiful beaches makes it a popular outdoor hobby. Some boaters are lulled into a false sense of security on the state’s peaceful waters. But many boaters, even skilled veterans, will experience an accident at some point or another.

When that happens, you need your boat insurance to come through and provide the coverage that you need. Purchasing adequate insurance is the first step to avoiding a high payout or a debate with your insurer. These are a few of the must-know facts about boating insurance.

Who needs boat insurance?

Not all boaters need insurance. Sometimes, your home insurance policy will cover your boat—but the amount of coverage is usually low, and usually does not include liability. Generally, a homeowners’ policy will only be adequate for:

  • Canoes
  • Small-engine boats
  • Other types of slow, small and inexpensive watercraft

You will need boat insurance if you own:

  • Yachts
  • Large sailboats
  • Jet boats
  • WaveRunners or other personal watercraft
  • Boats that run faster than 25 mph

What does boat insurance pay for?

  • Damage from an accident, natural disaster, theft or vandalism
  • Personal injuries that occur on the boat
  • Damage that your boat causes to another person’s property
  • Medical expenses for injuries
  • Passenger liability for guests on your boat

What if my claim is denied?

In some cases, boaters find that their insurance company will bend over backwards to avoid paying a claim. If your claim has been denied, there are some steps that you can take. First, check that your policy covers the damage that you have incurred. Then, write an appeal to your insurance company. Be sure to document your actions and write down the names of the adjusters you speak to. If your claim is still denied for a reason that you believe is unfair, it may be an example of bad faith on the insurance company’s part. These cases must sometimes be resolved by an attorney. Be persistent until you receive the coverage that you need.