Each year, more Americans become paddlesport enthusiasts. Whether you use your canoe or kayak for exercise, sport, recreation, transportation or business, chances are good that you have invested money into this leisurely pastime.
You can take steps to protect your property and your finances by ensuring that you have coverage in place in the event of an accident, theft or property damage.
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Canoe and Kayak Accident Statistics
Now that you’ve started thinking about insurance for your canoe or kayak, we want to give you a clearer idea of some of the risks you might face out on the water.
These statistics will help you understand why it might be important to consider purchasing an insurance policy specific to your type of watercraft:
- There were a total of 236 reported canoe and kayak accidents in the U.S.
- These accidents resulted in 116 injuries and 134 deaths
- The most common causes of canoe and kayak accidents were operator inexperience, hazardous waters and improper loading
- Most accidents were due to the boat capsizing or a passenger falling overboard
- Approximately 90% of all deaths from canoe and kayak accidents were due to drowning, and most could have been prevented with a life-preserver
- Nearly 70% of all injuries from canoe and kayak accidents are due to hypothermia
Even if you are a safe and experienced kayaker, consider the unexpected accident or overturn that could prove dangerous. You may find that you’d like to have protection for accidents and damage to your vessel – and this is where insurance can help.
Is Canoe Insurance Necessary for Private Owners?
Canoe prices average about $2,000, with larger models topping $12,000. A new kayak can run anywhere from about $1,000 to over $5,000.
If you have recently purchased a new canoe or kayak, be sure to have coverage for your investment and protection if you are responsible for an accident that causes injury or property damage.
While canoe and kayak insurance is not mandatory in most states, these inexpensive policies can be well worth the cost.
There are several scenarios that might illustrate your need for insurance as a canoe owner, such as:
- These small boats occasionally capsize, which can result in injuries to your passengers
- If you find yourself caught on choppy waters, your canoe can be damaged on rocks or by hitting the hull of another boat
- A thief takes your boat while it is being stored, docked or transported
You may be able to get insurance protection through your homeowners or renters insurance policy, but check with your agent first. Depending on the state you live in, where you store your canoe, where damages occur and other factors, homeowners might not cover you.
For complete coverage, you will need a policy specifically designed for your boat. You may find some insurance companies that offer insurance specifically for canoes or kayaks, but most will cover them under a general watercraft insurance policy.
Is Canoe Insurance Necessary for Business Owners?
If you own a small business that rents or offers tours with canoes, kayaks and small boats, your state will likely require you to carry some form of liability insurance. Liability insurance will protect both your employees and customers in the event of an accident.
Coverage for damages to your watercraft fleet may be particularly necessary if you are renting them out to others. Your business insurance policy may provide the coverage required by your state, but it might not provide protection for theft and loss of equipment like oars or helmets.
In this case, a comprehensive watercraft insurance policy may be a necessary addition to your business insurance plan.
What Does Canoe and Kayak Insurance Cover?
Basic canoe insurance will provide liability coverage for personal property damage and bodily injuries. If you are being sued following a boating accident, liability insurance will typically cover your legal expenses as well.
More comprehensive policies will also provide coverage for loss or damage of your boat and your boating equipment such as oars, life-jackets and boat covers. This includes loss from forces of nature, vandalism, theft or accidents.
You can also elect to insure the trailer or equipment you use to transport your boat to and from the water. Speak to your agent to find the right package of coverage for your needs and budget.
Important Safety Considerations
Safety is the most important thing when enjoying any type of paddlesport. On occasion, canoe and kayak accidents may result in fatalities from injuries or drowning.
Statistically, only 11% of these deaths involve people who were wearing life jackets. Putting on a life jacket can be the most effective safety precaution you can take.
In addition to using life jackets at all times, the following tips can help keep you and your passengers or paddlesport customers safe:
- Most paddlesport injuries are due to hypothermia. Dress appropriately when boating in cold waters.
- Follow appropriate “rules of the road,” particularly when canoeing in waterways with a lot of boat traffic.
- Be aware of unexpected weather conditions. When possible, avoid being on the water during heavy winds, rain or fog. When lightning threatens, head for shore.
- Keep a well-maintained boat and perform an inspection each time you take it out on the water.
- Know your boat’s weight capacity and avoid overloading.
- Never stand in your canoe or kayak. Keep your center of gravity low.
Is Watercraft Insurance Expensive?
Insurance for your canoe or kayak is typically very affordable. Though there are many factors that can cause your costs to be higher or lower, the average annual premium is approximately 3% of the value of your boat. Therefore, insuring a $3,000 canoe might cost you about $90 per year.
You can further lower your costs by taking advantage of any deals or discounts offered by your insurance company. The two best (and easiest) ways to save money on your policy are combining your watercraft insurance policy with another policy such as home or auto, and enrolling in a watercraft safety course.
Be sure to ask about available discounts when getting canoe insurance quotes.
What Is the Best Way to Compare Canoe Insurance Policies?
If you prefer to shop around for canoe or kayak insurance on your own, you can do so by calling several different insurance companies and requesting a quote. There are other good resources for consumers looking for canoe insurance.
- Rating agencies: These companies review the reputation of insurance companies and publish their results online.
- Consumer reviews: There may be online consumer reviews available that could help inform your choice of insurer.
- Other Canoers/Kayakers: Go to the experts! Do you have colleagues, friends, or acquaintances who are canoe enthusiasts or run outrigging operations? They may be willing to share their insights and experience about insuring canoes.
- Independent insurance agents: Independent agents can get quotes from several reputable insurers and compile them for you, so you can choose a policy that matches your needs.
A little research goes a long way when it comes to kayak and canoe insurance coverage.