Is Boat Insurance Required In Michigan?

If you’re asking the question “Is boat insurance required in Michigan?”, you’re asking the wrong question. The question isn’t “if,” it’s “which” insurance should you get for your watercraft?   Why? Only California ranks ahead of us when it comes to boating. There are more than a million boats put in the nearly 11,000 lakes in Michigan each season. A lot can happen.

But that’s only part of the reason people living in Michigan are required to have boat and watercraft insurance.  You need boat insurance to cover the same liability issue that applies to your home and car.  Collisions on Michigan lakes happen frequently and you certainly want to make sure you’re covered with liability insurance if someone gets hurt or dies.  And if your boat is the subject of theft or vandalism, the same rings true.  

While some homeowner’s or retail insurance policies can cover your boat on a limited basis, you still might need an extra policy for your watercraft. The good news is that Autumn Insurance has the solutions you need, whether you are captaining a yacht or a pontoon boat.  Many of Autumn Insurance’s customers take advantage of our umbrella policies, covering cars, homes, and boats, which saves them between 10 and 20% on their rates. But if you’re specifically looking for insurance for your boat or jet ski, please keep these factors in mind.

What is your Boat Worth?

There are two main types of boat insurance: agreed value and market value (cash value). With an agreed value policy, the value of the boat is agreed upon when you sign the policy. After that, if the boat is damaged enough to become a total loss, you get the full agreed-upon value.

With a market value policy, the insurer takes your boat’s depreciation into account. If the boat is totaled a few years after you buy it, you can’t expect to get back what you paid for it. And while market value policies offer less coverage, they tend to be less expensive.

We recommend starting with an agreed value policy when the boat is new or nearly new. But as the boat ages and the depreciation slows, then a market value policy might make more sense.

Why Buy an “All Risk” Policy?

All Risk policies for boat owners are basically a policy covering everything unless specifically excluded by the language of the policy. A named-perils policy, on the other hand, covers only what is specifically provided for by the policy language. We can help you price out both, but in many cases, we recommend all-risk.

Is My Boat Covered While in Storage or in My Driveway? What kind of Lake? Great Lakes or Torch Lake?

Most of our policies provide coverage for inland waters because that’s what Michigan offers, no matter if it’s Whitmore Lake or Lake Michigan. But if you’re planning on taking your boat to the Atlantic or Pacific, let us know so we can make sure your policy covers you in those waters as well. 

Extended Storage and Surprise Weekends 

There is one advantage to living in Michigan’s sometimes frigid climate. If the winter weather is making boating for you impossible, you can reduce your premium for your agreed-upon months of non-use. But be careful, sometimes our crazy Michigan weather offers warm surprises in non-boating months. This may inspire you to take the boat out on an unusually non-spring or fall-like weekend. But before you do that, call us and make sure you’re covered.

What About During Transport?

If you are regularly traveling to lake destinations, and your boat or jet-ski(s) are small enough for a trailer. But you should have insurance in the case of an accident.  Chances are you’ll be covered by your auto insurance, but make sure and call us before you tow.  Obviously, if you already have one of our home/car/boat umbrella policies, you’ll be fine.  The same goes for damage that might occur when the watercraft is parked on your property.

If You’re Still Waffling on Getting Insurance…

This article has laid out a number of reasons why you need insurance for your watercraft, but if you need another reason, know that if you have paid for your boat with a bank loan, most will require insurance.  Many marinas also require insurance before you can use their facilities. 

Call Autumn Insurance today at 248-478-1177. 


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