Skip to content

Do You Have to Have Boat Insurance in Oklahoma?

Forrest Bennett Oct 21, 2022 10:15:38 AM

It may be surprising to some to learn that landlocked Oklahoma has more miles of shoreline than the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts combined, according to the state of Oklahoma’s tourism department. Home to more than 200 lakes and with over one million surface acres of water, it’s easy to see why our state is a paradise for boat owners. 

If you are new to Oklahoma boating, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements and restrictions for boat operators before hitting the water. Oklahoma law requires all motorized boats and personal watercraft operators who are 12 to 15 years of age and operating a vessel powered by a motor over ten horsepower to pass a safety course and carry a boater education card. 

The Oklahoma Department of Safety is responsible for enforcement in addition to setting boat equipment requirements. They dictate the required necessities, such as fire extinguishers and US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices.

Now that we have all the legal requirements out of the way, the big question on your mind might be surrounding boat insurance. What is it? How much does it cost? How does it protect you? In this blog, we’ll be discussing all of that and more. If you’re still curious about boat insurance when you’re done, feel free to contact the Hopewell team with any questions you may have.

Am I required to carry boat insurance by Oklahoma law?

Oklahoma does not require boaters to carry insurance on boats and personal watercraft. However, if you are financing a boat, your lender will most likely require you to protect their investment with insurance. Also, many marinas require you to have coverage if you dock at their facility. So while the state government may not enforce it, the private market will. 

Many homeowners mistakenly believe their home insurance policy will provide the protection they need for operating a boat. While their policy may provide some limited property damage coverage for smaller boats while at their residence, it probably won’t be enough to cover the cost of the boat and trailer, and it won’t provide protection for time on the water. 

Most of the time, liability coverage will need to be added as an endorsement. The Oklahoma Insurance Department recommends a separate boat insurance policy to provide the comprehensive coverage you need.

Why is boat insurance important?

Accidents happen. According to data from the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 4,439 recreational boating accidents and 658 deaths in 2021 nationwide. 

So while you may be a safe boater, the guy speeding toward you might not be. Even if an accident doesn’t result in a fatality with any bodily injury, it doesn’t take long for medical bills to pile up. Plus, the cost of boat repairs may dock you for a long while.


What does boat insurance cover?

Oklahoma insurance for boats comes with different policy options. Personal watercraft policies will cover bodily injury, property damage, guest passenger liability, medical payments and theft. The most common coverages are for property damages and injuries. Options include:

Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability

This policy is the best way to protect yourself in the event of an accident that injures someone or damages their property. You select the limit of liability you want, and the insurance company will pay their medical bills or repair their damaged property from the accident to that limit.

Comprehensive & Collision Coverage

Similar to auto coverage, this option covers your watercraft in the event of an accident, regardless of fault or covered loss. Comprehensive applies if your boat is damaged by an event outside of your control, such as fire, theft or weather. Collision covers if you collide with another boat or object.

Uninsured or Underinsured Boater

As the name implies, this coverage pays for your medical bills or damages when the person at fault doesn’t have liability or enough coverage.

Medical Payments

The option helps pay the medical bills for covered people in a boating accident, regardless of fault.

Personal Effects Replacement

This option is particularly helpful if you plan to carry fishing gear, dive equipment, water skis, electronics, or other expensive items on your watercraft. Coverage normally pays for the loss or damage of these items while on the boat or while being loaded to or unloaded from an insured boat.


The Cost of Boating Insurance in Oklahoma

A standard policy may include deductibles of $250 for property damage, $500 for theft and $1,000 for medical payments. 

Additionally, liability limits often start at $15,000 and can be increased to $300,000, which will provide financial protection if your personal watercraft is involved in an accident. Also, check on water sports liability, which is typically included and covers risks associated with boating, like water skiing.

What If My Boat is My Business?

If you use your boat in a commercial operation such as guided fishing, boat rides/tours and boat rentals, you can bundle your boat coverage with your business insurance. 

As an independent agency, Hopewell can shop for the best and most trusted carriers to provide the protection you need — for your personal needs and your business. We welcome the chance to bundle all of your commercial and personal lines of insurance!

Whether you’re looking for insurance for your personal marine watercraft or your commercial boating operation, we’re always here to give guidance about what type of coverage you need. Get in touch with a member of the Hopewell team for your free, no-obligation insurance estimate today.

Forrest Bennet is the owner and founder of Hopewell Risk Advisors, an independent insurance agency writing personal lines of insurance and commercial policies for industries ranging from cannabis to restaurants. A born-and-raised Oklahoman, Forrest has been fighting to provide great insurance coverage since 2021. He considers Hopewell Risk Advisors “honest brokers in the protection racket.”