Proposed Boat Insurance Law Would Add Better Protections for Passengers

March 19, 2018 06:22 PM

In the land of 10,000 lakes, and more than 800,000 registered boats, there's a push to change insurance law to offer more clear-cut protections to every occupant in a boat.

A Twin Cities woman is leading the charge for change after a boating accident last fall severed her foot.

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Courtney Godfrey says in Minnesota it is required by law to cover all family members and children in a vehicle. But, she says, that is not the case in a boat.

And, Godfrey says, insurance companies are not required to disclose the exclusion.

"Despite having full liability coverage on our boat and a substantial umbrella policy, my husband was informed I was not covered, for no other reason than the fact we were married," she said in a press conference at the State Capitol on Monday.

Now, proposed companion bills in the state House and Senate would clarify the law and make protections for boat passengers more clear-cut.

Mark Kulda is with the Insurance Federation of Minnesota.

He fears law changes could mean higher premiums on boat insurance and more fraud.

"Our concern is it could lead to the land of 10,000 lawsuits. We could see a lot more lawsuits, many of which would be fraudulent," Kulda said.   

There is a thing called Watercraft Medical Payments Coverage that will cover injuries to spouses and children on the boat, but KSTP found the max amount that could be paid out to be $10,000.

The Insurance Federation of Minnesota could not confirm if that is the most that could be paid out, but said if people have questions, they should call their individual agents.

Credits

Jessica Miles

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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