Florida’s coastlines provide so many opportunities for jet skiing. There’s nothing better than zipping along on a powerful jet ski, dodging the waves as you go. As fun as jet skiing can be, it does come with some risks. Personal watercraft insurance exists to financially protect you from those risks.
The State of Florida does not require jet ski owners to insure their personal watercraft. However, it is a very good idea to purchase an insurance policy before you head out on the water. It’s also important to understand how jet ski insurance differs from standard boat insurance, and why you really do need a specialized jet ski policy.
What Is Jet Ski Insurance?
Although you often see this type of insurance marketed as “jet ski insurance,” most insurance companies more formally refer to it as “personal watercraft insurance.” Jet skis are considered personal watercraft because they are designed to accommodate one — occasionally two — passengers. Speed is also a factor. To be considered a personal watercraft for insurance purposes, a vehicle typically needs to exceed 25 miles per hour, which jet skis certainly do.
Jet skis are not the only type of watercraft that can be insured under a personal watercraft policy. You would need the same type of insurance if you had a wave runner or other similar craft with a high-horsepower engine and top speed exceeding 25 miles per hour.
Are Jet Ski Insurance and Boat Insurance the Same?
The short answer to this question is “no.” Both types of insurance fall under the umbrella of watercraft insurance. However, there are three types of watercraft insurance, each of which is designed for a different type of watercraft.
Boat insurance policies are intended for larger watercraft that can accommodate multiple people. The assumption is that boats are usually slow-moving, and they are used for pleasure. They’re treated more like cars or SUVs that people use on the water.
Boat insurance typically includes liability coverage, which pays for any damage you cause to others’ property or persons while driving your boat. The policy also covers damage to your boat or its motor if you were to be involved in a crash. Some policies even cover the trailer you use to transport the boat.
Personal Watercraft Insurance
Personal watercraft insurance is designed for small, personal watercraft that are used for recreational purposes and which regularly exceed speeds of 25 miles per hour. You can think of personal watercraft insurance as being the equivalent to motorcycle insurance on dry land.
Man-powered watercraft like canoes and kayaks don’t typically need to be insured under this type of policy as they are covered by your homeowners’ insurance. Jet skis and other high-horsepower watercraft have a higher value and are more likely to cause damage to others’ property during operation. Therefore, they are not usually covered under homeowners’ insurance and need to be covered under a separate personal watercraft policy.
Personal watercraft insurance covers a lot of the same things that boat insurance covers: damage to other watercraft, damage to others’ property, medical bills, and collision-related damage to your own jet ski. However, since these high-speed personal watercraft are likely to cause more damage — and different types of damage — than boats, the amount of coverage you need is different. Insurance companies also charge different rates for personal watercraft coverage and boat coverage since the two types of watercraft come with different risks.
The third type of watercraft insurance is yacht insurance. These insurance policies are designed for large watercraft over a certain value. Yacht insurance costs more than typical boat insurance because it protects more expensive craft. Different insurance policies have different cutoff points, but it is typical for insurers to recommend yacht coverage for any boat with a value over $175,000.
Why Should You Buy Jet Ski Insurance?
If you have a jet ski, you should make sure you have a good personal watercraft insurance policy. Jet ski accidents can result in multiple traumatic injuries, which result in high medical bills and lost wages. A standard boat insurance policy does not always offer enough coverage for these situations.
Jet skis can also cause extensive damage to docks and other watercraft because they travel at high speeds. A personal watercraft insurance policy will have a high liability coverage limit to ensure you’re not left paying for the damage yourself.
The best way to find a good personal watercraft insurance policy is to work with a local, independent insurance agent. They can compare policies and recommend one that fits your needs and budget. Contact Flagler County Insurance Agency if you’re looking for any type of watercraft insurance in Florida. We’d be happy to find you a policy that gives you peace of mind out on the water.