As of the end of 2011, there were 50,219 boats registered in Alaska, but many of these vessels were not covered by boat insurance. Although boating can be a fun and relaxing pastime for Alaskans, this activity is not without its risks. An accident while boating has the potential to cost you thousands of dollars if you are not properly insured. Whether you prefer a quiet weekend in your fishing boat on the Ninilchik River, towing water-skiers behind your motorboat on Wasilla Lake, or cruising the Pacific Ocean in your yacht, you may want to compare boat insurance quotes before you take your craft out on the water.
2011 AK Boating Accident Statistics
- In 2011, there were 20 boating accidents reported in Alaska
- These accidents resulted in 15 fatalities and five injuries
- Six of these boating accidents resulted in significant property damage
- Damages from these 20 boating accidents amounted to $88,850
- That is an average of $4,442 in damages per boating accident
- Alaska’s boating accident fatality rate is 29.9 deaths per 100,000 registered boats, which is significantly higher than the national rate of 6.2
Alaska Boating Laws and Regulations
- Boat regulations are overseen by the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles
- All undocumented boats equipped with mechanical propulsion and any undocumented boat used for sport fishing charter activities must be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles and you must have an Alaska Certificate of Number and validation decals property displayed on the hull of the boat.
- There is no minimum age requirement to operate a vessel or to take the online boat safety exam.
- All boats must be equipped with at least one USCG-approved Type I, II, III or V personal floatation device (PFD).
- All persons under the age of 13 must wear their PDF at all times while in an open boat, on the deck of a boat, or when waterskiing.
- With the exception of canoes and kayaks, all boats larger than 16 feet in length must be equipped with one USCG-approved Type IV throwable floatation device.
- All boats must be equipped with an efficient sound-producing device such as a whistle or horn.
- Boats must be equipped with visual distress signals.
- Boats under 16 feet in length must have these signals available when on the water between sunset and sunrise
- Boats larger than 16 feet in length must have these signals on board at all times
- All motorized boats or boats with living quarters must be equipped with fire extinguishers
- Boats under 26-feet in length must have at least one USCG-approved B-1 extinguisher
- Boats between 26-feet and 40-feet in length must have at least two USCG-approved B-II or one USCG-approved B-II extinguisher on board
- Boats greater than 40-feet in length must have at least three B-I extinguishers, or one B-I and one B-II extinguisher, on board.
- Navigation lights are required between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility.
- All gasoline-powered boats must have one USCG-approved backfire control device on each carburetor.
- Boat insurance is not required
Why Should Residents of Alaska Purchase Boat Insurance?
Many Alaskans feel that because boat insurance is not required by law, it is not very important. Some feel that they can save money by forgoing coverage. However, in the event of a boating accident, the costs can be excessive, particularly if you cause property damage or bodily injuries to a third party. Worse, if you have the misfortune of being responsible for an accident that results in a fatality and you are uninsured, you may suffer financial losses for which you will be unable to recover.
While it is true that your homeowners insurance might provide a modicum of coverage in such an event, this coverage is typically very limited. Only a boat insurance policy can provide you with the full coverage you need to handle the expenses that a boating accident can bring about.
What Does a Boat Insurance Policy Cover?
Boat insurance provides Alaska residents with a number of coverage types and options. Much of this coverage is included in most basic policies, but some providers may require you to purchase each option separately. Be sure to take this into consideration when you are comparing policies and quotes. Coverage you can expect to find includes:
- Liability coverage: This can compensate third parties who have suffered personal injuries or property damage as a result of a boating accident for which you are at fault. Included with this coverage are your associated court costs and legal defense fees up to your coverage limit.
- Collision coverage: This is designed to compensate you for damages sustained by your vessel if you are involved in a boating accident, regardless of fault.
- Medical expenses coverage: This is designed to compensate you and your passengers for medical costs associated with injuries sustained in a boating accident, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This is meant to compensate you for damages sustained by your boat while it is docked or otherwise not in use. Covered events include fire, falling objects, theft, vandalism and extreme weather events.
- Uninsured/underinsured boaters coverage: This is designed to protect you if a third party causes an accident that results in property damage or injuries to you and the associated costs the limits of that person’s coverage or means. Because boat insurance is not required in Alaska, this coverage is strongly advised.
- Personal property coverage: This is meant to cover the expensive belongings or equipment you may keep onboard. It compensates you for such things as safety equipment, fishing gear and tools if they are lost or damaged by a covered event.
- Fuel spill and wreckage removal coverage: If you cause a boating accident, you will likely be held responsible for the costs associated with the wreckage clean-up. These can be quite expensive, particularly when a fuel spill is involved. This insurance option is meant to help you cover the costs.
- Towing and assistance coverage: This is designed to cover the costs you may incur if your boat becomes disabled or needs to be serviced while it is in use in the water.
- Roadside assistance coverage: This is offered to provide you with roadside assistance and the specialized towing that may be necessary if your experience problems on the road while towing your boat to and from the water.
- Trailer insurance coverage: This is meant to cover repair or replacement of your boat trailer if it is damaged while being used to transport your boat to and from the water.
Top 5 Causes of Boating Accident in Alaska, 2011
- Falls overboard: 5 accidents
- Flooding/Swamping: 4 accidents
- Collision with another vessel: 3 accidents
- Grounding: 3 accidents
- Capsizing: 2 accidents
Are Quotes for Boat Insurance High in Alaska?
The cost for this coverage will vary from one person to the next. When you request a boat insurance quote in Alaska, many things will be taken into consideration, including the limited months that boating is an option and the amount of extra daylight enjoyed by Alaskans in the summertime. Other factors that go into the calculation of your rate include:
- The type of boat you own and its current value
- How frequently you take your boat out on the water
- The amount of coverage you wish to purchase
- The amount of your deductible
- Your claims history and credit score
You may also qualify for discounts on your policy. Many insurance companies will offer rate reductions for such things as having successfully completed a boating safety course, having more than one policy with an insurer, or opting for electronic monthly payments of your premiums. Be sure to ask about offered discounts when your request boat insurance quotes.
It Is Easy to Find and Compare Boat Insurance Quotes in Alaska
Comparison shopping is essential if you want to be sure that you are buying your policy at a competitive rate. However, the process can sometimes be time-consuming and frustrating. If you choose to work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network, however, the process will be much simpler. Your agent can answer your insurance-related questions, help you determine your coverage needs, and provide you with a variety of policies and quotes that you can compare together.
Trusted Choice agents have offices in several locations throughout Alaska and are available to help you with all of your insurance needs. Contact an agent near you for more information and you can start comparing a selection of boat insurance quotes today.