Boat insurance is a lot like auto insurance that’s designed for boats and boaters. Many of the coverages that boat policies provide are even similar to those that auto policies offer. Boat insurance may also be called “watercraft insurance,” a term that has become more common as personal watercraft have become more popular.
The coverages that a particular watercraft insurance policy provides will depend on the policy’s terms, conditions, and exclusions. Exact coverages vary. Nevertheless, there are many coverages that are available through most policies.
Some of the coverages that watercraft policies provide are very similar to auto insurance coverages. For example, a watercraft policy might provide:
Other coverages that watercraft policies frequently provide offer protection from boating-specific perils and incidents. Drivers of cars don’t usually need the following coverages, but boaters might:
Because not all boaters have the same insurance needs, many of these coverages are offered as optional protections. When selecting what coverages to purchase, boaters should take into account the type of boat they have, how big their boat is, where they go boating, how they use their boat, and what the value of their boat is.
Most Massachusetts residents who own a boat should at least consider getting watercraft insurance.
Residents who don’t have coverage through another insurance policy (see below) may be leaving themselves dangerously exposed if they don’t purchase a watercraft policy. Without the protections of an insurance policy, they may be liable for any damage they cause, not have coverage for their own boat or watercraft, and be held financially responsible for any injuries that people sustain in a boating accident they cause.
In a few cases, residents may have a little coverage through their homeowners insurance policy. Some homeowners policies offer coverage for small boats, which typically must be under a specific size, can’t be too valuable and don’t have an engine.
Even boaters who have coverage through a homeowners policy, however, may want to get a separate watercraft policy. For, the protections offered for boating incidents that homeowners policies offer are usually minimal. If a boating accident results in significant property damage, serious injuries, or a fatality, the financial consequences could easily exceed the limits of a homeowners policy’s coverage for boating incidents.
Boaters in Massachusetts can get help finding boat insurance by contacting an independent insurance agent who serves the state. There are agents located throughout the state, from coastal towns to inland cities, who have the knowledge necessary to help boaters with their insurance needs.