The Natural State is geographically diverse, with both the Ozark Mountains and the Mississippi River in the same state boundaries. The Arkansas River, the St. Francis River, and the White River all feed the Mississippi as major tributaries. The Arkansas Delta is a particularly wet stretch of land in Eastern Arkansas, primarily along the Mississippi River. Arkansas has few natural lakes, but many man-made reservoirs that allow boating.
So a small state that is roughly 2% water by
Arkansas Boat Insurance
So, does Arkansas require boat insurance? You bet it does. Arkansas is one of only two states in the U.S to require boat insurance on motor boats. These requirements include:
- Any motorboat over 50hp is required to have liability insurance
- Any PWC of any size must possess liability insurance
- Minimum insurance requirements
are:$50,000 of liability coverage per accident. Motor boatsunder 50hp are exempt and do not need to have liability insurance.
- Applicable vessels must have proof of insurance on board whenever they are on the water.
- Registration applications for applicable vessels must include proof of insurance
Now, we should note, Arkansas does not require you to
In addition to the Arkansas state insurance requirements, you may find that other agencies will require you to
- Loans: If you purchase your vessel in Arkansas and plan to keep it there, you will need to purchase Arkansas boat insurance to cover your own vessel in addition to the state requirement. In fact, your bank or lender will likely not approve your loan without proof of some insurance. If your lender doesn’t require boat insurance, you may not be dealing with a trustworthy lender. The bank wants to protect their investment, as they are out several thousand dollars until you pay back your loan. The boat is their
collateral,so that they can seize it if you fail to pay. If your boat is in an accident or sinks without insurance, that collateral disappears. Therefore, many lenders include specific language in their loan policies to call in the full remaining price of the boat if your insurance lapses. Your lender will probably appear on your insurance policy as the lien-holder. If you need to file a claim, your insurance check will then list your lender as the co-payee.
- Marinas: Most marinas, yacht clubs, and dockyards in Arkansas require insurance too. Marinas, like lenders, want to shield themselves financially in the case of an accident. Marina insurance limits may be higher than the state requirement if they worry that an accident will cause damage that is likely to exceed that value. If you collide with another boat in the marina, the establishment doesn’t want to be drawn into any litigation. They would prefer that your respective insurance companies take care of
Small Boat Insurance
So, if you don’t own a
You may also find it worthwhile to
Arkansas, unlike much of the rest of the country, has seen a steady decrease in boating accidents over the last 4 years. Accidents in Arkansas declined 31% from 2012 to 2016. Arkansas boating accidents were nevertheless expensive to boaters and their insurance companies. Boating accident damages totaled $344,300 in 2016, for an average of $7,325, though many accidents
Boating Fatalities and Alcohol
Arkansas came in just below the national boating fatality rate in 2016. Boating fatalities did not shift much between 2015 and 2016, but any boating death is one too many. We all take on certain risks any time we leave shore. Our enjoyment of this nation’s waterways has certain unavoidable dangers, and all we can do be alert and conscientious boaters whenever we are at the helm.
Alcohol impairs our ability to boat responsibly. In 2016, 4.2% of reported Arkansas boating accidents were related to alcohol. However, 20% of all Arkansas boating deaths occurred in alcohol-related accidents. That is a common trend across the country. Alcohol-related accidents are simply more likely to end in tragedy than other boating accidents. Please, any time you head out on the water, designate a non-drinking operator. It is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself, your passengers, and other boaters out on the water.
We know that insurance can’t protect you from everything. It won’t keep you out of an accident, or keep your boat safe. No one enjoys paying for something that they hope to never need. It is incredibly important, however, and Arkansas requires it. Insurance can save you thousands in the event of an accident and protect you and your family financially.