When your livelihood revolves around the ocean, you face unique risks from rough waters, harsh weather, and hazardous working conditions. The right insurance defends against financial loss so your company stays afloat if the unthinkable happens.
Here’s what you need to know about commercial fishing insurance versus vessel insurance so you can make an informed decision.
Understanding Commercial Fishing Insurance
If you own or operate commercial fishing vessels, this specialized insurance safeguards your business. Commercial fishing insurance focuses on the distinct needs of commercial fishing. It goes beyond protecting just the boat itself.
This type of policy shields the fishing boat, crew, equipment, and catch. Some common coverages include:
- Crew Coverage: Protects against liability claims from accidental injury or death on the job. With the heightened risks fishermen face, this provides security.
- Nets and Gear Coverage: Insures your vital equipment such as nets, traps, lines, and electronics. These items are indispensable for commercial fishing operations.
- Uninsured Boaters: If an uninsured boater strikes your fishing boat, this helps cover damages and liability claims.
- Products Liability: Provides a safety net if your catch causes food poisoning or prompts health-related lawsuits.
- Workman’s Compensation: Covers lost wages and medical bills if crew members are hurt on the vessel.
So, commercial fishing insurance is designed for businesses focused on fishing. It accounts for the unique risks commercial fishermen encounter. If your vessels harvest seafood for sale, this type of policy has you covered.
The Basics of Vessel Insurance
While vessel insurance can cover fishing boats, it also applies to many other types of marine crafts. This makes vessel insurance more broad and comprehensive compared to commercial fishing policies.
If you operate vessels for tours, transportation, oil rigs, or general commercial purposes, vessel insurance has you covered. Some coverages you can receive include:
- Hull Insurance: Protects the physical boat itself as well as permanently attached equipment and machinery.
- Ocean Marine Cargo: Safeguards your cargo and transported goods from weather damages or theft.
- Protection and Indemnity: Covers liability claims for passenger and crew member injuries or wrongful deaths.
- General Liability: This applies to advertising, reputational, and property damage claims. Essential for any ocean business.
- Bumbershoot Liability: Provides additional liability coverage above general liability policy limits for wet and dry incidents for maritime and non-maritime activities.
- Uninsured Boaters: Just as with fishing policies, pays for losses if an uninsured boat causes damages.
The breadth of vessel insurance accounts for the diversity of ocean vessels beyond just fishing boats. If you have a mixed maritime fleet, vessel insurance can cover it all.
Key Differences Between Commercial Fishing Insurance and Vessel Insurance
So, the key distinction between commercial fishing and vessel insurance is their scope. Fishing insurance offers specialized protection catered to fishing industry risks. This includes fishing vessels, crew, gear, and harvested products.
Vessel insurance takes a broad approach, covering a diverse range of ocean vessels and activities beyond just fishing. While fishing policies focus on niche fishing assets and concerns, vessel policies provide umbrella coverage for broader maritime businesses and liabilities.
Commercial Fishing Insurance vs Vessel Insurance: Choosing the Right Option for You
When deciding between commercial fishing and vessel insurance, carefully evaluate key factors such as your fleet, activities, risks, and finances to determine the right policy option for your maritime business.
Review Your Fleet Makeup
Carefully evaluate all the types of vessels you operate – are they exclusively commercial fishing boats, or do you also have transportation vessels, oil tankers, passenger ships, tugboats, and chartered yachts?
Gauging your asset mix indicates if specialized fishing or broad vessel insurance aligns better. Those with only fishing ships may want fishing policies, while diverse fleets call for vessel coverage or a combination.
Assess Your Activities
Consider the full range of your maritime operations. Do you solely harvest and sell seafood or engage in other activities such as marine transport, oil rig services, underwater construction, salvage work, tourism, or boat rentals?
Fishing-focused businesses are fit for commercial fishing insurance. Those with varied operations beyond just fishing require the breadth of vessel insurance.
Identify Your Risks
Conduct a risk assessment of potential vulnerabilities your ocean enterprise faces. These may include crew injuries, damaged nets/traps, spoiled catches, cargo loss, collisions, passenger accidents, employee discrimination suits, and marina property damage.
Understanding your distinct risks helps obtain policies tailored toward addressing them. More fishing-centric risks are covered under fishing policies, while vessel insurance handles broader liabilities.
Check State Regulations
Review your state’s requirements regarding insurance for commercial fishing, marine transport, marinas, and charters. Some states mandate certain liability limits or coverages. Ensure any policies you purchase adhere to your state’s legal framework for ocean businesses. Don’t run afoul of compulsory state insurance regulations.
Compare premium costs across commercial fishing, vessel, and combination policies from reputable insurers. Assess budget trade-offs; specialized fishing insurance may cost less but leave gaps, while vessel insurance provides fuller protection. Find the optimal balance between ideal coverage and affordability given your budget constraints.
Talk to Agents
Discuss your fleet composition, operations, risks, and budget with trusted insurance agents. They can assess your situation and advise if niche fishing, general vessel, or a blended multi-policy approach makes the most sense. Agents may spot issues you overlooked. Leverage their expertise so you choose the best insurance for your needs.
Let JMG Insurance Agency Take the Guesswork Out of Marine Insurance
Protecting your maritime business is crucial, but deciding between niche or broad coverage can be challenging. When choosing between commercial fishing and vessel insurance, thoroughly evaluate your fleet makeup, operations, risks, regulations, and budget. This allows you to secure policies tailored to your assets and activities.
Insurance can be complicated, especially when dealing with specific policies such as commercial fishing and vessel coverage. Determining what’s best for your maritime business on your own can be tough. But with JMG Insurance Agency’s expertise, you can have confidence that you’ll get ideal, tailored marine insurance to protect your assets and livelihood.
Our team takes the time to understand your unique operations and provide seasoned advice on choosing fishing, vessel, or combined coverage that truly fits your needs. Contact JMG Insurance Agency today at 1-844-304-7332 or online, and let us guide you in securing the right protection for your maritime enterprise.