Liveries Checklist: Complying with Florida's New Boat Rental Insurance Law

July 4, 2023


In response to Florida's recently passed House Bill 7123, boat vendors are preparing to implement significant changes to their insurance practices. This bill, now law, adjusts the requirements for insurance related to the rental of livery vessels, presenting both opportunities and challenges for those in the boat rental industry.

The new law, which went into effect on July 1st, has altered the insurance requirements for liveries renting out vessels. Now, liveries must obtain and maintain a policy from a licensed insurance carrier within the state, insuring against potential accidents, losses, injuries, property damage, or other casualties caused by or resulting from the vessel's operation. This policy must provide coverage of at least $500,000 per person and $1 million per event. It is also mandated that liveries present renters with the opportunity to purchase similar coverage. If a renter declines this insurance offer, the livery must obtain a signed acknowledgment from them, including a statement outlining their understanding of the risks involved.

While this change may seem daunting, it offers boat vendors a chance to enhance their services, bolster their brand's trustworthiness, and ultimately increase customer safety. By complying with the new law, boat rental operators demonstrate their commitment to providing a secure and reliable experience for their customers.

To assist boat vendors in adapting to these changes efficiently, we've compiled a comprehensive checklist:

  1. Understand the New Law: Read the full text of House Bill 7123 and consult with a lawyer to ensure you fully understand all implications and requirements. Familiarize yourself with the specific insurance coverage and limits mandated by the law.
  2. Review and Update Insurance Policies: Carefully review your existing insurance policies to ensure they meet the new minimum requirements of $500,000 per person and $1 million per event. Contact your insurance carrier to discuss any necessary adjustments or obtain new policies (such as that offered by Buoy) that comply with the law.
  3. Verify Insurance Carrier Licensing: Confirm that your insurance carrier is licensed within Florida. This step is crucial to ensure that the coverage you provide meets the legal requirements and provides the necessary protection.
  4. Develop an Insurance Offering System: Establish a clear and transparent system for offering insurance to renters. Train your staff on the importance of insurance and how to properly present this option to customers. Emphasize the benefits of insurance coverage in protecting their well-being and financial security. If you're using Buoy, this process is already included in the flow.
  5. Create an Acknowledgment Procedure: Develop an acknowledgment form for renters who decline the offered insurance. The form should include all the required elements as stated in the new law. Ensure that renters fully understand the risks involved and have made an informed decision to decline insurance coverage. If you're using Buoy, this process is already included in the flow.
  6. Train Staff on the New Law: Educate your staff about the specifics of the new law, including insurance requirements, the acknowledgment procedure, and how to handle customer inquiries and concerns. Proper training ensures consistent compliance with the law and enhances customer service. Buoy offers free webinars that staff can attend to learn about the new law and its requirements.
  7. Establish Document Retention Procedures: Develop a method for retaining all signed acknowledgments and insurance documentation for reference in case of any future disputes. Proper documentation helps protect both the boat vendor and the renter in the event of an incident or claim. With Buoy, all documents are collected and stored digitally, retrievable anywhere, at any time.
  8. Communicate Changes to Customers: Notify your customers about the changes in insurance requirements and the importance of compliance. Clearly explain how these changes enhance safety and security for all parties involved. Emphasize your commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable boating experience.

Navigating the new Florida boat rental law may appear daunting, but fortunately, there are those who can assist you. Buoy offers boat rental insurance that provides comprehensive coverage for renters. One of the major benefits of using Buoy is that the insurance is seamlessly integrated into the rental process. Renters can easily purchase boat insurance coverage through Buoy's platform at the time of renting a boat. Not only does this streamline the insurance purchase process, but it also ensures you remain compliant with the new legislation. By adopting digital-based solutions like Buoy, you can ensure a smooth transition towards these new requirements, safeguarding both your business and your customers.

In conclusion, complying with Florida's new boat rental insurance law is essential for boat vendors to protect their businesses, enhance customer safety, and maintain legal compliance. By following the checklist we've provided and leveraging digital solutions like Buoy, you can navigate these changes efficiently and confidently. Embrace this opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to customer well-being and provide a seamless and secure boating experience.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice.

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