Jet Ski’s and Your Homeowner’s Coverage

When you head to the waterways in search of fun on a jet ski, you may discover you have an insurance problem. You may find that you have limited coverage for a jet ski under your homeowner’s policy. Face it, the last thing on your mind when you are about to hop on that watercraft is, “is my homeowners policy going to protect me?” Since a jet ski is an inboard watercraft, and since so many folks will purchase, rent, or borrow them, you need to see what coverage is provided by your homeowner’s policy. Unfortunately your answer is somewhere between “none” and “not much.”

Let’s see what covered

Predominately, your homeowner’s policy provides $1,500 for watercraft. The typical Homeowner’s (HO-3) policy provides coverage for 16 named perils. Specific limitations are; no theft away from the residence premises and no coverage for windstorm damage unless the watercraft is inside a fully enclosed structure. With the typical jet ski costing in excess of $5,000 the coverage gap is obvious.

Section II (liability or medical payments) of the policy provides no coverage at all for an owned jet ski. This means that as soon as the dealer gives the keys for the jet ski to the customer, there is no coverage for liability or medical payments under the homeowner’s policy. Watercraft liability for an owned inboard watercraft is excluded. Always consult with your insurance agent before you decide to purchase a jet ski.

What about a rented jet ski?Your homeowner’s policy responds for a rented jet ski as if it were owned by you and as outlined above. The homeowner’s policy covers: “…personal property owned or used by an insured while it is anywhere in the world.”

Section II of your homeowner’s policy is most likely not going to respond for claims arising when you rent a jet ski. For inboard or inboard/outdrive watercraft (such as the jet ski) Section II coverage is provided only for such watercraft of 50 horsepower and under. If you research jet ski manufacturers, it will reveal that the smallest jet ski they manufacture is about 70 horsepower. Considering the number of folks who rent a jet ski this is perhaps one of the most significant gaps found in your homeowner’s policy. Once again: “If you rent a jet ski you do not have any liability or medical payments coverage under your homeowner’s policy.” There is no endorsement to remedy this gap in coverage since the watercraft liability endorsement (HO 24 75) provides coverage only for a watercraft shown on the schedule.

Let’s see what there is for your borrowed Jet Ski…

Your homeowner’s policy responds for a borrowed jet ski again as if it were owned by you. The homeowner policy covers “…personal property owned or used by an insured while it is anywhere in the world.”

Section II of your homeowner’s policy does provide liability and medical payments coverage for you as well as family members. In fact, the insured and family members have Section II coverage for any borrowed watercraft, even a U.S. Navy submarine!

With jet ski type watercraft making up about 10% of the watercraft population but accounting for nearly 55% of watercraft injuries you need to be concerned about this coverage gap. Your homeowner’s policy provides, at best, limited coverage for a jet ski. We suggest you consult your agent because there are obvious coverage gaps in your homeowner’s policy, and they may be able to provide you with better coverage specifically designed for your jet ski.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

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