Residents of the coastal state of Washington love boating. With its many rivers and lakes, as well as 157 miles of Pacific coastline, Washington has plenty of places for PWC owners to enjoy this entertaining pastime. If you own one of the many personal watercrafts that are registered in this state, you may be wondering whether or not you need PWC insurance. Although this coverage is not required by state law, many find it to be a worthwhile investment. To ensure that you are not paying too much for your policy, you can request and compare quotes for PWC insurance in Washington before you make a purchase.
Washington Boat and Personal Watercraft Facts, 2011
- In 2011, there were 234,543 registered boats, including PWCs, in Washington
- Of these, about 10% were PWCs
- Number of recorded boating accidents in the state in 2011: 93
- Of these, approximately 20% involved PWCs
- Number of recorded boat and PWC-related injuries: 54
- Number of boat and PWC-related fatalities: 15
- Number of boat and PWC-related accidents involving property damage only: 43
- Cost of boat and PWC-related accidents: $1,121,500 in WA in 2011
- This averages to about $12,000 per accident
Washington State Laws Pertaining to PWC Operation
Laws and regulations pertaining to PWC use in the state are enforced by Washington State law enforcement. Some state laws include:
- All boats and PWCs must be registered with the state.
- To operate a PWC that has an engine of 15-hp or greater, you must have a Boater Education Card, which can be obtained upon successful completion of a boater safety course.
- It is illegal for those under the age of 14 to operate a PWC.
- Every person on board the PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD).
- Inflatable PFDs and Type II near-shore life jackets are not acceptable for use on a personal watercraft.
- If the PWC is equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch, the operator must have the lanyard attached to his or her body or clothing at all times while on the water.
- PWCs may only be operated between sunrise and sunset
- It is illegal to:
- recklessly weave your way through congested waterway traffic
- jump the wake of another vessel when unreasonably close to that vessel or when visibility around the vessel is obstructed
- operate a PWC while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- harass, chase, or otherwise disturb wildlife or marine mammals
- PWC insurance is not mandatory
Because PWC insurance is not required by law, many in this state choose to forgo it. There are compelling reasons to carry this insurance, however, as it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Not only can it protect you from liability charges if you are responsible for injuries or property damage to another, but it can also protect the investment you have made in your watercraft.
Your homeowners insurance policy may be able to provide a measure of coverage you if you have an accident while operating your PWC; however this coverage is usually very limited. Only an insurance policy specifically designed to cover PWCs can provide you with all the coverage you need.
What Types of Watercraft Are Covered by PWC Insurance?
A PWC is a recreational watercraft that the operator sits or stands on, rather than sits in, like a traditional boat. These watercraft are propelled by an inboard engine that drives a pump jet with a screw-shaped impeller that creates thrust and enables steering.
There are many different types of PWCs that can be covered by this type of insurance policy. Whether you own a stand-up model like Kawasaki’s Jet Ski®, a sit-down type model like Bombardier’s Sea-Doo®, or a multi-person craft such as Yamaha’s WaveRunner®, a PWC insurance policy can give you the coverage you need to protect your finances and your investment while you are out on the water.
What Does PWC Insurance Cover?
PWC insurance policies will include a number of coverage options so that you can build a policy that covers your watercraft as you see fit. Coverage you can expect to find when you review different policies includes:
- Liability coverage: This is designed to cover the costs associated with bodily injuries and property damage to a third party if you are responsible for an accident while operating your PWC.
- Medical payments coverage: This is designed to provide coverage for any necessary medical care or treatment required by you or your passengers if you are injured in a PWC accident, regardless of fault.
- Collision coverage: This is designed to compensate you for the repair to or replacement of your watercraft if it is damaged in an accident, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This is designed to compensate you for the repair to or replacement of your PWC if is it damaged in a non-collision –related event such as severe weather, falling objects, fire, theft and vandalism.
- Uninsured and underinsured boater coverage: If you are in a collision with an at-fault boater who does not have the necessary insurance coverage to compensate you for damages or injuries, this coverage is designed to make up the difference.
- Wreckage removal coverage: This is designed to cover the cost of removing wreckage and cleaning up fuel spills following an accident for which you are at fault. This clean-up has the potential to be quite expensive, so this coverage may be quite beneficial.
- In-water towing and assistance coverage: This is designed to cover the costs associated with assistance if your PWC becomes disabled while out on the water.
- Trailer insurance: This is designed to cover damages to the trailer you use to tow your PWC to and from the water.
Find and Compare PWC Insurance Quotes in Washington
The best way to be sure that you are getting your PWC insurance policy at a great rate is to comparison shop before making a purchase. An independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network may be able to save you both time and money by gathering a variety of policies and rate quotes for you. These agents can also assist you by answering your insurance-related questions and helping you compare the coverage offered by the different insurance companies.
Contact an agent in or near your Washington neighborhood to learn more about your PWC insurance options and you can start comparing quotes for this coverage in no time.