Business Today: Do I need boat insurance in Connecticut?

Although Connecticut law does not require a boat owner to purchase or maintain liability insurance, it is just common sense to obtain one. With the number of boats and personal watercraft on Connecticut waters increasing each year, there is an increase in boating accidents, resulting in more serious injuries and loss of life. money.

Many small boat owners believe that home owner’s insurance protects them from liability for losses caused by negligent operation of the boat. their boat. While that’s usually true for smaller boats powered by less than a 25-horsepower outboard motor, more powerful boats are excluded from such coverage. These boats, and personal watercraft such as jet skis or speedboats as well as sailboats, require boat insurance for the owner or operator to protect.

As with operating a motor vehicle in Connecticut, there is a presumption that if a boat is operated by the husband, wife, father, mother, son, or daughter of the owner, it is a family boat, exposed. the owner of the liability even though it was not operated by him at the time of its loss. This law provides an incentive for boat owners to properly insure their boats.

Many insurance companies advertise low rates for boat insurance. Before purchasing insurance for your boat from any of these companies, you should determine the coverage and amount required.

If you are a homeowner with a surplus policy, you need to purchase enough mechanic’s liability coverage for your boat to meet the needs of your property. surplus. Generally, limits of $300,000 to $500,000 are required on your boat insurance. Fees for the boat usually depend on many factors: the number of the boat, the location of the boat, use, size, age, condition, type of electricity, and the experience of the owner.

Know that in Connecticut about six people a year die in accidents, according to the US Coast Guard. The leading cause of boating accidents: alcohol.

Owning and operating a boat is a serious endeavor and, in order to avoid personal liability exposure, you should insure your boat to the appropriate extent. . Consulting an agent or company with experience in boat insurance is the best option. With the recent losses caused by tropical storms, many insurance companies have refused to insure boat buyers. It’s gotten to the point in Florida, for example, that boat sellers need proof from buyers that they can get insurance, just as home buyers need pre-authorized letters from banks to show who has approved the customer for the loan needed to buy. a house.

And, in the event of an accident, boat operators must follow the same rules as those following a car accident. Operators must remain in place and assist any other vessel or person in distress, if possible, without further damage. their own ships or the people on board. The operator must provide the name, address and vessel identification number to the other operator or owner of the damaged property.

Finally, the operator must notify the nearest law enforcement agency and, within 48 hours of the incident, report the matter in writing to a form prepared by the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Division of Shipping.

In the meantime, don’t neglect the life jackets. Adults may not be required by law to wear it (except for the period from October 31 to May 31 – children under the age of 12 must be worn at all times unless below deck or in a shelter) but, like buying boat insurance, it fits.

John F. Wynne Jr. a partner in the firm of Buckley Wynne & Parese in New Haven. She can be reached at 203-776-2278 or jwynne@bwplaw.com.

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