If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely from Missouri and own a boat or are planning to buy a boat, and are curious about insurance requirements. So, is boat insurance required in Missouri?
Boat insurance is not required in Missouri by law. However, you might be required by your bank to get insurance, if you are getting a loan to finance a new boat. Even though boat insurance is not required by law in Missouri, it is still a good idea to get insurance for peace of mind in case of an accident.
Read on to learn more about boat insurance in Missouri and why you might want to get it, even though it is not required by law.
Is Boat Insurance Required in Missouri?
Is boat insurance required in Missouri? As mentioned, it is not required by law, however, I recommend you get covered.
If you finance a boat, then you need to get coverage for the boat until you have paid the boat in full. This is one of the requirements of the lending institution or your settlement bank.
The insurance coverage must be the full value of the boat. And the lending institution or your settlement bank is the policy’s lien holder. This way, they have the right to insurance claims.
What if you have already paid the lending institution or the bank in full? Are you still required to renew your boat insurance? The answer is no, because your transaction with them has already ended.
The question now is, should you still get boat insurance? I recommend you do get your boat insured, even without a requirement. It is for your own financial protection. Your boat is part of your life, therefore, it should form part of your financial decisions. It’s the same as getting insurance policies for your property, your cars, and your life.
Why You Should Get Boat Insurance
As mentioned earlier, nobody wants to get caught in a boat accident. That’s why we make it a point to follow precautionary measures as much as we can. But let’s be realistic. Even if we take extra caution, it’s still possible for accidents to happen.
Let’s take a look at these statistics about boat accidents in Missouri as of 2017:
- Recreational boating accidents resulted in more than 90 injured people. It also resulted in 10 fatalities.
- There were over 160 boat crashes which resulted in more than 100 incidents of property damage.
- More than 15 boat crashes were due to intoxication. Some were due to intense water conditions, and other reasons.
- There were passengers who fell overboard. This occurrence resulted in 3 fatalities.
- Most boat crashes happened from May to August.
- Most crashes happened during weekends.
- Most crashes occurred between late afternoon and 8:00 PM.
- Among all boat operators who got involved in boat accidents, 106 had no formal boat training.
The different types of boat accidents include:
- Accident due to the intoxication of the boat operator;
- Accident due to intense weather conditions;
- Accident due to flooding/swamping;
- Collision with an object;
- Collision with another watercraft or vessel;
- Falling overboard; and
- Skier mishap; among others.
We must admit that these unfortunate events can happen. This only goes to show that buying boat insurance is important.
Is Boat Insurance Costly?
Your boat’s insurance premium depends on the following factors:
1. Type of Boat
It’s the same as when you’re insuring any other type of vehicle. Expect a top-of-the line car to have a higher premium rate than a car with a lower variant. This means that if you own a cabin cruiser, expect it to be more costly than a bass boat.
2. Frequency of Boat Usage
Your premium rate is high if you’re using your boat year-round. If you’re using your boat during summer season only, then your premium rate will be lower.
3. Your Boating History
Your premium rate may be lower if you have a good track record as a boat operator. The insurance company will have the impression that you’re a responsible driver.
4. The Deductible Amount in Your Policy
There is a certain amount you have to pay so that the insurance company can start processing your claims. This is what we call the deductible amount. If you have a high deductible amount, then your premium rate may be lower.
5. The Cost of Your Liability Coverage
Sometimes, boaters feel that the basic liability coverage is not enough. In which case, they opt to supplement it with extra liability coverage. This supplement is also known as the umbrella insurance policy. Of course, if you get this extra coverage, your total premium rate will go up.
6. Your Boat’s Value
The entire value of your boat doesn’t only mean the price you paid when you bought it. It also includes all the other accessories you have added in it. If you have installed more features in your boat, you might want to include it in the insurance coverage. In which case, you have to get a comprehensive insurance policy. This, of course, is more expensive than the basic policy.
The Missouri Laws and Regulations on Boats
It is important to identify what the state requires from you as a boat owner. It can be your basis to decide whether you should get boat insurance or not.
Below is a list of the boating laws of Missouri:
- If your boat is mechanically propelled, then you need to register it. It is also a mandate to paint your boat’s registration number on the bow.
- You must complete the registration within 2 months from the date you bought the boat. Otherwise, you will have to pay the fine. The fee depends on the number of months that you failed to register your boat.
- Renewal of boat registration is every 3 years.
- If your birthday is after January 1, 1984, then you have to obtain a boater certification card. Otherwise, you can’t operate a boat on the lakes of Missouri.
- You don’t need a boater certification card if you operate a boat on streams, rivers, or private waters.
- You can’t operate a boat if you’re below 14 years old.
- You must ensure that you don’t exceed the maximum load capacity of your boat.
- You must provide a personal flotation device for each passenger if your boat is longer than 16 feet.
- You must ensure that passengers who are below 7 years old are always wearing a flotation device.
- Make sure to turn on your navigation lights every time you’re operating a boat in the dark.
- The state requires a factory-installed muffler in your motorboat engine.
- Make sure to follow the speed limit of 30 mph when you’re in the dark and on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
- The state prohibits operating a boat while intoxicated.
See the below video for boat safety laws in Missouri. If followed, then you will reduce the risk of accidents and therefore keep insurance premiums low.
The list did not mention that you need to obtain boat insurance before you can operate a boat. But the list mentions the practice of safety measures in case of fortuitous events. Nobody wants boat accidents to happen but they can happen. And in the event that they do, you’ll most likely end up thanking yourself for getting boat insurance.
Conclusion – Is Boat Insurance Required in Missouri?
By now, you must already have a clearer idea if your boat needs insurance or not.
It’s true that you’re not required by the Missouri government to obtain boat insurance. It’s also true that once you have paid your boat in full, you may not renew your boat’s insurance anymore. But, for your own financial protection, I do recommend you get insurance.
Different types of boat accidents happen every year. These include:
- Accident due to intoxication of the boat operator
- Accident due to intense weather conditions
- Accident due to flooding / swamping
- Collision with an object
- Collision with another watercraft or vessel
- Falling overboard
- Skier mishap
If any of these happens, your boat insurance would save you from all the troubles of worrying about a lot of things. That way, you can focus on coordinating with the insurance company. You don’t have to worry about sourcing out funds to pay for the damages.
Getting boat insurance may be or may not be costly. It all depends on the following factors:
- The type of boat
- The frequency of boat usage
- Your track record as boat operator
- The deductible amount in your policy
- The cost of your liability coverage
- Your boat’s value
If you’re having a difficult time deciding if you should get boat insurance or not, consider this: You had the money to buy a boat. You also had the money to accessorize it. If you could do both, there’s no reason to say that getting boat insurance is costly.
If your boat forms part of your life, then you must protect it. In fact, getting boat insurance doesn’t only protect your boat. It also protects your finances. It protects you and your family.