HomeBoat InsuranceHawaii residents rush to obtain newly required boat insurance

Hawaii residents rush to obtain newly required boat insurance

The state now requires a new level of coverage, but boaters say it’s impossible to get

The state of Hawaii has announced a new rule it wants boaters in the state to follow regarding their boat insurance coverage, but many people are saying that despite their best attempts, it’s not possible to comply.

Coverage is required in order to use any of the state’s harbors

However, the new regulation would have boaters purchasing $100,000 in boat insurance coverage for salvaging a vessel that has run aground. This is the case regardless of the worth of the vessel.  Boaters with vessels worth far less say that it’s not possible to obtain that amount of coverage.

Boat Insurance Cost - Boat run aground

Moreover, the majority of recreational boaters only just heard about the new regulation in April. It was at that time that the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation issued a letter to them, saying that they would not receive a renewal for their mooring permits unless they obtained coverage that included the minimum requirement for salvage and removal of a grounded vessel.

Boaters haven’t had much time to obtain their boat insurance

Many boaters were taken entirely off guard, having had no idea that the rule existed until they received their letter.

Boaters are reporting that their boat insurance companies are denying their applications for the increased coverage because their vessels aren’t worth $100,000.  With vessels worth a small fraction of that amount, insurers are refusing to provide coverage that could require them to pay out many times what the vessel is worth.

A rule in effect since 2019

Many boaters were even more surprised to discover that the regulation had not been newly implemented, but that it went into effect back in 2019.  The letters issued by the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation in Hawaii were sent out because the division had been facing a growing number of bills to salvage uninsured boats that had run aground.

“Recently, with all the rash of groundings, the vast majority of times the insurance company said they would not cover it,” said Ed Underwood, Administrator at the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

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