5 Things to Know About Boating

Spring is here! With sunshine and blue skies overhead and Opening Day of the boating season on the horizon, nautical northwesterners are itching to get on the water. Before you launch your boat this season, take a few moments and review your insurance policy; coverage can vary greatly from policy to policy. Here are five scenarios to consider before donning those topsiders:

1. Remember the Titanic: It took 30 seconds from first sighting of the iceberg to impact; 60 minutes elapsed between collision and launch of the first lifeboat; the ship stayed afloat 160 minutes. In the 36◦ Fahrenheit water the average life expectancy was 15 minutes.

    FIT Takeaway: from smiles to calamity in 30 seconds – time to check your umbrella limits!

2. In 2013 recreational boating accounted for 4,062 accidents that involved 560 deaths and 2,260 injuries. Those accidents resulted in approximately $39 million of property damage (USCG) and still more in health and other insurance claims still in litigation.

FIT Takeaway: check your boat policy for Un- and Underinsured Boater coverage – set the limit as high as you can go – consider $1 million limits.

3. The top five primary contributing factors to boating accidents in 2013 were: operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed and machinery failure.

FIT Takeaway: review operators – should a 16 year old be operating the boat without an adult? Consider a refresh of a boating course for new and seasoned operators and research United States Power Squadrons Courses.

4. Boat and yacht owners should have Agreed Value instead of Actual Cash Value (ACV) policies. If the vessel suffers a total loss on the ACV form, the owner receives the current market value which could be thousands of dollars less than the cost of the boat. Agreed Value is a set amount before the loss – eliminating depreciation.

FIT Takeaway:  check the policy for an Agreed Value amount listed on the policy. Double check the deductible; be aware of your out of pocket expense.

5. Lastly not all watercraft insurance policies are created equal. Contact Coldstream’s insurance experts at FIT Insurance to discuss:

  • Replacement Cost: new boat for ‘old’ boat
  • Agreed Value: your coverage limit & not ‘used boat value’
  • 12-Month Navigation: no hidden sea mines – is your coverage based on the calendar?
  • Navigational Limits: coverage ‘turns off’ at a point on the map
  • Precautionary Measures: storm is coming – does your policy cover preventive actions?
  • Emergency Towing & Service: middle of Puget Sound & prop fails…
  • Marine Environmental Damage: boat sinks & oil spill results…
  • Uninsured Boaters Protection: OMG! – party boat broad sides you & they have no coverage…