Based on approximately 30,000 visitors to CANSTAR’s travel insurance comparison tables this year, the most popular specific inclusions that travellers want to be covered for include:
- Riding a Jet ski / motorbike / scooter
- Water sports
- Snow sports
So you can get Travel Insurance to cover you riding a jet ski when you’re away from home…
But what about if you own a jet ski? Can you get insurance to cover it being stolen or damaged? Can you get insurance to cover injuries to yourself when riding your jet ski? Yes.
What is jet ski insurance?
Jet ski insurance is also known as PWC insurance (personal watercraft insurance), which is a type of boat insurance or marine insurance. Jet ski insurance is designed to cover your jet ski if it is damaged, destroyed, or stolen, and to protect you against liability claims if your jet ski causes damage to other people or their property.
There are three main types of marine insurance in general, which are similar to the types of car insurance:
- Third Party Property Only: Covers damage to someone else or their property caused by your jet ski.
- Third Party, Fire, & Theft: Covers damage to someone else or their property caused by your jet ski; damage to your jet ski caused by fire, theft, or earthquake.
- Comprehensive: Covers damage to someone else or their property caused by your jet ski; damage to your jet ski caused by fire, theft, natural disasters, and accidents.
Comprehensive jet ski insurance should cover at least the following:
- Accidental damage to your jet ski caused by fire, storm, flood, vandalism, or other accident
- Theft or attempted theft of your jet ski
- Accidental damage to your jet ski caused by collision with uninsured boat, jet ski, or aqua scooter (where the party at fault does not have insurance)
- Injury to you or your passenger, caused by an accident with an uninsured boat, jet ski, or aqua scooter (includes medical payments)
- Third party damage to other vessels (caused by your jet ski)
Specialised cover is available, so optional extras including the following can be added to your jet ski insurance policy with some insurers:
- Liability cover if a third party or their property is damaged while you are water-skiing or doing other water sports using the jet ski
- Contents insurance for the personal belongings stored inside a locked cabin in your jet ski (a.k.a. accessory insurance)
- Total loss replacement – if your jet ski is damaged, it can replaced with a new one of similar quality
- Emergency towing if you need it
- 24/7 assistance for jet ski trailer and jet ski towing
- Wreckage removal costs after a collision or other accident
- Lay-up – insurance premium is reduced if the jet ski is put into storage and left unused for a certain period of time
- Environmental damage repair after a collision or other accident (e.g. oil leak mop up)
- Trailer cover for your jet ski trailer
Exclusions that usually apply to jet ski insurance
If your jet ski is damaged or causes damage to other people or their property while attached to a trailer, it is excluded from jet ski insurance because it is on the road. This is a matter for your car insurance – and you should be covered if you have a Comprehensive car insurance policy.
Jet ski insurance can only cover you to ride within the allowable geographic areas in your state or territory. Each state and territory has heritage areas or other protected areas in which you cannot ride your jet ski. See your local marine department’s website for more information:
- QLD: Maritime Safety Queensland
- NSW: Roads & Maritime NSW
- SA: gov.au
- VIC: Maritime Safety Victoria
- TAS: Marine and Safety Tasmania
- WA: Department of Transport WA
- NT: gov.au
Policies that cover theft of your jet ski will usually require that you store your jet ski securely (e.g. in a locked garage, shed, or boat shed, rather than moored at a marina) in order for you to remain covered.
Is jet ski insurance mandatory or optional?
Most states and territories in Australia require you to have liability insurance (Third Party Property Only policies) to cover your legal responsibility if your jet ski causes injury to another person or damages their property. Most states also require you to have a valid driver’s licence and be over the minimum age to drive a PWC. You must have a licenced person on board the jet ski and able to take control of the vehicle at all times.
As for damage to your jet ski, the rules are different in each state and territory regarding whether or not you must have a higher level of jet ski insurance:
- QLD – not required (Maritime Safety Queensland)
- NSW – not required (Roads & Maritime NSW)
- SA – not required (gov.au)
- VIC – liability insurance (Third Party Property Only) may be required for registration (Maritime Safety Victoria)
- TAS – not required (Marine and Safety Tasmania)
- WA – not required (Department of Transport WA)
- NT – not required (gov.au)
However, you should note that jet skis must be registered as a PWC (personal watercraft) with your local department of transport. Depending on state and territory, you may need specialised licences to drive a jet ski – a personal watercraft licence, and a recreational or commercial marine driver licence.
When towing a water-skiier behind your jet ski, the jet ski driver must be licenced, and there must be an observer aged over 12 on board the jet ski to watch out for the skier’s safety at all times.
All passengers and drivers of the jet ski must wear a personal flotation device (a lifejacket). The other safety equipment that you are required to wear or keep on board your jet ski depends on whether you are riding in smooth waters (e.g. lakes or dams), partially smooth waters (e.g. rivers and creeks), or beyond partially smooth waters (e.g. the surf).
If you buy your jet ski using a personal loan or other financing, your lender will probably require you to buy Comprehensive jet ski insurance.
What does jet ski insurance cost?
The cost of jet ski insurance varies between providers, but InsuranceCompared.com.au says cover ranges from $300-$500/year for a basic policy up to $1,000 or more for a Comprehensive policy.
Your premiums will depend on whether you choose basic or comprehensive coverage, and the market value of your jet ski or how much you want to be covered for. The cost also depends on risk factors such as:
- Year, make, and model of your jet ski
- Horsepower, engine type, and maximum operating speed
- How you use your jet ski (private, commercial, racing, or business)
- Any modifications added or removed on your jet ski
- Where you store it (in a shed, covered boathouse, or moored)
- Boater safety courses you have completed
- Whether your jet ski is equipped with a GPS microdot, a security alarm, or other security features
- Your driving record – good or bad – in both a car and on a boat
- Whether jet ski is used in salt water (more wear and tear) or fresh water only (discounts available)
Who offers jet ski insurance in Australia?
Canstar doesn’t yet research and rate jet ski insurance in Australia. However, the following companies are known to offer jet ski insurance as of November 2016:
- Affinity Insurance Services
- Allianz Australia (through Club Marine)
- Aussie Boat Loans
- SPT Insurance Brokers (a.k.a. Austbrokers)
- Bluewell Insurance Brokers
- Boat Insurance Quotes
- BSJ Insurance Group
- CGU Insurance
- Club Marine Insurance
- DGA Insurance Brokers
- Elders Insurance
- Intas Group
- Kawasaki Genuine Insurance
- Marine Boat Insurance
- Nautilus Marine Insurance Agency
- Rivers Insurance Group
- Roderick Insurance Brokers
- Territory Insurance Office (NT)
- Trident Marine Insurance
- Zurich Financial Services Australia
How to compare jet ski insurance
The main factors to consider when comparing jet insurance policies include:
As explained above, the right policy for you will depend on whether you need Third Party Property Only; Third Party, Fire, & Theft; or Comprehensive cover. And the level of coverage will differ between providers – so not all Comprehensive policies are the same. You’ll have to read the product disclosure statement (PDS) for a policy to work out whether it provides the right level of coverage for your needs.
Agreed value vs market value
You will need to decide whether to insure your jet ski at an agreed value (how much you and the insurer agree it is worth), or at its current market value (which will decrease over time with depreciation). There is almost always a time limit for how long you can claim the full market value of your jet ski, after which an agreed value will be specified.
Make sure that the policy doesn’t have any exclusions that would affect your usual use of the jet ski. If you are into jet ski racing, you will need a policy that specifically includes racing activities, as most policies usually exclude racing from coverage. Check it out now, not at claim time.
How much you pay for jet ski insurance premiums depends on your year, make, and model of jet ski; the engine size; what you use it for (private, commercial, racing, or business); and where you store it. See above (“What does jet ski insurance cost?”) for more detail.
How to buy jet ski insurance
If you have boat insurance already, you can add your jet ski to that policy as a PWC for an additional cost. Or you can buy a separate jet ski insurance policy directly from a provider for your jet ski.