Florida law does not require that boat owners and operators obtain insurance for their boat. However, having that insurance can benefit you in a number of circumstances, particularly if another boater does not have insurance and causes an accident that damages your property or injures you.
While there is no boat insurance requirement in Florida, you generally must obtain title and register your boat with the state. This process is fairly straightforward, but mistakes or delays in the process can cause consequences that you do not want to deal with.
If you were recently involved in a boat accident and have questions about the various insurance policies in place, you can benefit from a free initial case evaluation when you call the Miami boating accident attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. Our office line is available to you right now at (305) 204-5369.
Do You Have to Have Boat Insurance in Miami, Florida?
The State of Florida does not have a minimum boat insurance requirement. This means that you are not legally required to purchase boat insurance to operate a vessel, whether you own the boat or rent it.
However, many private entities will require the owner of the boat to purchase insurance to enter into certain agreements. For instance, if you use a marina to dock or store your boat, the marina operator may require you to obtain insurance to cover damages caused to other vessels docked in the marina. If you use your boat as collateral for a loan, the creditor may require that you purchase insurance to protect against damages to your boat.
Our Jacksonville boat accident attorneys always recommend that our clients purchase insurance for their vessel, as it can be critical for both your personal and economic well-being if an accident were to happen. On the open waters, boat operators and passengers are reliant on the reasonable behavior of others. Even if you are a safe and consistent operator, you should not put the same faith in others.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover in Miami, Florida?
When you purchase boat insurance coverage in Miami, you will likely have to choose between a “named perils” policy and an “all perils” policy. All perils insurance provides comprehensive coverage for any sort of damage and any type of cause. For instance, if your boat suffers damage in a hurricane or other natural weather event, an all perils policy will cover the losses. However, you may have to provide evidence of steps you take to mitigate damages to your vessel to obtain this type of insurance.
Boat insurance policies in Miami can provide compensation for damage to the vessel, whether the incident that caused the damage occurred on the water or on land. They also provide compensation for your own or your passengers’ medical bills if you or they are injured in an accident on board the boat. Critically, these policies also often provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident that injures someone else or damages their personal property.
These policies may also cover the cost of emergency services like towing if your boat becomes inoperable or unseaworthy on the water. This may seem like a minor factor, but these costs can be steep, especially if you are also facing the cost of repairing whatever caused the vessel to become inoperable.
What Happens if You Get into a Boating Accident without Insurance in Miami, Florida?
If you are injured in a boat accident caused by another boat’s operator negligence, you would typically recover the compensation that you are owed for damages and injury from the other operator’s insurance provider. However, since insurance is not a state requirement for boaters in Florida, there is the potential that the at-fault party does not have the coverage that you need, and is unable to pay for the consequences of their negligence.
This does not mean that you are out of options. Some boat insurance policies will also provide uninsured boater’s insurance. This coverage kicks in when your damages are caused by an uninsured boater. Some uninsured boater’s policies provide for both damages to your property (namely, your boat) and the costs associated with your medical treatment for injuries. In any case, uninsured boater’s insurance can be critical to have to prevent you from being unable to recover the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you are considering which insurance policy would be best for you, or if you were recently in an accident with an uninsured boater and are not sure whether your own policy will cover the damages through an uninsured boater’s provision, a Tampa boat accident lawyer will be able to help.
What Do You Need to Operate a Boat in Miami, Florida?
While you do not need insurance for your vessel to legally operate in Florida waters, you will need to satisfy certain other requirements.
To operate any boat with more than 10 horsepower, you will likely need to complete a state-approved boating safety course, for which you will receive a boating education ID. This is not the same as a boater’s license. You do not need a traditional boater’s license to operate your own vessel in Florida waters. However, if you are leasing or borrowing a boat from someone else, they will typically require you to have your license, as a boat owner’s lending of their vessel to a reckless individual could create liability for the owner.
You will also need have your vessel titled and registered with the state. You must apply for title within 30 days of purchasing the boat. To do so, you must complete an application and be able to show proof of ownership. The only exceptions to this rule are vessels under 16 feet in length that have no motor, or boats that are exclusively to be used in privately owned waters, such as lakes and ponds.
Once you have title, you can apply for registration. The process for registration is similar to the title application process, with additional fees attached depending on the county where you are registering and the length of the boat. You can work through a lawyer on this process if you have any questions, as penalties for failing to meet the state’s title and registration requirements can be costly.
Talk to Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. About Your Boating Requirement Questions
To get a free initial case assessment from our dedicated Pensacola boat accident lawyers, call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind at (305) 204-5369 today.