Residents of the coastal state of Oregon love their personal watercraft. If you own one of the many PWCs registered in this state, you may be wondering whether you need PWC insurance. Although, legally, you need not have coverage, you may find it a worthwhile investment. To ensure that you are not paying too much for a PWC insurance policy, you may want to request and compare PWC quotes before you make a purchase.
Oregon Boat and Personal Watercraft Facts, 2011
- In 2011, there were 171,983 registered boats in OR.
- Of these, approximately 10% were PWCs.
- Number of recorded boating accidents in the state in 2011: 66.
- Of these, approximately 22% involved PWCs.
- Number of recorded boat and PWC-related injuries: 39.
- Number of boat and PWC-related fatalities: 10.
- Number of boat and PWC-related accidents involving only property damage: 25.
- Cost of boat and PWC-related accidents: $523,272, averaging about $8,000 per accident.
Oregon State Laws Pertaining To PWC Operation
The Oregon State Marine Board regulates PWC use on state waters. Some laws enforced by the OSMB include the following:
- It is illegal for those under the age of 16 to operate a PWC unless accompanied by a person 18 years old or older who holds a Boater Education Card.
- Every person on board the PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II or III personal floatation device.
- Inflatable PFDs are not acceptable for use on a personal watercraft.
- Operators of PWCs equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch much have the lanyard attached to their body or clothing at all times while on the water.
- Operators must use navigation lights if operating a PWC between sunset and sunrise.
- Operators must slow to 10 mph when within 100 feet of another vessel.
- Operators must slow to a maximum of 5 mph in these cases:
- When within 100 feet of an anchored vessel or non-motorized watercraft
- When within 200 feet of a swimmer, surfer, water skier, shoreline angler or diver-down flag
- When within 200 feet of the shoreline or a dock, launch ramp, marina, floating home, or swim float
- It is illegal to do any of the following:
- Weave your way through congested waterway traffic
- Jump the wake of another vessel
- Operate a PWC while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Chase, harass or disturb wildlife or marine mammals
- PWC insurance is not mandatory.
Why Should Oregon Residents Purchase PWC Insurance?
If you financed the purchase of your watercraft, your lender will likely require you to carry PWC insurance for the duration of your loan. However, residents of Oregon who have paid off their personal watercraft purchases often opt to forgo insurance because the law does not require this type of coverage.
Your homeowners insurance may provide a measure of coverage if you are in an accident; however, this coverage is typically very limited. The best way to protect the investment you have made in your watercraft, as well as your personal finances, is through an all-inclusive PWC insurance policy.
What Types of Watercraft Does PWC Insurance Cover?
A personal watercraft, commonly called a PWC, is a type of motorized boat designed to have the operator sit, stand or kneel on it rather than sit inside as one would in a traditional boat. Some popular PWC brand names include Jet Ski®, Sea-Doo® and WaveRunner®. In many cases, people refer to PWCs by their brand names.
Personal watercraft come in the following four model types:
- Stand up PWCs: (Example: Kawasaki’s Jet Ski) This is the original PWC type, first produced and marketed by Kawasaki. These stand up models continue to be popular, but they tend to be a bit less stable and more difficult to operate than the other model types.
- Sit down PWCs: (Example: Bombardier’s Sea-Doo) This is the most popular of the PWC types. Sit down models are more stable and easier to operate than their stand up counterparts. They typically carry one or two riders.
- Two to four person PWCs: (Example: Yamaha’s WaveRunner) Multi-person PWCs are ideal for family outings as many allow for two to four passengers and, of all the PWCs types available, these are the most stable on the water.
- Submersible PWCs: (Example: Innespace’s Seabreacher) These sleek new model types let you show off in the water. Resembling a dolphin, they allow the operator to dive underneath the water’s surface, perform twists and turns and perform leaps through the air in a dramatic display of showmanship. This is the only type of PWC where the operator sits inside the watercraft as opposed to on top of it.
What Kinds of Coverage Does PWC Insurance Offer?
PWC insurance includes a number of coverage options and types. Coverage you can expect to find when you review policies includes the following:
- Liability coverage: This compensates third parties for bodily injuries and property loss if you are responsible for an accident while operating your PWC. This coverage can also reimburse you for any court costs or legal fees you may accrue as a result of a covered event.
- Medical payments coverage: This provides coverage for any necessary medical care or treatment needed by you or your passengers due to a PWC accident, regardless of fault.
- Collision coverage: This compensates you for the repair or replacement of your PWC if it sustains damage in an accident, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This compensates you for the repair or replacement of your PWC if it sustains damage in a non-collision-related event. Covered events include such things as severe weather, falling objects, fire, theft and vandalism.
- Uninsured and underinsured boater coverage: This provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage you may sustain in a collision with an at-fault boater who lacks sufficient insurance coverage to cover your costs. In Oregon, where the law does not require boat insurance, this coverage can be very important.
- Wreckage removal coverage: This covers the costs associated with wreckage removal and fuel-spill cleanup following an accident for which you are at fault. Cleanup has the potential to be quite expensive, so this coverage can be quite beneficial.
- In-water towing and assistance coverage: This covers any associated costs if your PWC becomes inoperable while in the water.
- Trailer insurance: Unless you have already purchased a separate trailer insurance policy, this coverage can be quite useful to cover damage caused by or to your trailer.
- Roadside assistance coverage: This covers specialized towing if you experience problems on the road while transporting your PWC to and from the water.
Compare PWC Insurance Quotes in Oregon
If you want to be sure you are getting your PWC insurance policy at a great rate, you will need to do some comparison-shopping. An independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network may be able to save you time and money by gathering a variety of rate quotes for you. These agents can also assist you by answering your insurance-related questions and helping you compare the coverage offered by different insurance companies.
Contact an agent in or near your Oregon neighborhood to learn more about your PWC insurance options and to start comparing quotes for this coverage.