Does Boat Insurance Cover Other Drivers?

  • Boat
  • /
  • Does Boat Insurance Cover Other Drivers?

It’s usually tempting to let someone else drive your boat when you’re out on the water – at least for a little while. It gives you a chance to relax temporarily. But, you should be aware of what could happen in the worst-case scenario: the person you let drive damages your boat. Your insurance may not help you out. Here’s what you need to know about boat insurance covering other drivers of your vessel.

Does Boat Insurance Cover Other Drivers?

Many boat insurance policies cover damage that someone else driving your boat causes as long as you permitted that person to drive your vessel. But, double-check your policy to be sure. Many companies are receptive to other drivers, but it’s possible to find carriers with specific exclusions against them.

Many insurance policies begin with a “definitions” section describing what the insurance company means when they use some common terms in the policy. Often, they’ll define who the insured party is in cases of financial loss. If your carrier defines the “Insured” in a boat insurance policy to be you, your family members, or anyone else driving your boat with consent or permission, other drivers are covered in your policy.

If other drivers are covered under your policy, they’re typically entitled to the same benefits you have. This means they should be covered up to your policy limits, just as if you were driving. If the other driver does cause an accident, you’ll still be responsible for paying your deductible, though.

The key is consent. A driver must have your permission to operate your vessel to be covered. Also, depending on boating laws in your state, they may need to have a boating license or take a required boating safety course before legally being allowed to drive a boat. If an unlicensed driver causes an accident with your boat, your insurance company may not cover it.

The main concern when someone else is driving your boat is liability. Liability insurance financially protects you by allowing your insurer to step in and pay for damages you may cause to others with your boat. For example, if you crash into someone’s yacht with your boat, injuring passengers onboard and denting the hull.

Liability insurance typically comes with coverage for bodily injury and property damage.

It could cover the damages you, or someone permitted to drive your boat, caused so you don’t have to pay out of pocket to fix the affected party’s watercraft or pay for their medical expenses. 

While on the topic of other drivers, you may want to ask your insurance company if your boat liability insurance follows you if you drive someone else’s boat. It’s possible, but it may not be outlined clearly in your policy, so double-check before taking charge of someone else’s boat.

When Boat Insurance Doesn’t Cover Other Drivers

Some boat insurance plans ask the policyholder to include named operators, or list anyone who may be driving the boat. If this is the case for you, and someone who you didn’t list causes an accident with your boat, you won’t be covered.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, typically, only pleasure use is covered under your boat insurance. Any commercial or charter activity is usually excluded, and this also can apply to drivers. A paid captain, crew member, or even marina, sales agency, or service worker driving your boat may not be covered. Check with your insurance company if this is something that concerns you.

If you regularly pay someone, or people pay you, to use your boat, you’ll need a type of commercial boat insurance. Many personal boat insurance policies contain a section regarding “No Benefit to Others” which may read like “No person or organization that has custody of your boat and is to be paid for services, directly or indirectly, will benefit from this insurance.”

Also, any illegal activity the person you let drive commits can nullify your boat insurance. Operating a boat with extreme negligence isn’t typically covered. Your insurance company may not cover you if you allow someone who has been convicted of a BUI to drive your watercraft, either.

Keep Your Vessel Afloat With Boat Insurance

Don’t get sunk by unexpected damages.Keep your vessel safe with a policy from one of the nation’s top carriers.

The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

Scroll back to Top