If your company uses boats to conduct business, you may not be aware that you are at risk for premise liability lawsuits. Most liability policies contain specific exclusions regarding watercraft. That means that if you carry out company business on a boat, you could be doing so without the protection of insurance, leaving you vulnerable to litigation.

Whether owned by you or your firm, it is crucial that your boat is covered by liability insurance. Let’s say that you and your colleagues are taking a business meeting on the boat when someone slips and falls. If this person sustains injuries, they could have grounds for a lawsuit—and that spells big trouble for your company. If the company boat is not covered by liability insurance, you stand totally unprotected when it comes to legal damages.

Why have liability insurance for a boat?

There are numerous scenarios in which insurance would be necessary:

  • Someone is injured while on the boat
  • A colleague or employee is piloting the boat and has an accident
  • The boat causes property damage or an injury
  • The boat itself is damaged in an accident

Important exclusions

The majority of liability policies exclude aircraft, automobiles and watercraft. There are a few exceptions to these exclusions, however. In these exceptions, a claim may indeed be covered by your policy:

  • The accident occurs on a boat that is on your premises—in a shed, for example
  • The boat in question is not owned by anyone who is insured
  • You are operating a rented boat

Protecting yourself and your boat

Take a second look at your liability insurance policy and see whether the boat that you use for business is covered. If it is not, you should purchase a new liability policy for it. If an accident does occur on your boat and it is not covered by insurance, consult an attorney who handles premise liability cases. These steps are important to ensure smooth sailing ahead.