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Boat Insurance in Massachusetts

Boat Insurance in Massachusetts

What is Boat Insurance?

Going out on a boat is fun, but being on the water comes with a certain level of risk. There are thousands of boating accidents annually, and some result in significant damage, injury or loss. Massachusetts residents who own boats generally are aware of and accept the risks, and most know what safety precautions should be taken while on the water. Not all boaters, however, purchase boat insurance.

Without boat insurance, boaters can be dangerously exposed to potential financial costs if they’re in an accident on the water. A policy won’t prevent an accident from occurring, but it can help boaters recover from costs related to a covered accident they’re involved in.

Boat Insurance in Massachusetts

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Who in Massachusetts is Watercraft Insurance Right For?

Most Massachusetts residents who own a boat or personal watercraft should consider purchasing watercraft insurance. This includes people who own:

  • Powerboats (i.e. fishing boats, speed boats, cruisers, ski boats, etc.)

  • Sailboats (i.e. racing boats, daysailers, weekenders, etc.)

  • Jetskis or other personal watercraft

  • Small boats (i.e. canoes, kayaks, skiffs, rowboats, etc.)

In a few cases, homeowners policies may provide coverage for select small boats that don’t have a powerful engine. If coverage is provided through a homeowners policy, boaters may not need to purchase duplicate coverage through a boat policy. Not all homeowners policies offer such coverage, though, and those that do frequently have tight restrictions on the size and type of boat that can be covered.

In other cases, owners of small boats sometimes don’t think they need coverage for their boat because the boats are inexpensive. Boat policies don’t just insure boats themselves, however. They also may provide liability protection for injuries and deaths that occur on the water, and on-water accidents can happen no matter what type of boat someone owns.

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What Coverages Does Watercraft Insurance Offer?

Watercraft insurance policies are somewhat similar to auto policies in the coverages they offer. While watercraft policies can have coverages that aren’t found in auto policies, many of the main coverages watercraft policies offer are commonly offered by auto policies.

Some examples of coverages that both watercraft and auto policies might offer include:

  • Medical Payments Coverage, which may cover injuries sustained by a boater’s passengers

  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, which may cover injuries sustained by swimmers or people in other boats

  • Comprehensive and Collision Coverage, which may cover damage sustained by a boat

  • Property Damage Liability Coverage, which may cover damage sustained by other people’s boats or other property

The coverages that a boat policy might offer but typically aren’t found in auto policies include protections like:

  • Coverage for waterskiing or fishing gear stored on board a boat

  • Coverage for life vests, lines, anchors and other marine equipment

  • Coverage for both on- and off-water towing

  • Coverage for recovering a sunken boat

(As is true with auto policies, the exact coverages offered by boat policies can vary.)

Boat Insurance in Massachusetts

Can Boaters Cancel Their Coverage During Winter?

Some boaters try to save on insurance costs by canceling their watercraft insurance during the winter when they aren’t boating, but this strategy can backfire. First, canceling coverage altogether leaves a boat without protection if it’s damaged while in storage. Second, canceling a policy can also create a coverage gap that may lead to being assessed higher premiums in the future.

Rather than completely canceling their policy, boaters are often better off adjusting their coverages for the winter. Many insurers offer policies that have limited, but sufficient, protections and lower premiums. These policies can be designed to provide enough protection for a boat while it’s in storage, and they help avoid coverage gaps.

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How Can Boat Owners in Massachusetts Get Boat Insurance?

For help getting coverage for their boat, Massachusetts boat owners should contact a Garrity Insurance agent who specializes in boat insurance. Our agents have helped other boaters will know what coverages are available, and they’ll be able to make informed coverage recommendations based on how a particular boater enjoys the water. If they’re independent, an agent is able to recommend the best available policy regardless of what insurer offers it.

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