Do You Need Insurance for a Jet Ski?

by Gabrielle DeSantis

One of the best parts of summer is having fun. It may be camping or taking family vacations. It could also be all about water sports. Especially those that involve a jet ski or other personal watercraft and boats. However, before you set out on your jet ski adventure this summer, you need to discover whether you need insurance on it or not.

What is a personal watercraft?

Jet ski | Getty Images

Personal watercraft or PWC is a small pleasure craft that uses an inboard jet drive to propel itself through the water. To use it, you sit, stand, or kneel on it rather than inside it as you would a boat.

Personal watercraft includes things like Jet Skis, WaveRunners, and Sea-Doos. They all have the same basic design and features. According to J.D. Power, there are different types of jet skis available. Some are designed for luxury, performance, or fun.

However, if you are looking for major differences, you may not find any. They have different names because one brand may be preferred over others. The Jet Ski is made by Kawasaki, while Yamaha manufactures a WaveRunner, and the Sea-Do is both the brand and the model name.

No matter which brand you choose, you should only use them if you can do so safely and by obeying the laws.

Is insurance something you need?

Many states do urge you to have insurance on your personal watercraft. Luckily, according to Investopedia, there are insurance policies that are designed to fit every budget. Some policies can cost as little as $85.00 per year or as much as a few hundred dollars per year. The difference is the amount of coverage you will receive.

Basic personal watercraft insurance policies are mostly designed to help you avoid repair costs if your jet ski is damaged by storms, accidents, fire, or other situations. A good PWC insurance will protect you with liability insurance. This will ensure that if you or someone else gets injured, you will not have the added expense of medical bills.

You are urged to seek quotes from several boat insurance companies for the best prices and the most coverage. If you have multiple jet skis, you will want to ensure that the insurance company you choose can bundle your insurance policies for a lower price per year. This will help you when other costs are going to be involved with your personal watercraft.

Other costs associated with owning a personal watercraft

Beyond the insurance cost, there are other costs associated with ownership of personal watercraft. According to Grove WaterSports, you could be dealing with the cost of your fuel, maintenance, and a trailer to carry your watercraft at the minimum.

To some extent, each of these costs will fluctuate based on how you use your jet ski, the amount of time you spend on it, and where you are using it most often. The exception is your trailer, which should be a one-time expense for most PWC owners. The trailer cost will depend mostly on the size you choose and how nice you want it to be. However, on average, the cost can range up to around $1,500.00.

The fuel will vary a lot based on whether you are a full-throttle rider or someone who wants the freedom that a jet ski provides. Your gas tank size will vary based on which brand you have chosen to use. Tank sizes range from as small as only 5-gallons to around 20-gallons. As gas prices go up and down and you use it more often, your estimated cost will increase or decrease.

Personal watercraft are mechanical vehicles. Therefore, they do require some maintenance. You will need to check their fluids, change the oil, keep good batteries onboard, and more. You may need to winterize your jet ski, which could add to the overall cost as well.

These costs will vary but should give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay annually if you choose to have a jet ski or similar watercraft.

Related: Personal Size Homemade Boats Are a Thing, and They Can Fit in Your Truck

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