What Is Uninsured Boater Coverage

February 27, 2024

uninsured boater coverage

There are more than 4,000 boat crashes in the United States every year. While there are some signs these numbers are decreasing, it is still alarming enough to make you consider investing in boat insurance.

Most people have heard of uninsured motorist coverage. This protects you if you’re in a car crash with a driver who lacks or has insufficient insurance coverage.

These instances are rare, since all states require motorists to carry liability insurance. That’s not the case with watercraft, which makes the need for protection all the more vital for anyone owning a boat.

This article covers the basics of uninsured boater coverage. It will help you determine what it protects against (and what it does not) so you can decide on the best policy for your boat.

What Is Uninsured Boater Insurance?

Uninsured boater insurance is also sometimes called “uninsured watercraft coverage.” It is a specific type of insurance policy, with most locations, including Florida, making it optional.

Uninsured boater insurance pays for damage to your boat, as well as harm done to you or your passengers, in the event of a boat crash where another boater is at fault and lacks insurance. It also covers you if they do have insurance but it is insufficient to cover the amount of damage.

Why Is Uninsured Boater Coverage Necessary?

You may be surprised to learn only two states – Arkansas and Utah – require insurance for obtaining a boating license. Even if you live in one of these locations, there is no guarantee all boaters obey the law.

Regardless of your location, it is a good idea to have both liability and uninsured boater coverage. Similar to automotive insurance, liability boating insurance pays for damage you cause, if you are at fault.

If another boater is at fault, then their insurance policy would normally pay for the damage. Uninsured boater insurance protects you if the liable boater lacks insurance, or has inadequate insurance, to pay for the damage.

Most uninsured boater policies also include hit-and-runs. They may include incidents where the other boat driver cannot be found or identified. However, there are some exclusions to this, which you’ll see below.

What Do Uninsured Boater Policies Cover?

There are many areas of coverage that uninsured boater insurance can cover. Here are the main ones to consider.

Bodily Injury

If you or your passengers are injured in a boating accident by an underinsured or uninsured driver, uninsured boater insurance will kick it. It will cover medical expenses and rehabilitation as a result of the injury. It will also cover lost wages or salary if you’re unable to work.

Property Damage

Uninsured boater coverage will also cover damage to your craft. This includes either repair or replacement costs.

Legal Fees

Uninsured boater coverage also can cover legal expenses related to the crash. If you have to file a lawsuit, or if you are yourself sued, these policies can pay for legal representation.

What Does Uninsured Boater Insurance Not Cover?

There are a few areas uninsured boater insurance does not cover. First, most plans are for collisions, not intentional damage. If someone vandalizes or steals components of your boat while it is docked, this may fall outside the scope of the policy.

That’s not to say there are no policies covering such acts. If you keep your boat in an area with a high susceptibility to vandalism or theft, check with your insurance provider to see what is available.

Also, while certain policies may cover damage to your boat and medical expenses, there may be limitations.

Most uninsured boater policies do not cover non-boating property. This can include docks, piers, boat trailers, or other marine structures damaged by another boater. In most cases, these claims would need to go through your vehicle or property insurance.

How Much Uninsured Boater Coverage Is Adequate?

Like other insurance policies, uninsured boater policies have limits. These include those related to coverage levels, deductibles, and exclusions. What level of protection you need depends on a few variables.

Assess the Value of Your Craft

The first thing to look at is the value of your property. The greater your boat’s worth, the more you could potentially lose in an incident with an underinsured or uninsured boater.

Look at Your Level of Risk

Next, assess the places where you boat. Are you often in high-traffic areas or narrow waterways that put you in closer proximity to other boats? If so, then the likelihood of crashes increases. The greater your risk of an incident the more important uninsured boater coverage becomes.

Consider the Impact of Potential Losses

When assessing coverage for injuries or loss of wages, look at existing policies to see where that coverage ends. Would your regular health insurance kick in for medical expenses? If you have a limited health plan, then uninsured boater coverage becomes all the more vital.

Finally, consider all these factors alongside your general financial situation. If replacing your craft or large medical bills would cause major financial strain on you and your family, uninsured boat insurance can alleviate that threat.

Talk With an Experienced Insurance Expert

One of the easiest and best things you can do to determine how much uninsured boater insurance you need is to speak with an experienced insurance professional. They can recommend appropriate coverage levels relative to your boat and personal circumstances.

This will guarantee you’re paying the lowest possible premiums while ensuring your boat and its passengers are protected. It can give you the peace of mind you’re covered should the unforeseeable happen.

Find Uninsured Boater Coverage Today

Now that you understand how uninsured boater coverage works, you can determine if it is right for you. A professional insurance agent can help you determine the right coverage level based on your boating activities, level of risk, and financial needs.

At HH Insurance, we are committed to providing our customers with a straightforward buying experience that meets your coverage needs. We also work within a variety of insurance markets to ensure we are getting you the best price possible for your policy. Reach out to us today to learn more!


**This blog provides a brief overview of the terms and phrases used within the insurance industry. These definitions are not applicable in all states or for all insurance and financial products. This is not an insurance contract. Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Please read your official policy for full details about coverage. These definitions do not alter or modify the terms of any insurance contract.