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Compare jet ski insurance

Cruise with confidence knowing you could pay for any damage that happens while riding your jet ski.

Jet ski insurance is a type of boat insurance called personal watercraft insurance (PWC). It protects you if you injure another person or damage someone else’s boat or property with your jet ski. However, your policy can also protect your jet ski and trailer from damage or theft, albeit with some important exclusions.

Do I need insurance for a jet ski?

You’ll most likely need some insurance for your jet ski based on different requirements from your state, marinas you use or your lender.

State requirements

First off, most states don’t require you to buy insurance to operate a jet ski, except for the following states:

  • Arkansas. At least $50,000 in liability coverage for jet skis over 50 horsepower.
  • Hawaii. At least $500,000 of coverage required if you’re docking at the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.
  • Utah. At least $25,000 for bodily injuries, $50,000 for deaths and $15,000 for property damage liability. Or you can use a combined $65,000 limit per accident.

Marina requirements

In addition, many marinas require you to have some insurance to use their facilities. You should check with the marina ahead of time before docking or using the slip.

Jet ski loan requirements

Lenders also typically require wide protection for your jet ski if you’re financing it.

If you own the jet ski outright or after your loan is paid off, PWC insurance can still benefit you. Going without insurance can lead to financial strain if you injure someone or destroy their property. You could be responsible for thousands of dollars’ worth in damage out of pocket.

How much does jet ski insurance cost?

Basic jet ski policies can start at $100 per year or $8 per month, but it goes up from there. Insurance companies consider many different factors when coming up with your premium. So the cost will vary based on the following factors:

  • Your jet ski’s make, model and year
  • Engine power
  • Any modifications
  • Security features
  • Where you store your jet ski
  • Types of coverage and policy limits
  • Whether you’ve taken a water safety course
  • Your claims history
  • Your credit score

What does jet ski insurance cover?

Most jet ski insurance companies offer a variety of PWC coverage, similar to car insurance coverage. The rundown on the standard coverage you can expect to find:

  • Property damage liability covers you if you damage someone else’s boat, the marina or another type of personal property.
  • Bodily injury liability pays for medical bills if you injure someone on another boat or passengers on your boat. It also covers legal fees if someone sues you for their injuries.
  • Medical payments can pay for medical bills for you or other people without tapping into your liability coverage or going to court.
  • Collision protects your own jet ski from damage that happens because of your own fault or the fault of a guest driver.
  • Comprehensive covers your jet ski from damage caused by fire, natural disasters, storms or theft.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist kicks in when another boat damages your jet ski or causes injuries but doesn’t hold enough insurance to cover expenses.

What additional jetski coverage can I buy?

Besides the standard levels of cover mentioned above, you can get several additional forms of coverage for your jet ski as add-ons:

  • Coverage for your belongings. Some policies offer a small amount of protection for personal belongings included or as an add-on purchase, such as life vests or scuba masks.
  • Total loss protection. If the damage costs more to repair than your insurance company deems worth it, this add-on makes sure you can buy a similar boat without factoring in depreciation.
  • Towing assistance pays for emergency towing if your jet ski breaks down on the open water.

What’s not covered with jet ski insurance?

When you take out a jet ski policy, you might pay attention to situations your insurance company won’t cover. Common exclusions that could lead to denied claims:

  • You ride at night. Some policies won’t cover risky times of day, such as riding at dusk or night when visibility is low.
  • You don’t disclose modifications. You can’t receive an extra payout for damage done to equipment or gear you’ve modified your boat with unless you’ve let your insurer know about modifications and paid for extra coverage.
  • You break the law or misuse your jet ski. This can include operating the jet ski without a license, in less than a seaworthy condition or while overloading it beyond capacity.
  • You drive beyond your policy’s geographical limits. If you’re using the jet ski at sea, your policy may not cover you so far from shore.
  • You use your jet ski for racing. You may need special coverage for racing or competitions through a specialist insurance company.
  • You ride with a lay-up policy in force. If you ride during the off-season after dropping liability and other coverage, you won’t be covered for any damage if you use it during that time.

How much coverage do I need?

At the very least, you need enough coverage to meet your state, marina or lender requirements. Consider buying the highest liability coverage you can afford since liability claims for injuries or death can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Beyond that, you’ll likely want to consider adding comprehensive or collision coverage to protect the full value of your jet ski. You can choose to insure it at its actual market value or brand new replacement value.

On the other hand, if your jet ski is a few years old and paid off, you might decide you can take on the risk for physical damage to your own property if you’re comfortable self-insuring and paying for damage out of pocket.

How does actual cash value work with jet ski insurance?

When you insure a depreciating asset like a jet ski, you have the choice to insure it for an agreed value or the actual cash value. Say your jet ski cost $10,000 brand new and you insure it at its actual cash value. If it gets damaged one year later, you’ll only receive the market value that it’s worth that year, not the amount you paid for the jet ski. That means you can replace it with a one-year-old used jet ski.

But if you buy an agreed-value policy with $10,000 in coverage, you’ll get the full amount even if the jet ski has decreased in value. That means you can buy a brand new jet ski to replace your old one. Expect higher premiums on your policy though.

How do I apply for jet ski insurance?

Buying jet ski insurance involves a fairly straightforward process. Follow these steps to apply:

  1. Compare your preferred companies. Visit a few websites or call around for insurance companies that offer personal watercraft insurance. In some cases, you’ll select the style of watercraft you want from the boat insurance menu.
  2. Start your application. You can get a quote online or by calling the customer service department. You’ll need to fill in details about yourself, your jet ski and your claims history.
  3. Receive your quote. In many cases, you can receive a quote immediately and opt to buy the policy on the spot. Other companies will review your information and call you with your quote.
  4. Accept the policy terms. Once you’ve chosen a company, review all the required documents and sign if you agree to the terms and conditions.
  5. Start your coverage. Last, you can finalize your payment method, pay the initial premium and start your policy on the date selected in your application.

Bottom line

You most likely need jet ski insurance if you’re planning to use a marina for docking or if you financed your jet ski. However, it’s worth comparing jet ski or boat policies even when it’s not required — that way you can protect your ride and your personal finances.

Frequently asked questions about jet ski insurance

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