Boat Liability Insurance – It’s Really Important And Here’s Why

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Boat Insurance

Understanding Boat Insurance Liability

Boat insurance won’t cover you from attacks by a giant Kraken, Leviathan, or zombie pirates, but it does pay to know that there are real risks out on the water. It would be best if you had a good conversation with your broker to determine the best policy for you and how much liability insurance should be included.

Do you sail gently across glass-like water? Or plow through the waves with a pair of 350hp Mercs cranking out massive rooster tails in your wake? You’ll likely be looking at slightly different policies and liability coverage. Read below to learn a little more about boat liability insurance.

Basic Boat Insurance

Basic marine or pleasure craft insurance covers you in the event of a loss or damage. This insurance covers non-commercial vessels with motors like yachts, sailboats, private fishing boats, cruise boats, and related leisure craft. It doesn’t protect small vessels like canoes, kayaks, and other small craft, which your extended home insurance should cover.

Five Common Coverage Features of Boat Insurance

  • Collision – This section covers the repair or replacement of your vessel in the event of a crash if you are at fault. Note that these covers might not include spill cleanup or salvage costs.
  • Comprehensive – Coverage for vandalism or if your boat is stolen or damaged in another event that is not a collision. It covers that sweet ten-speaker sound system and Bluetooth streaming deck.
  • Property damage & liability – Coverage for damage you might cause to another vessel, property, or structure. See boat liability insurance next.
  • Bodily injury liability – Liability cover that protects you if you injure someone else while using your boat. Or if someone is injured while on your boat. Medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and legal expenses. More on this is below.
  • Additional coverage – This is where you can advance the cover for oil spills, medical payments, fishing and boat equipment, and coverage for uninsured boaters.

Boat Liability Insurance

Liability coverage for boat and pleasure craft insurance is integral to your marine insurance package. Liability comes into play when you have been deemed responsible for a particular accident or collision. Here are just a few reasons why.

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Accidents Can Happen At Any Time! The Most Common Accidents Out On The Water Include:

  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive Speed
  • Distracted operation of the boat
  • Improper lookout

What Does Marine Liability Cover?

  • Property damage – damage is done to someone else’s property. Dock, boat, structure, or other property
  • Bodily injury – self-explanatory, but can cover medical costs, rehab, hospital costs, etc…
  • Pollution liability – Many boat insurance won’t cover spilled oil or gas cleanup. Pollution liability protects you in the case of an oil spill or
  • Boat recovery – Protects your obligation to recover and remove damaged boats or debris left by the event.

Be sure to inquire as to the liability portion of your policy. If you don’t, you could be held accountable out of pocket for a whole host of expensive recovery and cleanup costs.

How Much Liability Coverage Do You Need?

Standard liability coverage is usually between $1 million and $5 million. If you run a cruise or some manner of ‘party boat,’ you’ll want to look into additional coverage. It pays to come to terms with what could happen on the water.

Consider all the worst-case scenarios; if you’ve been proven liable for the accident, what are all possible costs that could come your way?

  • You damage an expensive yacht and are sued for damages. It would be best to consider all medical, repair, and legal bills.
  • You strike a dock injuring one or more people while causing significant damage to your boat and the port. You’re liable for all medical costs, lost wages, repair of the dock, and any subsequent litigation that might come your way.


You’re also liable for injury to anyone on your boat, should they be injured due to negligence or inattention.

Ask us About Boat Insurance.

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