With more than 3,000 named lakes and 3 million unnamed bodies of water, Alaska offers established boating opportunities as well as exploration adventures for your vessel. As PWC ownership has increased in popularity among Alaska residents, however, so too has the number of accidents. When your personal watercraft is involved in a crash or collision, you want the protection only an insurance policy can provide.
Before you search for a PWC insurance quote, however, there are several factors to consider.
Alaska Boating Accident Statistics
According to the U.S. Coast Guard:
- In 2012 alone, more than 23 boating and PWC accidents took place on AK waters.
- Of those accidents, 15 were fatal -- an alarming rate of fatalities per accident.
- Just five of those boating and PWC accidents caused property damage, but the total monetary losses accounted for more than $300,000 in repairs.
- The average AK boating or PWC crash caused $60,000 in property damage in 2012.
What Is PWC Insurance?
PWC insurance operates much like boat or car insurance. You pay a monthly premium and should you need to file a claim resulting from a collision, fire or other covered event, your Alaska insurance company can help pay for repairs to your PWC or help pay for medical treatment for an injured party.
Am I Required to Carry PWC Insurance in Alaska?
Although not required by Alaska state law, PWC insurance is strongly recommended by natural resources personnel. Under Alaska law, personal watercraft are boats and as such their operators have the same responsibilities and are subject to the same boating laws as any boat operator.
According to PWC safety experts, most personal watercraft accidents are due to collision. Avoid tunnel vision by continuously scanning the water from side to side. Unlike a conventional powerboat, a personal watercraft can only be steered if it is being powered forward. Releasing the throttle to avoid a collision will result in a loss of steerage and control. Personal watercraft operators should take boating safety courses and personal watercraft courses before operating their boats. Also, PWC operators and all other boaters should check with local authorities regarding conditions, weather and local laws before embarking.
Can I Find Insurance for My Particular PWC?
Since becoming available in the 1960s, PWCs have significantly increased in number and variety. Common makes and models include the following:
- 4-person PWCs
- Sit-down PWCs
- Stand-up PWCs
If you are able to register your PWC with the state of Alaska (which is required for the majority of vessels), chances are there is an insurance policy that will cover it.
What Does PWC Insurance Cover?
Most insurance companies will give you a number of coverage options from which to choose as you build your PWC policy, including:
- Liability coverage: This can help pay for damages or medical treatment for another boater or swimmer should you crash into their boat or dock or cause them injury while operating your PWC. This type of coverage can even help you pay court costs and legal fees in the event you are sued as a result of property damage or injuring another person.
- Collision coverage: This can help pay for repairs to your damaged PWC if you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This policy option can help pay for repairs to or replacement of your PWC if it is damage or totaled by a covered event such as fire, severe weather, theft or vandalism.
- Accessories coverage: This optional coverage can help pay for repairs to or replacement of certain equipment you carry on your PWC, such as fishing or safety gear.
- Wreckage/clean-up coverage: This can help pay for the removal of your PWC should it sink or leak gasoline into one of Alaska's lakes or rivers.
What Will My PWC Insurance Quote Look Like?
The quotes you will find from various insurance companies depend on several details. Most insurance providers will take the following into account when they calculate your quote:
- Your age and gender: Younger, less experienced PWC operators may find higher quotes than older, veteran riders. Males often see higher insurance quotes than females.
- Your PWC engine type and top speed: More powerful PWCs will see higher insurance quotes than slower moving vessels, as they are at increased risk for accidents.
- The policy options you choose: A PWC insurance policy that includes comprehensive or full coverage will be quoted at a higher premium than one with liability-only coverage.
- How often and where you use your PWC: Whether you use your PWC on an inland lake or on the open ocean will affect your insurance quote. Also, since Alaska lakes are frozen many months out of the year, a seasonal insurance policy will have lower quotes than a year-round policy.
Where Can I Find PWC Insurance in Alaska?
Not only does obtaining a PWC insurance policy protect you from financial hardships when an accident occurs, but it also can mean the difference between affording swift repairs and parking your PWC indefinitely.
Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents on the Trusted Choice® network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options, and even assist you in filing a claim. These agents have years of experience working with Alaska insurance companies, enabling them to find you a number of quotes with the best coverage options at the most affordable rates. Contact a Trusted Choice member agent near you to find out how you can obtain a PWC insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.