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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: boat insurance

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image of yacht out to seaWhenever you hit the water in your boat, you want it to function optimally. No one wants to be caught off guard by unexpected system failures or safety complications. Before you start an excursion, take the time to inspect your boat’s operational safety. Doing so could prevent a problem while you enjoy the water.

If you neglect the safety of your boat or passengers, this could lead to an accident where you are responsible for the damage. Your boat insurance company could deny your claim because you didn’t properly mitigate risks that threatened your safety.

Therefore, take the time before you start excursion to perform safety checks around your vessel. Safety checks involve inspecting multiple systems, as well as your passengers’ security.

  • Before starting the boat, check your engine and gas system. You should always perform regular maintenance on your engine to keep it safely operational. When preparing for an excursion, check around the system for signs of corrosion, contamination or leaks. Any of these problems could cause problems while you boat. Always follow a strict startup procedure when starting the engine.
  • Test your boat’s compass or GPS system. Should your boat’s navigation systems fail, you could sail into unfamiliar territory. Sailing in an unfamiliar area could cause you to get lost, collide with another boat, or crash into an underwater obstacle. This could cause problems for your boat and your insurance liabilities.
  • While still on the dock, test and tune your radio. Your radio serves as a valuable point of contact between you and emergency services, other boaters, and port authorities. Maintain a radio connection to required or recommended stations during the duration of your excursion.
  • Whether you travel during the day or night, always test your lights. Most boats come with a form of lighting apparatus. Other operators may have to buy a lighting attachment for  the boat. Boating laws often require certain operators or vessels to use lights under all conditions. If you see any signs that a light might fail, repair the problem before you leave the dock.
  • Most boats come equipped with horns or whistles to help them make others aware of their location and actions on the water. Some smaller crafts may not include horns, so some boaters use a variety of other signals to notify others of their actions. If you have horns, test them before leaving.
  • Many boaters use common maritime flag signals while on the water. Before leaving on an excursion, check to make sure you have flags that could assist you on the excursion.

Also never forget to check your passenger safety equipment and life preservers before you hit the water. With the right care, you can protect your boat and your passengers.

We’ve got you covered. Insurance Planning Service can help you get a Michigan boat insurance policy that protects you from specific maritime risks. Call us at (800) 220-5582 for a fast, free quote right now.

Posted 4:17 PM

image of family boatingBoat insurance provides financial protection to property owners for a number of risks. Among those risks is protection for the contents on your boat, including your navigational system and other equipment. As you take the time to consider what type of boat insurance you need, zero in on your computer equipment and other high-value belongings. Having the right level and amount of coverage on these items can make the difference in how well protected your boat is.

Determine What Insurance You Have

The first step is to determine what high-end items you have on board that may need extra protection. Most boat insurance policies offer a contents level of coverage with a specific dollar value. Once that dollar value is reached, your belongings, including computer equipment, isn’t covered beyond that limit. If your boat has this type of equipment, the policy you select needs to offer enough financial protection to safeguard these valuables.

How to Determine Worth

A good step to take is to look toward replacement cost. If you own high-end equipment, such as GPS systems or computers for special projects or even work-related tasks on board, how much would it cost to replace those items today? Having replacement cost coverage on your boat insurance for these valuables could be the ideal way to reduce the risks you face outright. On the other hand, if your policy just has actual value coverage, it will only pay the value of those belongings at the time of your loss, which includes depreciated values. With computer equipment, this could become a problem quickly since value tends to fall rather fast.

Once you know what it costs to replace these items on board, you can then ensure your boat insurance plan offers plenty of financial protection to protect those items. If not, it may be time to choose a new policy. The contents coverage on your policy may need an additional rider or specific, high-end valuables mentioned by name to provide financial protection. Work closely with your insurance agent or get into a new policy that offers the level and amount of financial protection you need for these high end valuables.

Are you fully covered? Call Insurance Planning Service at (800) 220-5582 for more information on Michigan boat insurance.

Posted 7:17 PM

white boat on waterIf you’re a boat owner, you may or may not know how important it is to have boat insurance. Many people aren’t fond of the idea of another expense, but this coverage can be well worth it.

Why Do You Need Boat Insurance?

If you own a home that’s protected with home insurance, your boat may only have minimal coverage (if any at all). The best way to protect your vessel is with a boat insurance policy. It’s a policy that acts as a combination of both home and auto insurance, designed to protect a watercraft and its accessories. It covers you for liability if someone is injured, along with property damage. Now that you know what it does, knowing how to save money on boat insurance helps you get the most bang for your buck.

Tips for Saving on Boat Insurance

There are a few things you can do to better your chances of saving on your boat insurance policy:

  •  Get the correct classification: There are numerous types of boats and designations. It’s important to work with an independent insurance agent to make sure yours is classified correctly so you don’t pay for extra coverage, or to avoid not having enough coverage. Your premium should be based on the size, purpose and capabilities of the vessel.
  • Seek discounts: The off-season is a perfect time to look for discounts. If you live in an area where you don’t use your boat during certain times of the year, you may qualify for something called a “lay-up” period, during which your premiums are reduced.
  • Take a class: Insurance providers appreciate when their customers are proactive and take boating safety classes. There are a number of places that offer classes, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, that can give you extra discounts to reward your dedication to safety practices.
  • Enhance your boat: Having a number of safety features on your boat can get you tremendous discounts with your insurer. Extra features that can assist in ensuring the safety of your passengers and boat can go a long way toward better premiums.
  • Use the same insurer: Using the same insurer as your auto policy can also provide a discounted rate, especially if you are designated as a safe driver.

These are just a few ways you can reduce your boat insurance premiums and exercise safety on the water. Work with your agent to get the best rates that will meet your budget and your needs.

How much can you save? Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan boat insurance.

You saved for a few years and now have the boat of your dreams. You need to protect that dream. Just as we purchase car and home insurance, we need to think about boat insurance. But, how do you best protect your boat?

First, talk with your independent insurance agent. You might be able to add your boat onto your homeowner's insurance policy. When you are having this conversation, take the time to be sure they understand boats and the value of boats.

Second, decide if you want agreed value or actual cash value. Agreed value costs more, but it will cover the stated value of the policy if there is a total loss of your boat. Agreed value will also cover partial losses where you receive new parts with little to no depreciation taken into account. Actual cash value will cost you less in premiums because the payout takes depreciation into account and you will only be reimbursed for the boat’s current book value.

Third, if you chose an agreed value policy, be aware of the salvage coverage. If your boat sinks, you want to have it salvaged, and then repaired. Ask the insurance agent questions about the scenario of sinking and ensure you are adequately covered.

Fourth, think about how you use the boat. Will you need hurricane haul-out assistance, fuel spill coverage or coverage on a trip? All of these are questions to talk about when purchasing your boat insurance.

Understanding boat insurance can be easy following these four steps to protect your dream. Make the smart choice and check it out today.

Get the coverage you need. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan boat insurance.

Posted 12:05 PM

At the mention of umbrellas, you likely think of protection from falling water drops. As your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent, INSURANCE PLANNING SERVICE would like to remind you the proper “insurance umbrella” could also protect you from a “rain” of lawsuits. Personal liability claims against homeowners and drivers are increasing in frequency and severity. The question is simple: Are your current limits of liability on your homeowners, boat, and personal auto policies adequate?
And accidentally injuring a single person who then receives a major jury award is not your only risk. Whether an accident occurs on the road, at a home party, or during an outing on the boat, it can result in injuries to multiple people, creating multiple threats of lawsuit or risks of property damage. For example, a personal auto policy liability limit for damage to property of others in an amount of $50,000 may seem adequate if you strike a single vehicle, but what if you are found liable for a multi-car pileup? Suddenly that $50,000 may seem more like a down payment than total protection.
Far too many people are still relying on outdated liability protection limits. Food, gasoline and medical care aren’t the only items that cost more today than yesterday. In 2009 alone, according to the National Law Journal, premises liability awards increased 16.4%, and motor vehicle awards jumped almost 40%.
One solution is to raise your current policy limits as high as possible for your auto, home, apartment, or boat. But another option is a personal excess liability policy or personal “umbrella.”
Personal umbrella policies are cost-effective methods of significantly increasing limits of personal liability. Be careful, when considering this option, that you understand the difference between a true personal umbrella and the often less-expensive alternative known as an “excess liability policy.” If the excess policy is less expensive, it is often because such policies are designed simply to provide higher limits exclusively to a limited number of exposures, such as auto. It is far preferable to consider a personal umbrella, which is designed with broader coverages that extend protection over all of your personal exposures, often even beyond your auto, watercraft, and homeowners coverage. Since personal umbrella coverage can vary in both breadth of coverage, pricing and availability for your personal exposures, Your Trusted Choice® agent always stands ready to offer advice and a comprehensive review of your current insurance coverages and needs.
Schedule a review today. Call us at 800-220-5582 or contact us via the web to learn how a personal umbrella liability policy could become a key to your overall insurance program. Because when it comes to umbrellas, it’s better for you to get caught in the rain than to find your vital financial protection is “all wet.”


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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake