Californians own 7 percent of all the boats registered in the United States. In fact, at the end of 2011, there were 855,243 boats registered in this state. Unfortunately, many of them lack boat insurance. Although boating can be an enjoyable and relaxing pastime for Californians, this activity does not come without risks. An accident while boating has the potential to cost you thousands of dollars if you don't have suitable insurance. Whether you prefer quiet weekends angling for trout on the Sacramento River in your fishing boat, cruising the Pacific Ocean on your yacht or towing water skiers behind your motorboat on Lake Tahoe, you may want to compare boat insurance quotes in California before you take your vessel back out on the water.
2011 CA Boating Accident Statistics
- In 2011, there were 399 boating accidents reported in California.
- These accidents resulted in 52 fatalities and 322 injuries.
- Of the 399 boating accidents, 134 resulted in significant property damage totaling $1,849,055.
- This is an average of $13,800 per accident.
- California’s boating accident fatality rate is 6.1 deaths per 100,000 registered boats, which is in line with the national rate of 6.2.
Boating accidents are on the decline in this state. In 2007, there were 601 reported accidents. The numbers have been dropping significantly every year since. This is good news for the state’s boaters. However, costly accidents do happen, so this positive trend in no way negates the need for a suitable boat insurance policy.
Why Should Residents of California Purchase Boat Insurance?
Although most marinas will require you to carry boat insurance to keep your vessel at their facility, this coverage is not mandatory in California. Many residents, therefore, feel that it is not very important or that they can save money by foregoing coverage. However, if you are involved in a boating accident, the costs can sometimes be quite high, particularly if you are responsible for property damage or bodily injury to a third party. Worse, if you cause an accident that results in a fatality and you are uninsured, you stand to lose a lot in the way of personal assets. You may even have to file for bankruptcy.
While your homeowners insurance may provide you with a measure of coverage, it is typically very limited. Only a boat insurance policy can provide you with the full coverage you need to handle the many different types of hazards and potential financial losses you face when you take your boat out on the water.
The Most Common Types of Boating Accident in California, 2011
- Collision with another vessel: 105 accidents
- Skier mishap: 52 accidents
- Flooding/Swamping: 47 accidents
- Grounding: 39 accidents
- Capsizing: 30 accidents
- Falls overboard: 24 accidents
What Coverage Does Boat Insurance Provide?
Boat insurance offers California residents a number of coverage options. The following are the coverage types you can expect to find:
- Liability coverage: This provides compensation to third parties who have suffered property damage or personal injury as a result of a boating accident for which you are at fault. This also provides you with compensation for any associated court costs and legal defense fees, up to your coverage limit.
- Collision coverage: This compensates you for the cost of repairing or replacing your vessel if a collision results in its destruction, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This compensates you for the cost of repairing or replacing your vessel if a non-collision-related event such as fire, falling objects, vandalism or theft results in its damage or destruction.
- Personal injury coverage: This compensates you for the cost of necessary medical treatment if you or your passengers suffer injuries in a boating accident, regardless of fault.
- Uninsured/Underinsured boaters coverage: This compensates you if a third-party boater causes you to sustain property damage or injury and is unable to cover the associated costs because of a lack of sufficient insurance. Because boat insurance is not mandatory in California and collisions with other vehicles are common, you should get this coverage.
- Personal property coverage: This compensates you for the cost of repairing or replacing expensive equipment you keep aboard your boat provided a covered event caused the damage. This includes coverage for such items as fishing gear, navigation devices, safety equipment and tools.
- Towing and assistance coverage: This covers the costs associated with needed assistance if your boat becomes disabled or needs servicing while you have it out on the water.
- Fuel spill and wreckage removal coverage: This covers the costs associated with cleaning up spills and removing wreckage following a boating collision for which you are at fault.
- Trailer insurance coverage: This covers the costs necessary to repair or replace your boat trailer if a covered event results in its damage or destruction.
- Roadside assistance coverage: This covers the specialized towing that may be necessary if your vehicle becomes inoperable on the road while towing your boat to and from the water.
Is Boat Insurance Expensive in California?
Boat insurance costs generally range from $20 to $100 a month, depending on a number of factors. When you request boat insurance quotes in California, insurance companies will calculate your rate based on a number of considerations, including the following:
- The type of boat you wish to insure (i.e., motorboat, cabin cruiser, bass boat, etc.)
- The make, model, year and purchase price of your vessel
- The amount of coverage you wish to purchase as well as the coverage options you want to include
- The amount of your deductible
- Your driving record, claims history and credit score
You may also want to consider taking a boating safety course. In California, only those convicted of a Harbors and Navigation Code moving violation while operating a boat must take such a course. However, taking this course, even if not necessary, is to your advantage, as successful completion can earn you a discount on your boat insurance policy.
Start Comparing Boat Insurance Quotes in California
If you are like most people, you will want to be certain that you are not overpaying for your boat insurance policy. This is why comparison-shopping is crucial. When you work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network, your agent can do the comparison-shopping legwork for you. In addition to providing you with a selection of policies and quotes from a variety of insurance companies, these agents can answer your insurance-related questions and help you assess your coverage needs.
Trusted Choice agents have offices in several locations throughout the state and are available to help you with all of your insurance needs. Contact an agent near you for more information so you can start comparing boat insurance quotes in California