Keeping a boat comes with some responsibilities. On the one hand, where it’s all fun and games, you must also keep the safety measures in check. Having boat insurance is one of the essential safety measures that you should acquire.
So, if you own a boat and haven’t thought about insurance yet, it’s time to act. The boat insurance laws in California are relaxed compared to some other states. However, it is always better to be prepared for worst-case scenarios.
If you’re wondering whether it’s necessary to ensure your boat in California and the legal issues related to it, I will take you through a detailed guide.
Besides finding an answer to the question: does California require boat insurance, you will also see why having insurance can pay off if you are a regular boater. I also want the readers to know some technical aspects of boat insurance that new buyers often overlook.
When you’re out in the waters, you never know what will come next. You can meet an accident, or a technical fault, something that you cannot predict. So, boat insurance will cover you for such losses. In some cases, the insurance provider covers the entire cost while others may give partial coverage.
What’s Covered in Boat Insurance?
In California, boating insurance laws are slightly different from some of the other states. It’s because the types of dangers are also different. So, boating insurance policies are generally customized to cover human-made errors, natural disasters, and technical issues.
For more technical understanding, we will look at some of the general areas covered in most insurance policies in California.
Liability protection ensures that your water sport activities are well-secured. It covers passenger safety, physical damage to furniture, hull, and sails, etc. Generally, these are also covered in the insurance policy of the boat owner.
Californian waters are full of surprises. You can find hidden rocks and ice, which often damage the under-water area of the boat. So, because the policies are specific to the state, your navigation can also be restricted to some extent.
Property damage covers any damage you might cause to someone else’s boat when you’re in the water. It also covers damage to docks, structures, and property of such nature.
In case of damage, collision damage will cover for repair or replacement. In case of damage, collision damage will cover for repair or replacement. Some parts such as the sailboat may come under a separate deductible
People often like to travel to farther areas like Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, etc. They may not add them to your initial policy, but you can customize them to add them. If you’re a frequent long-route traveler, then it’s a must-have option for you.
The type of vessel also affects boat insurance. Generally, boats without motors are not required to register. Therefore, the insurance policy will also formulate according to the boat type. Since motorized boats have more mechanical and electrical parts, their insurance policy also covers more damages.
Many insurance policy providers set an optimum age limit for boat insurance. Generally, they provide policies to owners who are 20 years old or above.
Insurance companies may also consider the age of your boat. This estimate can be pivotal in determining the annual insurance that you receive.
Greater the speed, the greater the risk. Speedboats pose far more chances of damage than regular or motorless boats. Therefore, policymakers often put a special bracket on such vessels. Generally, they confine your boat speed limit to 120 mph.
Insurance credits are a fantastic addition to the policies. These credits apply to those who fulfill a criterion. For instance, a sailboat will be less damageable as compared to a speed boat. So, they can earn some credit from the policy provider.
Similarly, if your boat undergoes a winter layup, you are eligible for credit. A longer layup means more credit.
Does California Require Boat Insurance?
California is an exciting yet challenging place for boat lovers. There are several water sports and activities that you can enjoy, but they can come at a cost. So, it’s better to prepare beforehand.
As far as the state law is concerned, you don’t need boat insurance to use the Californian waters. Some private or state authorities may restrict movement or speed limits. However, it’s a freeway to enjoy the water without worrying about insurance.
If you were to take my opinion, you should never set sail before ensuring the boat because it can save you from sudden financial setbacks.
Boat Insurance Cost
Boat insurance can start from as low as $100. It depends on the size of the boat and the additional premiums that you want to avail. Therefore, regardless of your boat size, there is something for everyone in Californian insurance laws.
In addition to insurance policies, some companies also give discounts if the boater meets the following general criteria:
- If you have not encountered any accidents or violated the water traveling laws in the past three years.
- If you’re a homeowner.
- Being the original and sole owner of the boat.
- When you pay the full insurance fee upfront
- If you have completed a safety course on boating.
- If you have other insurance policies like home or car insurance
- When you insure more than one vessel
So, if you fall in any of these categories, you can avail these discounts.
Boating comes with its pros and cons. However, if you cover the critical elements like boat insurance, you can enjoy worrying free boating adventures with your friends and family.
In California, registering and insuring a boat is not a big problem, thanks to online registration and insurance services. If you haven’t guaranteed your boat till now, you can look up some options.
Just make sure to keep your boat in good health and style before applying for insurance because many insurance companies like to examine the property they insure physically. If you do everything right, there is nothing to stop you from a luxurious and worry-free boating adventure in California waters.