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Personal Watercraft Insurance and Safety

What is personal watercraft insurance?

Personal watercraft (known by brand names like Jet Skis, Sea-Doos or WaveRunners) can be lots of fun on the water. But, like any moving vehicles, they are subject to accidents and it’s wise to get the proper insurance to protect yourself financially.

Unlike small boats, personal watercraft are not generally covered by homeowners insurance (and in the rare cases they are, coverage limits are low). Personal watercraft insurance (PWC) is specifically designed in order to insure these vessels.

A personal watercraft policy covers you or someone who you’ve allowed to operate your craft for incidents that result in:

  • Bodily injury to another person.
  • Bodily injury to you that is caused by an uninsured watercraft operator.
  • Liability—that is, legal costs if you’re sued due to an accident. Most policies also include water sports liability, which covers risks associated with activities such as waterskiing.
  • Property damage—for example, to another watercraft, a boat or a dock.

Deductibles and liability limits vary by policy and by company. PWC also may cover:

  • Theft of the personal watercraft.
  • Towing, if the watercraft is in an accident.

Additional coverage can also be purchased for trailers and other accessories. If you have several personal watercraft, you may qualify for a multi-boat discount on your insurance. Consult your insurance professional about your specific needs.

Personal watercraft safety

As jet skis are fun and deceptively easy to use, many people fail to realize that personal watercraft also can be dangerous—in fact, each year they cause thousands of serious injuries.

To safely enjoy your personal watercraft:

  • Keep appropriate distance from other personal watercraft. Eighty percent of all injuries and fatalities occur when two personal watercraft collide with one another. Because these vessels can travel at a very high rate of speed, to avoid collision each rider must be able to react to sudden changes. To ensure your safety, stay at least 100 yards behind the vessel in front, and no less than 50 yards to one side.
  • Don’t jump the wake of a passing boat. You could misjudge its speed and cause a collision. Or you might end up in the path of traffic coming from the other direction.
  • Stay alert! Be aware of what is going on around you. In addition to other watercraft, steer clear of swimmers, divers, water skiers and fishermen.