Where we live in Texas, it is not uncommon to see dozens of boats being hauled on the highway heading to the Gulf for a day of fun in the sun. As your Allstate insurance agents, we want to take a minute to remind boaters of the importance of purchasing boat insurance before hitting the water. In today’s blog, we’re offering up some more information about why you might need boat insurance, what boat insurance covers, and how to get the best boat insurance policy for your needs. Keep reading to learn more!

Without Boat Insurance…

The best way to explain the benefits of boat insurance is to explain what can happen without it. We’ve compiled three scenarios you might find yourself in when you do not have boat insurance.  

Best-Case Scenario

The best-case scenario involving boat insurance is that you run your boat into a rock, total it, and everyone gets off safely and there are no injuries. In this case, you will lose your boat with no coverage to replace or repair it, but you luckily did not cause any injuries or damage to someone else’s property. You may have inherited your boat from your grandpa and haven’t actually lost any money of your own, or you might have just spent $40,000 on a brand new boat that you now cannot operate.

Medium-Case Scenario

The mid-case scenario of boating without insurance is colliding with another watercraft, this time we’ll say it’s a parked boat with no passengers. The owner of the victim boat watches helplessly from the dock as your plow your vessel into his. You are clearly at-fault and have no boat insurance, yet suddenly find yourself responsible for tens of thousands of dollars of damage to this other boat, along with repairing damage to yours.

Worst-Case Scenario

The very worst case scenario you want to find yourself in regarding boating without insurance coverage is being at-fault in a boating accident that causes injury or death to others on the water. It is not uncommon for speedboats to collide with water skiers or paddle boarders, and you never know when the unexpected will happen. Now, because you don’t have boat insurance, you are responsible for possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal injury cases and medical bills. If you think, “I’m a safe boater, I would never let that happen,” don’t forget about those times when you let friends or your kids take the wheel. Risking a lifetime of strife isn’t worth saving a couple hundred bucks a year on your insurance premiums.

Boating Statistics

Every year, the United States Coast Guard releases a report about recreational boating accidents. While boating accidents can happen whether or not the boat owner holds boating insurance, it is still important to remember that no one is immune to being involved in an accident. We’ve compiled some of the important statistics from the most recent report.

  • In 2017, there were 4,291 accidents that involved 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries, and over $46 million dollars in property damage (not including bodily injury)
  • 80% of boating accidents resulting in drowning deaths occurred on vessels less than 21 feet in length.
  • 81% of boating deaths occurred on boats where the operator had not completed boater safety courses.

Let’s take a look at that last statistic: 81% of the 658 boating accident deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had not completed boater safety courses. While it may not seem like this relates to insurance, it is important to remember that most insurance agencies offer discounts on boat insurance if you have completed a boat safety course. Because these safety courses usually start around $20, most boat owners seeking insurance gladly spend a few hours taking a safety course to save money on their premiums. Getting boat insurance in Texas while taking advantage of discounts for completing safety courses can not only help you save some money on your premiums, but also will make you less likely to cause an accident on the water.

Other Considerations

If you’ve taken a boating safety course and feel confident in your ability to not cause an accident, you still should consider a few other factors when it comes to purchasing boat insurance in Texas.

Weather Damage: Texas weather can be unpredictable and, at times, destructive. As your Houston boat insurance providers, we know how destructive weather can be here near the Gulf. A comprehensive boat insurance policy in Houston can protect your boat even when it’s off the water, offering coverage for repairs due to weather damage like hail, falling branches, and even hurricanes if your specific policy covers it.

Hauling Damage: Of course, not all accidents involving boats happen in your driveway or on the water. It is not uncommon for people hauling boats to be involved in car accidents when a big gust of wind causes them to lose control of their car and boat trailer. Sometimes car insurance will cover things you tow, but often only up to a certain amount. Ensuring your boating policy covers damages sustained when hauling can make sure you can get your boat to the water and back home knowing that it is safe. This is also a good idea if you regularly let your friends and family borrow your boat for the weekend. Unlike car insurance, boat insurance follows the boat, not the policyholder, so as long as a legal operator is in charge of the boat, your insurance policy should cover its normal damages whether you are on the boat or not.

Types Of Boat Insurance

When it comes to boat insurance with Allstate, your policy is pretty customizable and at our Houston Allstate insurance agency, we want to work with your needs and budget. While we recommend at the very least to have liability insurance for damage caused to another person or their property, you can weigh the pros and cons of having a larger or smaller policy.

Some policies will pay out the cash value of the boat before the accident, but boats depreciate in value just like cars. While your luxury $50,000 boat that you purchased in 2010 might have lasted another decade without incident, it is possible the cash value might currently sit around $20,000, and you will not be able to purchase of boat of equal luxury with that type of policy. However, you will also not be left without compensation, and this policy will have lower premiums than other policies.

While some policies will only cover the boat itself, other policy options include coverage for personal items aboard the watercraft, such as electronics and fishing equipment. When purchasing your policy, you can also decide if you will want a basic policy that pays out the cash value like the one described above, or an agreed upon amount based on the purchase price so you can replace your boat with another watercraft offering an equal lifestyle.

Again, these boat insurance policies are customizable to your needs. If you plan on sailing around the world, for example, you will need a different policy than someone who only floats a hundred yards off the coast on a pontoon, who will again need a different policy than someone who speeds around in a motorboat.

Allstate Boat Insurance In Texas

Thomas & Associates is your choice Allstate insurance agent in Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding areas. Get in touch today to learn more about taking out a boat insurance policy this summer!