Before you sign your annual slip contract with your marina this year, be sure to read it carefully - it may obligate you to pay more than just the slip fee as marinas are inserting language in their slip contracts that shift the marina's legal liability to the slip holder in an effort control increasing marina insurance costs.
"What this means in real terms, for example, is if a boater's guest is injured due to the marina's negligence and sues the marina, or a boat is damaged by the marina and it declines to pay for repairs, the boat owner could be responsible for defending the marina and paying any amounts that the marina is responsible for," said BoatU.S. Vice President of Underwriting, Jim Nolan.
"In the insurance industry it's called contractual liability," said Nolan, noting that such slip contract language includes terms like "hold harmless and indemnify" and "defend and indemnify". "If they see this language, boaters should check to make sure that their boat's insurance policy provides them with coverage for these types of contractual liabilities before they sign their slip or storage contract," he added.
If the boat insurance policy does not include contractual liability coverage, boaters could find themselves paying big money out of pocket for injuries, defense lawyers and possibly property damage to their own boat because the "hold harmless" provision may insulate the marina from paying for damages it may have caused.
"Many boat insurance policies exclude contractual liabilities and do not allow a boater to simply sign away their insurer's right to be reimbursed for boat damage caused by the marina," added Nolan.
BoatU.S. marine insurance policies provide contractual liability coverage assumed under a boat storage or slip rental contract. For more information or an online quote, visit http://www.BoatUS.com/Insurance or call 800-283-2883.