Personal Watercraft Insurance: What You Need to Know

Whenever you and your family look to have some fun on the water, you should prepare to not only have a good time but also to be safe. Part of that preparation should be to ensure you have appropriate insurance for whatever toy you will be using out on the water, including your personal watercraft. Depending on the state where you use your personal watercraft, liability insurance may be legally required.

What is Considered a Personal Watercraft?

A Personal Watercraft (PWC) is, generally speaking, a small recreational watercraft that is usually powered primarily by a water jet pump with the operator standing, kneeling or sitting on top of the watercraft (as opposed to sitting or standing inside the watercraft, such as with a boat).  PWC are often referred to by the brand name that produced them. For instance, the names Jet Ski, WaveRunner, and Sea-Doo are regularly used interchangeably with personal watercraft, even though these are names of models produced by various companies. Boating machines, including PWC, are generally classified into four main groups, all based on their length in feet from bow to stern, not including the engine components.

Class A: 16 feet or less

Class 1: 16-26 feet

Class 2: 26-40 feet

Class 3: 40 feet and over

With the average personal watercraft having the length of nearly 11 feet, the normal personal watercraft owner can usually expect their machine to be classified under Class A.

Personal Watercraft: What is and isn’t Covered

Typically, personal watercraft policies will cover a few basic areas, these being bodily injury, property damage, and medical payments. Policies also tend to include liability coverage. Liability can help provide financial assistance in the event you are found liable in an accident if the accident is deemed coverable. Some examples of situations that may potentially be covered, depending on the coverages you select, are:

  • Damage is inflicted to another individual’s PWC, boat, dock, or personal belongings due to the negligent use of your PWC

  • Injury or death to another individual due to your negligence while operation of your machine
  • Negligence of someone driving your PWC
  • Select damage to your watercraft
  • Injury to you while operating your PWC
  • Injury to you caused by an uninsured watercraft operator
  • Injury to individuals towed behind your watercraft

What isn’t included in a PWC policy? To understand your policy and exactly what is and isn’t covered, you should carefully read your entire policy. Your agent may also be able to help answer certain questions that you may have.  The following are a few examples of what may not be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • A watercraft that has been upgraded or modified to increase speed and performance
  • Operating your PWC during unauthorized times, such as after dark and before sunrise
  • Losses that occur as the result of racing your PWC

Coverage Areas to Check

When talking to your agent, you might want to inquire about specific areas of your policy. The following are some coverage options you may want to ask about.

  • Will your policy cover the replacement cost of personal items that are lost or damaged while using your PWC?
  • Will your policy replace the actual cash value of your PWC if it is damaged while using it?
  • Does your policy include roadside assistance for either your towing vehicle or trailer if they are damaged?
  • Does your policy include towing assistance if you break down on the water?

Personal Watercraft Insurance Quotes

Your jet ski is not just a machine that you spend hours riding, but also memories and time spent with family and friends. Your personal watercraft may also be an investment that you want to protect and care for. One way to do this is by comparing numerous insurance quotes to see what ways you can potentially save. While many websites may show an average price for an insurance company, what you may actually end up paying could be drastically different. Requesting a custom quote for your personal watercraft insurance is a great place to start when it comes to comparing coverages and saving. Contact your local Cross Insurance to connect with one of our agents to start the process today.

How Much is Insurance for Personal Watercrafts?

Similar to other motorized vehicles, like car, motorcycle, ATV, RV, and snowmobile policies, personal watercraft insurance pricing may vary depending on a variety of factors. To help prepare you for getting your PWC insurance quote, here are some elements that may affect your rate.

  • The make and model of your personal watercraft is an important part of how much you will pay. A newer and typically faster model will typically affect your policy more than an older machine.
  • Where will you ride your PWC? The state that you live in, as well as the state or states that you ride in, may affect your quote as different laws and regulations that riders must follow change. Also, where will you be located while using your machine, for example will you be using your PWC on the coast or inland? This will be taken into consideration.
  • The age of the driver will also affect your quote. Just as with regular car insurance, the younger the driver the more expensive the quote may be.
  • Are you riding alone or with a friend? Having passengers accompany you on rides will either increase or decrease the liability at hand.
  • Professionally installing safety equipment to your watercraft such as a “kill” cord, GPS, depth finder, radar technology, etc., and wearing the suggested safety gear like a life jacket and goggles can potentially help you save.
  • What is the top speed of your PWC? Some insurers will refuse to insure a vessel that may be deemed “too fast,” while some may give a discount to those that’s top speed is in a certain range.

Does My Homeowners Policy Cover My PWC?

Relying solely on your homeowners insurance to help protect you and your watercraft may potentially leave you with less coverage than you might have with a dedicated PWC policy.  A homeowners policy  usually only provides limited coverage for your personal watercraft. A PWC policy specifically for your watercraft is typically the favorable option, as this usually provides broader coverage and can sometimes be more tailored to meet your needs. Below is what homeowners insurance can potentially help insure in certain situations.

Fire: Depending on the circumstances, if your watercraft catches fire your homeowners insurance could potentially cover some of the repair or replacement costs.

Natural Events: Also known as an “Act of God,” damage to your PWC caused by events such as hurricanes, hail, wind, and other covered weather events may potentially qualify for coverage under your homeowners insurance.

Theft & Vandalism: If your watercraft is stolen from your home or vandalized during a break in, this could potentially qualify for coverage under your homeowners insurance.

Falling Objects: In the event something falls in your basement, garage, or wherever you store your personal watercraft, and it causes damage to your PWC, homeowners insurance may help cover some of the expenses to fix it.



This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Cross Insurance shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, insurance, accounting or other professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article are that of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of Cross Financial Corp. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Cross Insurance”) or Cross Insurance’s management or shareholders.


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