By all accounts, Christopher Columbus was a brave man. The guy sailed out into the unknown to prove the world was round. But his ships were out on the open ocean –  uninsured. Unless of course, you count being backed by the Spanish government an “insurance” of sorts.  But this isn’t about history. It’s about boat insurance, and if Mr. Columbus would have been offered boat insurance, we’re positive he would have taken it.

Is boat insurance required by law?

While Florida law doesn’t require boat insurance for personal usage, your personal protection plan should include it. Boat insurance can provide coverage for the following:

  • YOU if someone is injured in a boating accident with you
  • Injuries to someone involved in a boating accident with you
  • Damage your boat may cause to someone else’s property
  • Damages to your boat (as we whisper the name “Matthew”)
  • Damages to your property or injuries to you and your passengers if there’s an accident with another boat without insurance
  • Repair or replacement of items in your boat

As the Florida DMV correctly states,

“One of the biggest reasons people might not purchase boat insurance is the misunderstanding that boats are covered under their home insurance policy.

While your home insurance policy may provide very limited coverage for smaller boats on your property, the general rule of thumb is most large items that have their own specific type of insurance available to them can only be covered by that specific insurance. So, if you have a boat, your best bet is to have it insured with boat insurance.”

What about Commercial Usage?

If you operate a boat for commercial usage (as did Chris Columbus), Florida DOES state that you are LIABLE for any damages caused by you or your boat. That means whether you have insurance or not, you are obligated to pay for any damages or injuries you may cause. The best way to protect yourself in this situation is with a commercial boat policy. You can get coverage for:

  • Your hull and the machinery of your boat
  • Injuries or damages to your passengers or their property if they are hurt or damaged on your boat
  • Injuries to passengers if they’re on a shore excursion on your boat (for our charter boats out there)
  • Injuries to your crew if they are hurt while on your boat.

He ended up discovering America and a whole new world, but imagine the endless possibilities if only Chris Columbus would have had boat insurance.  He could have been the first person to sail around the world and had 30 years on Magellan’s crew. But that’s another story….


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