Boat Insurance in Massachusetts

What is Boat Insurance?

Boat insurance is somewhat like auto insurance, except it’s designed for protecting boats and boaters rather than automobiles and drivers. A typical boat policy has a number of coverages that may protect the boat from damage and theft, and the policyholder from boating-related liability lawsuits.

Who in Massachusetts Needs Watercraft Insurance?

Most Massachusetts residents who own a boat ought to have watercraft insurance.

A few homeowners insurance policies may provide coverage for select small boats, such as one- and two-person sailboats, rowboats, skiffs, kayaks, and canoes. Not all homeowners policies offer coverage for boats, though, and those that do typically only provide basic protection. Their coverage is often limited to small boats that are inexpensive and don’t have powerful engines.

Anyone who owns a boat that’s not covered by their homeowners policy generally should get watercraft insurance. Regardless of whether someone has a yacht in Cape Cod, MA, a jet ski on a lake near Springfield, MA or a fishing boat they keep near Worcester, MA, anyone who takes a vessel out on the water could be involved in an accident -- and, therefore, should be protected.

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What Coverages Does Watercraft Insurance Offer?

Many of the coverages found in watercraft insurance policies are similar to those that are included in auto insurance policies. Some coverages that a policy might offer are:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, which may cover medical expenses related to another person’s injuries
  • Property Damage Liability Coverage, which might pay for damage caused to another person’s boat, dock, or other property
  • Medical Payments Coverage, which may cover a boater or their passenger’s medical bills if they’re injured
  • Comprehensive and Collision Coverage, which typically covers damage that a boat or trailer sustains

In addition to these coverages that most auto policies also contain, boat policies usually also have coverages that are particular to boating, like coverage for:

  • Fishing or waterskiing gear stored on the boat
  • Life preservers, anchors, paddles and similar equipment
  • On-water towing
  • Fuel spills
  • Recovering a sunken boat

As is the case with auto insurance, the coverages that boaters need vary. When deciding what coverages to get, boaters should consider what type of boat they have, how large their boat is, how expensive their boat is and where they take their boat.

Do Boaters in Massachusetts Need Insurance Year-Round?

Most recreational boaters in the Northeast use their boats seasonally, only going out on the water in the warmer months. In the winter, boaters may be able to reduce their premiums by opting to only carry comprehensive coverage during the offseason. This is often a safe and effective way to save money on insurance, as long as boaters remember to readjust their coverages before the start of the next boating season. If coverages aren't added in the spring, boaters may find themselves without the protections they want for the boating season.

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How Can Boaters Get Boat Insurance?

Most days spent sailing, fishing, or cruising in a powerboat are relatively uneventful and filled with fun. On any given day, however, even an experienced boater can get into trouble. There are thousands of boating accidents every year, and they can result in property damage, injury or even death. While there’s no substitute for being vigilant and practicing good boater safety, boat insurance can provide Massachusetts boaters with financial protection if they’re ever involved in a covered accident or other incident.

When it comes to shopping for a policy, boat insurance is, once again, like auto insurance. The easiest way to quickly compare policies from different Massachusetts insurers is to work with an independent insurance agent. An independent agent is able to request multiple quotes and compare the coverages they offer. With an agent’s assistance, boaters can quickly look at several policies and be confident in the one they select.

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