Boat Insurance Tip No. 4: Liability
April 16, 2012
In this series on boat insurance, New England Boating consulted with Jay Kay, president of Stafford Marine Insurance (a New England Boating sponsor), who explained why it behooves you to check your liability coverage before taking guests aboard.
A major area of concern for sailors is racing coverage. You definitely need to watch out if you do any sort of racing.
This is important, says Kay, if you have guests on your boat. “Get the maximum amount of liability you can afford,” he recommends, “as there’s not that big a difference in the premium between a $100,000 policy and a $500,000 policy. Also, you may want to consider getting a $1 million umbrella policy via your homeowner’s insurance, which will cover you if something happens on your boat, over and above the amount you have on your boat policy.”
Racing & For-Hire Coverage:
A major area of concern for sailors is racing coverage. “You definitely need to watch out if you do any sort of racing. And I’m talking about even laidback Thursday-night-after-work racing with your buddies,” says Kay. You need to make your underwriter aware of any competitive usage of your boat, so you can get a racing rider or endorsement on your policy.
Also, if you charge people to ride on your boat or pay someone to serve as mate or crewman, even for a day, you will usually void your policy. “Whenever money is changing hands, you need to be careful,” warns Kay. This applies even if you’re simply hiring someone to serve food or drinks on your boat during an onboard party.