AAA: Uninsured Boats, ATVs Pose Financial Risk

Video: Learn more about boat insurance

Phoenix, Ariz., July 10, 2012.  When it comes to recreational vehicles, don’t throw caution to the wind, says AAA Insurance. Each year, hundreds of crashes involving boats and off-highway vehicles (OHV), such as an all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), occur in Arizona, resulting in injuries, fatalities and financial losses.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, OHVs were attributed to eight deaths, 500 hospitalizations and 1,921 emergency room visits across the state in 2010.

AAA Insurance claims data also underscores the dangers of this equipment. In 2011, 36 percent of watercraft claims in Arizona were due to collisions, such as running aground, while 88 percent of ATV claims were due to operator error, such as reckless riding.

“If an uninsured boat or non-street legal ATV is involved in a collision, the operator could be held financially responsible if they do not have sufficient insurance coverage,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance services for AAA Arizona. “Considering the number of incidents that occur with this equipment, those who forego insuring it are taking great risks.”

Before embarking on your next boat or ATV adventure, AAA Insurance would like to offer the following information and tips to recreational vehicle owners:

Boat owners

  • Know your coverage. Homeowner’s or renter’s policies often cover small boats (i.e. canoes, motor boats). Limits are generally lower than a specific watercraft policy and may not include liability coverage. For this reason, owners should consult their insurance agent and consider investing in a separate, specific watercraft policy.
  • Determine coverage needs. The size, type, value of the property and location in which you use the boat are factored in to premium prices.
  • Protect yourself against liability. Owners should look for a combination of collision and comprehensive coverage in addition to liability and uninsured/underinsured coverage.
  • Seek discounts. Boat owners can achieve savings by operating a diesel-powered craft, keeping Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers and ship-to-shore radios on board and have at least two years of claim free history.

ATV Owners

  • Know the law. While non-street legal ATVs are not required to be insured per state law, ATVs licensed for street use or ATVs with a lienholder are required to carry bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.
  • Know your coverage. ATVs may be covered by homeowner insurance, but only when they are used on the homeowner’s premises. A stand-alone policy will cover an ATV away from home and for off-road use.
  • Know the risks. On an adult ATV, children under age 16 are twice as likely to be injured as those riding size-appropriate youth ATVs. Adding a passenger also increases risks, especially on an ATV that is only designed for one person.
  • Seek training. Many ATV crashes are the result of an inexperienced operator. Take a course which provides professional training through the ATV Safety Institute.

Whether operating a boat or ATV, AAA Insurance urges all recreational vehicle users to stay sober. Drugs, alcohol and prescription medications can impair reaction time and judgment; skills that are critical when operating this type of equipment. Citations for operating a recreational vehicle while under the influence have repercussions similar to DUI.

To learn more about recreational vehicle coverage, call 1-866-298-1232 or visit

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.