With more than 200 miles of rivers and 1,200 lakes, New Mexico has plenty of places for personal watercraft (PWC) owners to enjoy this recreational pastime. If you own one of the many PWCs registered in this state, you may be wondering whether you need PWC insurance. Although the state does not require this coverage, many find it to be a cost-effective way to protect their finances. Plus, many New Mexico residents are pleasantly surprised when they learn how low rate quotes for PWC insurance can be.
Recent New Mexico Personal Watercraft Facts
- Number of registered boats and PWCs in NM: 37,469
- Number of recorded boat and PWC accidents: 24
- Number of recorded PWC-related injuries: 13
- Number of PWC-related fatalities: 1
- Number of PWC and boat-related accidents involving property damage: 10
- Cost of PWC and boat-related accidents: $35,000 ($1,458 per accident)
What Are the Different Types of Personal Watercraft?
A PWC is a type of motorboat designed for an operator to stand, sit or kneel on instead of sitting inside. The larger four-person PWC carries the driver and up to three passengers. Some examples of popular PWC models include Jet Skis, WaveRunners, and Sea-Doos. PWCs are available in four different model types:
- Stand up PWC: This type includes Jet Skis, the original PWC type. These models tend to be a bit more difficult to operate and less stable than the other types.
- Sit down PWC: This type includes Sea-Doos. This is the most popular PWC type. This model is more stable and easier to operate than stand up models.
- Multi-person PWC: This type includes WaveRunners, which are ideal for family outings. Multi-person PWCs have a 2- to 4-person design and are the most stable of all PWC models.
- Submersible PWC: This sleek new model type is gaining in popularity. Submersible PWCs allow for dramatic showmanship as they operate submerged or on the surface. They resemble a dolphin in the water.
New Mexico State Laws Pertaining to PWC Operation
The New Mexico State Parks Division (NMSPD) regulates PWC use on state waters. Some laws enforced by the NMSPD include the following:
- You must register your PWC prior to use on any public waterways.
- You must renew your registration every three years.
- You must paint or display your assigned boat number on both sides of your PWC.
- All children aged 12 and under must wear a coastguard-approved personal floatation device (PFD).
- Anyone born after January 1, 1989, must pass an approved boating safety course prior to operating a PWC.
- Children under 13 may not operate a PWC unless under the direct supervision of an adult.
- Those under 13 must have their Boater Education Card on board, even when operating under direct supervision.
- You are not required to have PWC insurance.
Why Should New Mexico Residents Buy PWC Insurance?
Because the state of New Mexico does not require owners of personal watercraft to carry liability insurance, you may wonder why you should bother purchasing a policy. PWC insurance coverage can provide a low-cost way to protect your finances in the event that you are involved in an accident while operating your watercraft. The costs resulting from third-party damages or injuries, or damage to your PWC can be quite high if you have no insurance protection backing you up.
What Does PWC Insurance Cover?
All PWC insurance policies in New Mexico include liability insurance coverage. This provides you with the coverage necessary to compensate third parties for bodily injury and property loss if you are responsible for damage while operating your PWC. PWC liability coverage also reimburses you for any court costs and legal fees related to a covered event. In addition to liability coverage, there are many other coverage options available with a PWC insurance policy. Some insurance companies include some or all of these options as part of a standard package; while others require you to purchase each option you want as a separate rider to the liability package. Coverage options include the following:
- Collision damage coverage: This provides compensation if your PWC sustains damage in an accident for which you are at fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This provides compensation if your PWC is lost or damaged while not in use. Covered events include severe weather damage, fire, falling objects, vandalism, and theft.
- Medical payments coverage: This provides compensation for any necessary medical care if you or your passengers sustain injuries in an accident for which you are at fault.
- Uninsured and underinsured boater insurance: If an uninsured or hit-and-run boater hits you, this insurance will compensate you for any property damage and medical costs that you cannot collect from the third party.
- Towing and assistance insurance: This insurance reimburses you for costs associated with providing assistance to and towing your disabled PWC while it is in the water.
- Wreckage removal insurance: If you cause an accident while operating your PWC, you are responsible for paying the necessary wreckage removal and fuel-spill cleanup costs. These have the potential to be quite expensive, but this insurance coverage will handle the costs.
How Much Does PWC Insurance Cost in New Mexico?
Fortunately for New Mexico residents, the cost of PWC insurance is low because of the required enrollment in a boating safety course and the low number of reported boating injuries in the state. The cost of your particular PWC insurance policy will depend on many factors including the type of PWC you are insuring, its purchase price, where and how often you use it, where you store it when not in use and your driving history. You can generally purchase a policy at a rate of less than $1 a day.
You may be able to get an even lower rate on your PWC insurance by taking advantage of discounts offered by some insurance providers. You can get discounts for such things as having multiple insurance policies with the same carrier and opting for discounted billing methods. Be sure to ask about available discounts when requesting PWC insurance quotes.
Compare PWC Insurance Quotes
Finding PWC insurance at a great rate in New Mexico requires you to do some comparison-shopping. A local agent can save you time by obtaining a selection of rate quotes for you. These independent agents can answer your insurance-related questions and help you compare the coverage offered by different insurance companies.
Contact an agent in or near your New Mexico neighborhood to learn more about your PWC insurance options.