Summertime Boating & Swimming Safety

Boat InsuranceWith summer in full swing, it’s time once again to take that trip to the cabin, get the dock out and put the boats back on the water.  At this time of year in Minnesota so many people look forward to spending a day on the boat fishing, going for a swim, water skiing, or just riding around on the lake on a nice sunny day.  With so many boats on the water, safety is the main concern regardless of the water sport.   Unfortunately accidents on the water happen more frequently than we realize.  In 2014 alone there were about 50 reported accidents involving boats which included capsizing, collisions with other water crafts, water skiing/boarding accidents, and sinking.  Some of these accidents were considered to be an estimated $2,000 in property damage with injuries, and 14 of those reported resulted in fatalities.

Many people with lakeshore property will usually insure their property with general liability insurance.  Keep in mind that a general liability for a lakefront property will not cover damages due to injuries or other lawsuits arising from boat use, or other water craft.  Since lake shore properties are always at risk for accidents due to drowning, injuries from diving off docks in shallow water, and other injuries that tend to happen while on the water, separate coverage is necessary.

Although insurance is not required for some boats/docks in Minnesota, it is a good idea to remember that they can be expensive to repair or replace, and damages relating to personal injury from an accident can skyrocket.  The policies vary depending on what coverages you are looking for.  Some policies will cover personal property on the boat if it should capsize.  Others will cover the cost of injury, lost items, motor repair, and repairs to any permanently attached items in the boat.  Some additional coverage typically includes physical damage, uninsured bodily injury, fuel spill/wreckage removal, personal items, emergency assistance, etc.  There are many insurance riders to consider so check with your agent to find out your options for coverages relating to docks, swim rafts, other watercraft.  Regardless of the type of insurance you choose, remember to always be safe on the water.

Safety precautions include avoiding accidents involving other boaters/swimmers, preventing damage to your property, and common courtesy in and around the lake.

To avoid accidents involving other boaters/swimmers:

  • Wear Life Jacket (the law requires children under the age of 10 to wear a life jacket)
  • Always pay attention to your surroundings as you would driving on the road
  • Pay attention to other boaters, use caution near beaches and boat launches
  • Never leave your boat unattended when not attached to your dock

Tips to Prevent loss:

  • Secure boat to dock
  • When not in use, secure motor, remove items that can be easily blown out of the boat (poles, personal items, keys, etc.)
  • Do not go over the occupancy capacity limit of the boat
  • Be sure to have oars in case of a stalled motor
  • Make sure your dock meets regulations and is not a hazard
  • Always be cautious in shallow water – watch for rocks and debris

Tips for Common Courtesy:

  • Use caution near cabins along the shoreline they usually have a swimming area near the dock
  • When boating passed docks, slow the speed of the boat, use caution
  • Be attentive to others who may be in the water or on the docks.
  • Respect signs posted for wake zones, and shallow water.
  • Maintain control of your boat in inclement weather

When considering the length of time you spend on the lake during the summer and the number of accidents that occur each year on the water, insurance gives you peace of mind to know that you are covered in the event of a loss.

Contact Insurance Advisors for free Minnesota Boat Insurance quotes

Boat Insurance: Types of Policies

There are two different types of policies for covering your boat.

Actual Cash Value

Outboard motor boat in the water.This type of policy pays for the cost to replace the boat minus depreciation at the time of the loss.  Pricing guides for used boats and other resources are used to determine the boat’s approximate market value.

Agreed Amount Value 

Pays you the amount you and your agent agreed upon when the policy was written. In case of a loss, that is the amount that will be paid to you. Agreed amount policies will also replace old items for new ones in case of a partial loss, without any reduction for depreciation.

Boat insurance typically covers repairs to your boat if it is accidentally damaged or destroyed by a collision, fire, theft, vandalism, windstorm or lightning. This coverage is for the boat, its machinery, fittings, outboard motors, auxiliary equipment, permanent attached equipment and personal property. You can get coverage add-ons that cover things like an expensive prop or accessories, towing from across the lake to safety. Salvage coverage will pay to remove your damaged boat.

Boat insurance also provides coverage for Personal Liability up to $500,000 for bodily injury or damage to property or others. Uninsured boater provides coverage for bodily injury caused by an uninsured motorist. Medical payments for medical care following an accident, regardless of who’s at fault.

Personal Property Coverage protects personal property on the boat including items such as your clothing, stereo system, cameras, fishing equipment and other personal items.

Listed below are a just a few discounts that you may be eligible for, check with your insurance agent on what is offered through your specific policy:

  • Diesel powered boats
  • Coast Guard approved extinguishers on board
  • Ship to shore radios
  • Claims free
  • Multiple policy discounts for same insurer (i.e.: auto, home or umbrella policy)
  • Completion of a Safe boating course

Personal watercraft such as Jet skis and Wave runners require separate boat insurance.

Enjoy the open waters with confidence – contact us for a free, no obligation quote

By: Insurance Advisors, Inc.
Sources: Insurance Information Institute

Umbrella Insurance: What is it?

Do you need one?

Insurance Advisors| Umbrella Insurance

People buy insurance policies to protect themselves and their families from unexpected events that could end up costing them a significant amount of money. Homeowner and auto insurance are two types of insurance policies that help to reduce the risk of financial liability. However, what many people do not realize is that most insurance policies do not cover the entire financial risk. This creates a coverage gap.


An umbrella insurance policy covers liability that go beyond the limits of your homeowners, auto, renters, watercraft or motorcycle and/or other personal policies.


Your homeowners, auto, and other personal insurance policies have limits; a maximum they will pay on a single incident. If you are sued or a claim is settled against you for more than the maximum the insurance company allows, you are personally responsible for the rest.


An umbrella policy is only used if you exceed the liability limits of coverage under your other personal insurance policies, so the premiums are usually very affordable.


An  umbrella policy helps protect your assets from being seized or attached in the event you are held liable for paying a claim or lawsuit that it exceeds the limits of your other insurance policies; a policy like this can also prevent a judgment against you that can eventually lead to a lien on your house or business.


Umbrella insurance policies typically offer coverage limits starting at $1 million; some police limits can be up to $5 million. You can enlist the advice of your insurance agent to help you decide if an umbrella policy would be appropriate for your financial situation.

Download our free claims process tip sheet!

Click here for our free claims process tip sheet.

Sources: New York Times, Smart Money

Lightning Risk Reduction

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Lightning Safety

There is little you can do to substantially reduce your risk if you are outside in a thunderstorm. The only completely safe action is to get inside a safe building or vehicle. You are not safe anywhere outside.

Run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark threatening clouds developing overhead. Stay inside after you hear the last clap of thunder. Do NOT seek shelter under trees. If you are camping, go to your vehicle! A tent or picnic shelter are NOT safe places.

Plan Ahead!

Listen to your weather station on your radio or check your cell phone for weather forecasts.  Always have a emergency lightning safety  plan in place especially if you are with a group so you can have extra time to get everyone to a safe place.

If you are stuck outside, avoid water. Seek clumps of shrubs or trees of uniform height. Seek ditches, trenches or the low ground. Seek a low, crouching position with feet together with hands on ears to minimize acoustic shock from thunder.

On the Water

The vast majority of lightning injuries and deaths on boats occur on small boats with NO cabin. It is crucial to listen to weather information when you are boating. If you are out and cannot get back to land and safety, drop anchor and get as low as possible. Large boats with cabins, especially those with lightning protection systems properly installed, or metal marine vessels are relatively safe. Remember to stay inside the cabin and away from any metal surfaces. Stay off the radio unless it is an emergency!

Stopping Activities

In general, a significant lightning threat extends outward from the base of a thunderstorm cloud about 6 to 10 miles.  Thunder can usually be heard at a distance of about 10 miles away depending on background noise. Traffic, wind, and precipitation may limit the ability to hear thunder at that distance. Stop your outdoor activities and go inside a building away from windows and doors and anything that conducts electricity such as corded phones, wiring, plumbing, and anything connected to these.  Above all else, don’t kid yourself – you are NOT safe outside.

Boat Insurance: What You Should Know

What You Need To Know About Bout Insurance.Boat Insurance

If you have a boat of any kind, it pays to learn about boat insurance. Also known as watercraft insurance, boat insurance will protect you, your boat and others in the case of a loss. While not mandatory, it is highly recommended for all boat and personal watercraft owners.

The Basics

Boat insurance is very similar to car insurance. Many of the same options and choices you have for your auto insurance policy will be presented to you for your boat insurance. The most important of these is liability coverage.  Liability insurance is extremely important to carry,  because if another person is injured or killed due to an at-fault accident with your boat, or another’s personal property is damaged, you can suffer huge financial losses.

Collision and comprehensive coverage will protect your investment in your boat. They will cover the cost to repair or replace your boat, motor, trailer and any equipment that is permanently attached to your boat in case of loss. Collision coverage is in case your boat collides with another boat or property and you are at fault. Comprehensive coverage is for other types of loss, such as storm damage, theft, fire or vandalism. Claims of these types are subject to a deductible that you choose when you take out your policy.

The Not-So-Basics

The amount that you can receive from a collision or comprehensive claim is based on the type of policy you choose. An actual cash value policy is based on the replacement cost of your boat minus any depreciation up to the date of loss. Claims are paid out for this amount minus the deductible. Agreed amount value is the other type of policy that does not factor in depreciation. Premiums are set based on an amount agreed to by the insurer and the insured, as to how much the boat is worth.

Boat insurance varies in price not only from company to company, but also from insured to insured. As with other types of insurance, the premium you pay depends on the rate set by the insurer. The rate is determined by underwriters who look at a variety of factors to determine exactly how much risk they are assuming by offering you boat insurance.

The boat itself is one of the major variables considered by an insurer when setting rates. The insurer will need to know the length of the boat, the horsepower of the motor and the year, make and model of both boat and motor.

Information about the boat owner will also make a difference in your boat insurance premium. You will need to give information about your driving record. If it is less than perfect, expect to pay more for boat insurance. Your claims history will also impact the rate.  If you have made multiple claims in recent years on any type of insurance, your rate will be higher. If you have a poor credit history, you will be deemed higher risk and charged accordingly, as research has shown that those with poor credit scores are more likely to make insurance claims.