As of the end of 2011, there were 57,687 boats registered in Delaware, but many of these vessels were not covered by boat insurance. Although boating can be a fun and relaxing pastime for residents of this state, it is not without its risks. A boating accident can end up costing you thousands of dollars if you are not properly insured. Whether you prefer a quiet weekend in your fishing boat on the Broadkill River, towing water-skiers behind your motorboat on Silver Lake or cruising the Atlantic Ocean in your yacht, you may want to compare boat insurance quotes before you take your craft back out on the water.
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Delaware's Boating Laws and Regulations
- Boat regulations are overseen by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
- All boats must be registered and you must have a Delaware Certificate of Number and validation decals on your vessel in order to legally operate it on public waters. Exceptions are made for:
- Non-motorized vessels
- Foreign vessels temporarily using Delaware waters
- Military vessels of the United States
- Non-recreational public vessels of the United States
- Vessels that are used exclusively as boat docking facilities
- Ship’s lifeboats
- Vessels that have been issued valid marine documents by the U.S. Coast Guard
- All Delaware residents born on or after January 1, 1978 must have completed a state-approved boating safety course. Exceptions are made for:
- Persons with a valid U.S. Coast Guard license
- Persons with a valid Delaware River Captain and Bay Pilot’s license, or equivalent
- There is no minimum age requirement to take the online boat safety exam
- Operators must maintain Slow-No-Wake speed within 100 feet of:
- Any shoreline where “Slow-No-Wake” sign have been posted
- Floats, docks and launching ramps
- Swimmer and marked swimming areas
- Anchored, moored or drifting vessels
- It is illegal to operate your vessel at excessive speeds, or speeds that exceed the posted limits
- All vessels must be equipped with a least one personal floatation device per passenger
- Fire extinguishing equipment is required on all motorized vessels
- Navigation lights must be operational and used between dusk and dawn and during limited visibility conditions
- Operating a boat while intoxicated is illegal
Why Should Residents of this State Purchase Boat Insurance?
Many Delaware residents feel that because boat insurance is not required by law, it is not very important and they try to save some money by forgoing coverage. However, in the event of a boating accident, the amount of money you may owe to a third party as well as for repairs to your own property is likely to negate any savings you have had by not purchasing coverage. If you are responsible for an accident that results in a fatality while uninsured, you may suffer financial losses for which you cannot recover.
While it is true that your homeowners insurance may provide coverage in such an event, this coverage is typically very limited. It is only with a boat insurance policy that you may achieve the full coverage you need to handle the expenses that a boating accident can bring about.
What Kinds of Coverage Does Boat Insurance Provide?
Boat insurance provides Delaware residents with a number of coverage types and options. Much of this coverage is included in most basic policies but some insurance companies may require you to purchase riders for each option you wish you purchase. Be sure to take this into consideration when comparing policies and quotes. Coverage you can expect to find includes:
- Liability coverage: This provides compensation to third parties that have suffered bodily injuries or property damage as a result of a boating accident for which you are at fault. This coverage also includes any associated court costs and legal defense fees.
- Collision coverage: This provides compensation for damages sustained by your own vessel if you are involved in a boating accident, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This provides compensation for damages sustained by your boat while it is docked or otherwise not in use. Covered events include severe weather, fire, falling objects, theft and vandalism.
- Medical expenses coverage: This provides compensation for any necessary medical treatments for you and your passengers require as the result of a boating incident for which you are at fault.
- Uninsured/underinsured boaters coverage: If a third party causes an accident, this coverage will compensate you for any property damage or medical expenses that you sustain that cannot be covered by the other boater because the costs exceed the limits of that person’s coverage or means.
- Personal property coverage: If you keep a lot of expensive belongings or equipment on your boat, you may want to purchase this coverage. It covers such things as your safety equipment, fishing equipment and tools if they should be lost or damaged by a covered event.
- Fuel spill and wreckage removal coverage: If you cause a boating accident, you are likely to be held responsible for the expenses related to wreckage clean-up. These can be quite costly, particularly when a fuel spill is involved. This insurance option will help to cover the costs.
- Towing and assistance coverage: This covers any resultant costs if your boat becomes disabled or needs to be serviced while it is in use in the water
- Roadside assistance coverage: This covers the costs associated 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 provides you with compensation for damages to your boat trailer if it is damaged while being used to transport your boat to and from the water.
Top Causes of Boating Accidents in DE
- Collision with a fixed object: 4 accidents
- Collision with another vessel: 2 accidents
- Falls overboard: 1 accident
- Capsizing: 1 accident
- Fall in vessel: 1 accident
- Fire/explosion (non-fuel): 1 accident
Are Quotes for Boat Insurance High in Delaware?
The cost of a boat insurance policy is likely to vary significantly from one person to the next. When you request a boat insurance quote, your rates will be calculated in accordance with a number of factors including, but not limited to:
- The type of boat you own
- How frequently you use it
- The amount of coverage you are requesting
- The size of your chosen deductible
- Your personal driving record
- Your claims history and credit score
You may be able to lower your costs by qualifying for discounts on your policy. Many insurance companies will offer discounts such things as having completed a boating safety course, having multiple policies with the same insurer and opting for electronic monthly payments on your premiums. Be sure to ask about possible discounts when requesting boat insurance quotes.
How to Find and Compare Boat Insurance Quotes
Comparison shopping is necessary if you want to be sure that you are getting your policy at a competitive rate. However, the process can often be time-consuming and frustrating. If you choose instead to work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network, however, the process will be much simpler.
Trusted Choice agents have offices in several locations in Delaware and are available to help you with all of your insurance-related needs. Talk to an independent agent near you for more information and you can start comparing a variety of boat insurance quotes with ease.