According to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 75 million people in the U.S. participate in recreational boating. With 3.5 million of those boaters coming into Lake Havasu alone a year, Arizona’s plethora of man-made lakes are an epicenter for this leisure activity. Like any other investment, it is important to secure personal watercrafts from the threat of collision, theft, and bodily injury. Securing recreational vehicles is not as pervasive as auto and home insurance, and because of this, personal watercraft coverage is a foggy concept for some. To make searching for boat insurance less like sailing blindly into unchartered waters, understanding the tides of PWC coverage will make navigating this necessary process a little easier.
What Does Your PWC Coverage Actually Cover?
To get a framework of how PWC coverage works, think of it as a hybrid of auto and home insurance policies. Similar to auto insurance, PWC coverage includes damages your boat may inflict on docks or any other land item it may come into forceful contact with, personal injury of anyone inside or outside of the craft, and any physical damage that may harm the vessel itself. Like home insurance, PWC insurers give you the choice between replacement cost or cash value in the event of total loss. A unique element of PWC coverage that is independent of other essential insurances is the ability to lay-up; the winter months are undoubtedly less filled with trips to the lake as July and August, and fortunately, during such times of minimal to no use, coverage is subject to suspension.
Agreed Value vs. Actual Cash Value (ACV)
When buying a car, the value of your vehicle begins depreciating from the moment it’s obtained. The same goes for your boat, unless you make an agreement with your insurer on the value of the craft upfront. This agreed value will ensure a fixed fiscal compensation in lieu of an incident, in spite of depreciation. However, there are upsides to choosing an actual cash value (ACV) policy, where a vessel is insured based on current market value. Most insurers will offer a steeply discounted rate for ACV agreements.
Where is Your Boat Covered?
Outside of the water, your boat does neither you nor your insurer any good, begging the question: will your vessel receive any coverage when on land? The answer is maybe, but not from your PWC coverage. Depending on the type of auto insurance you have, your watercraft may be insured while out of the water. In the case of attachment via trailer, your vehicle policy reigns supreme. This does not necessarily mean your boat will be covered in this regard, but to ensure that it is, an umbrella policy included in your auto insurance may secure your boat’s haul from the garage to the lake.
Lessen the Bloat of Boat Insurance
With a deeper understanding of the basics of boat insurance, it is easier to find ways to save. Here are a few steps you can take to deflate the rates of your coverage:
1. Get Your Arizona Boater Education Certificate. Certain providers offer discounts when boat safety classes are fulfilled.
2. Extend Your Lay-Up Period. Be realistic about how often you will use your boat for specific periods of time, and save money during your busiest months.
3. Invest in Boat Safety Features. Your rates may be underwritten if your boat is secured with enough safety features. In addition, preventative measures can inhibit incidents and keep your rates from spiking after an accident.