What is Boat Insurance?
Boats and personal watercraft are a lot of fun to use, but all on-water activities come with certain risks. Where boats are involved, accidents and other incidents can lead to property damage, injuries and even death. A boat insurance policy is no substitute for safe boating practices and won’t stop a boating accident from happening, but it may financially protect Massachusetts boaters if something happens on the water.
Boat insurance is a particular type of personal insurance. These policies have been designed specifically to meet the risk mitigation needs of boaters, and most policies come with multiple coverages so that they can address a range of risks.
What Massachusetts Residents Need a Watercraft Insurance Policy?
Generally speaking, most state residents who own a boat should carry a watercraft policy. Policies are usually available to:
- Motorboat owners
- Sailboat owners
- Jetski owners
- Yacht owners
(This isn’t an exhaustive list.)
Additionally, people who come to the state for the summer and own a boat might also want to purchase a watercraft policy from a Massachusetts insurance company. Whether insurance should be purchased from a Massachusetts insurer or within the boat owner’s home state depends on the specifics of the situation. An insurance agent who specializes in these policies can help boat owners in this position evaluate their situation and determine what the best way to procure any necessary insurance is.
Do People Who Own Small Boats Still Need a Watercraft Policy?
Boat owners who have a small and non-powered boat might not be concerned about damage to the boat itself, for the vessel may not be worth much. Even on a small and inexpensive boat, though, accidents that result in injuries or worse can happen. For this reason, small boat owners typically are wise to consider purchasing a watercraft policy that at least has liability coverage.
What Protections Are Available Through Watercraft Insurance Policies?
Some of the risks that boaters face are quite similar to those that drivers of cars face, but others are quite different and they’re only concerns when on the water. The coverages included in watercraft insurance policies frequently reflect this.
Most watercraft insurance policies have several coverages that are similar to what’s found in fairly standard car insurance policies. These coverages might include:
- Bodily Injury Coverage, which normally covers injuries that are sustained by people not in the insured vessel
- Medical Payments Coverage, which normally covers medical costs related to injuries that are sustained by people inside the insured vessel
- Property Damage Liability Coverage, which normally covers damage that’s caused to other boats, docks or other types of property
- Collision and Comprehensive Coverage, which normally covers damage that’s sustained by the insured vessel itself
Some of the water-specific coverages that a boat policy might offer are:
- Coverage for waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing or fishing gear stored on the insured vessel
- Coverage for required and optional safety items stored on the insured vessel
- Coverage for towing the insured vessel to shore if it breaks down while out
- Coverage for recovering the insured vessel if it sinks
Coverage for recovering a sunken boat is particularly important in some situations. While boat owners might be alright leaving their boat on the bottom of a lake, river or ocean if it sinks, the chemicals in the boat’s engine could cause environmental harm. For this reason, it’s sometimes necessary to recover a sunken boat even if the boat will never be used again.
How Can Boat Owners Get Boat Insurance?
For help finding boat insurance, contact the independent insurance agents at Flavin & Flavin Insurance. Our Massachusetts agents have the expertise to help you find a robust boat policy, and they can show you options from many different insurers.