Whether you fish the waters of Sleepy Creek Lake or ride the waves at Summersville in West Virginia, finding the right insurance policy for your boating needs is a good idea to protect your bass or pleasure boat. Before you search for quotes on boat insurance, however, there are a few things to keep in mind to find the right coverage for yourself.
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Does West Virginia Require Boat Insurance?
While liability insurance is not mandatory for boating in West Virginia, it is a good idea to have so that you can minimize troubles if you or someone operating your boat is involved in a boating accident.
According to the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, boaters do need to register their motorized watercraft with the state.
West Virginia does require a Certificate of Boating Safety Education for boaters, although it does not require a boating license. The regulatory authority for the certificate is the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR). The certificate is mandatory for all boat operators born after Dec. 31, 1986 to operate a vessel with more than a 10 HP motor. The owner or person in charge of a motorboat or personal watercraft cannot authorize or knowingly permit its operation unless the person operating it possesses the certificate as required by law.
If you are between 12 and 14 years of age, you must have your Boater Education Card on board and operate the boat under the direct, onboard supervision of an adult who is at least 18 years old.
Is Your Boat Insurable?
West Virginia insurance companies offer policies for a wide variety of fishing boats and watercraft. Whether you own a 15 HP bass boat or a 30-foot yacht, chances are the perfect policy exists for your specific boat. You can find quotes for the following boats and more:
- Bass boats
- Private pleasure speed boats
- Six Pack charters and inspected vessels
- Full-time cruisers/liveaboards (houseboats)
- Great loopers
Why Boat Insurance Is Important
If you've ever seen a propeller-strike accident, you probably want to do everything in your power in order to protect your financial stability against threats of huge medical bills or property damage.
Occurrences that can threaten your boat include natural disasters such as a hurricane, fire, burglary or liability lawsuits filed by other people claiming that you were negligent. Earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes are not uncommon in West Virginia.
Purchasing boat insurance helps protect you from the expense of unforeseen losses to your vessel and, depending on your coverage, from liability while you are on the water.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
Most West Virginia insurance companies offer a wide variety of boat insurance from which you can choose the right coverage for your boating needs:
- Liability: Like car insurance, personal liability insurance provides coverage to other boaters and boat owners in the event you are at fault for an accident on the water. This coverage will pay to repair or replace the property of someone else, as well as for their costs for medical care, lost wages and other costs incurred due to a boating accident for which you are at fault.
- Medical payments: This coverage is designed to pay for the cost of needed care that is the result of a boating accident. Most medical payments coverage is available in amounts from $500 to $10,000 and covers you, your passengers and even your water skiers/tubers, regardless of who is at fault.
- Physical damage coverage: This insurance addresses the cost to repair or replace your watercraft, its motor, any permanently attached equipment and your trailer if it is stolen or damaged.
- Fuel spill liability and wreckage removal: Should your boat sink or sustain serious damage, there is a chance that it could leak oil or fuel into the water. As the boat’s owner, by law you must have the spill cleaned up, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
- Emergency assistance: Some West Virginia insurance companies offer this package, which provides coverage for towing, labor and delivery of gas, oil or loaned battery if the watercraft becomes inoperable while on the water.
What Does Boat Insurance Cost?
The average cost of boat insurance in West Virginia is $300 to $500 annually. If you own a luxury yacht, however, it is possible for your costs to exceed $1,000 annually. There are a great many factors used to determine just how much your boat insurance will cost:
- Type and value of your boat
- How often you use your boat
- The policy you choose to insure your boat
To save money on your boat insurance you can do the following:
- Take a boating safety course.
- Maintain a good driving record.
- Maintain a good credit score.
- Store your boat in a boathouse or in locked storage when it isn’t in use to reduce the risk of theft and weather-related damage.
- Have your boat appraised by the insurance company before you get it insured.
- Improve your credit score, because a lower credit score is statistically associated with a higher rate of claims, and insurance companies adjust premiums accordingly.
The Information You Need to Get an Accurate Quote
Some, but not all, of the information your WV insurance company will need to get started includes the following:
- The year, make, and model of the boat
- The type of boat (runabout, bass boat, pontoon, yacht, etc.)
- The hull construction (fiberglass, wood, aluminum, etc.)
- The number and type of engines (outboard, inboard, inboard/outboard, etc.)
- Total horsepower
- Top speed
- Purchase price
- Address when not in the water
- Name and driver's license number of each operator
- Number of years of boating experience of the principal operator
Start Saving on Boat Insurance
If the coming summer has you wanting to head out to the lake or river, be sure you have your boat protected against natural and man-made disasters. Don't let the lack of insurance coverage minimize your having a pleasant boating experience. Contact a knowledgeable Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent to find free quotes for the best boat insurance policy you can find in West Virginia.