Personal Watercraft Insurance 101: Everything You Need to Know About Safeguarding Your PWC

June 1, 2022

There is nothing like a cool sea spray on a hot summer day while you are cutting through waves on your favorite jet ski. It’s at times like this when you immerse yourself in a relaxing atmosphere of gliding across the water. And it makes you turn a blind eye to all the related threats.

What does it take to protect your freedom? Not to kill the vibe, but insuring a watercraft is something every jet ski and Sea-Doo owner should consider. Depending on the state, safeguarding your PWC might not be mandatory. But it can help you offset the potential loss, damage, or unexpected expenses.

Understanding your options and picking the right coverage is essential to stay safe on the water. So here is what you need to know about safeguarding your PWC before your next ride.

Why Is Riding Protected Important?

Regardless of the type of recreational PWC you own — jet ski, WaveRunner, or Sea-Doo — personal watercraft insurance can come in handy.

In 2020, more than 80,000 PWCs were sold in the U.S. alone. The sales keep on surging, and it can only mean one thing — protection is vital, especially during the summer season. Why is that?

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau report, 4,240 watercraft units were stolen around the country in 2019. This number might not seem surprising, except that most of the stolen watercraft were PWCs.

Unfortunately, the recovery rate does not look encouraging either. Of all personal watercraft reported stolen in 2019, only 33% were recovered. That is why insuring your PWC can help you deal with multiple threats and issues, including storm damage, accidents, and fires.

Selecting a suitable Sea-Doo insurance can be complicated. With that in mind, we bring you the essential information on PWC policy limits, costs, and general requirements to help you narrow down the choices.

What Does Jet Ski Insurance Cover?

Like auto or marine insurance, recreational watercraft policies can safeguard owners and their passengers if an accident takes place. Watercraft owners can also customize their protection. For instance, they can choose numerous add-ons that can help them deal with liabilities like medical bills.

Naturally, getting liability coverage might seem unreasonable at this point. The thing is, you might consider yourself a careful driver. But there is always a threat of someone else being careless. In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,168 accidents resulting in 613 deaths, 2,559 serious injuries, and more than $50 million in physical damage.

Here are the situations you can expect to be protected from when you take out jet ski insurance:

  • Bodily harm or another person’s death as a result of your negligence
  • Material damage to another vessel or PWC
  • Wakeboarders or skiers suffering injuries while being pulled by your craft
  • On-water damage to your PWC inflicted by an uninsured or underinsured person
  • On-water assistance in case of a breakdown

When it comes to customization opportunities, owners can tailor their protection to meet even the most demanding needs. Since it is not limited to injury-related expenses, you can choose to safeguard your expensive clothes, gadgets, or even sunglasses. If you are a traveler, you can also add extensive navigation, allowing you to forget about the limits and explore distant waters.

Naturally, every policy and every add-on comes with a cost. So, here is what you should expect money-wise.

How Much Is PWC Insurance?

The jet ski or WaveRunner insurance cost generally starts at $100 a year. But bear in mind that this price is only valid for the cheapest PWC insurance offers. If personalized, the cost can vary and reach $500 per year.

The rates and final price are formed by numerous variables that include:

  • Name of the model
  • Year of manufacture
  • Top speed and power of an engine
  • Type of motor
  • PWC’s market price
  • Type of policy and amount of selected add-ons
  • Storage facility
  • How you plan to use it (commercial, recreational, etc.)
  • Applicant’s claim, credit, and driving history

Naturally, you will have to pay more if you decide to raise the limits or add supplementary coverage. As an example, getting an add-on offering coverage of medical bills implies different limits. Some may even reach $25,000.

What does it mean for you as a holder of the policy? Well, it can guarantee your safety, the safety of your relatives and your friends if they get injured on your craft.

Since the limits are an essential part of any policy, you need to be aware of the set limits and understand them. If you find yourself questioning how they work, get in touch with the insurance company or your agent right away to clarify.

Is Jet Ski Insurance Required?

We cannot stress enough how critical it is to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your property safe. That is why it is always a good idea to ensure sufficient protection.

When it comes to PWC-related requirements, most U.S. states do not categorize this type of protection as a mandatory standard. However, you might be obliged to have specific liability coverage according to the state law, or your bank might instruct you to have coverage if you lease your craft.


Do I have to insure my jet ski?

In most states, you are not legally obliged to have insurance for the jet ski or any PWC, for that matter. However, it might be a good idea to consider purchasing it.

How much does it cost to insure a PWC?

Every carrier offers different rates. The cost is formed by numerous variables like year of manufacture, modifications, model name, the current condition of your craft, and much more.

The cost can also be influenced by the type of policy and add-ons you want to buy. It means that you can expect to pay from $100 to around $500 per year.

Is the PWC insurance worth investing in?

It is all about damage control. There are obvious advantages to it, like dealing with excessive bills or losses. And while it requires holders to meet their monthly premiums, it is the only practical means of keeping your PWC, passengers, and yourself safe and sound.

At the end of the day, you need to weigh the potential expenses and losses against the market cost of your craft and reach a final decision.

Can I include several PWCs in one policy?

Naturally, it is sensible to safeguard each craft. But the good news is that you might not have to purchase an individual policy for each PWC. We recommend contacting your agent and double-checking if it is possible.

How do I find the cheapest PWC insurance?

Requesting the current rates and free quotes is relatively easy. In a nutshell, you need to search for free PWC insurance quotes online. Yes, it is that simple.

Some websites only require entering your zip code. Once you’ve done it, you get the quote right away.

Victoria Berezhetska

Victoria Berezhetska is a Content Lead at and an expert contributor to CoverExplore. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with extensive working experience as a PR specialist and content writer. At CoverExplore, she helps customers find the right educational material through easily digestible blog posts and buying guides backing their insurance coverage choice. Victoria covers diverse topics around digital and insurance marketing, including auto, home, health, and life insurance.

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