After the year of COVID-19 restrictions, many are just itching to get out and go somewhere! The safest place for you and your family to go is the great outdoors. And in Massachusetts, we are lucky to have so many opportunities through the Massachusetts State Park system to enjoy spring and summer close to home!
So much to see and do in the great outdoors this spring and summer
Fun on the water
Motorboats. Sailboats. Kayaks. Canoes. Inflatables. We're lucky in Massachusetts to be able to enjoy any and all of these. Between the State Parks and the Atlantic ocean, there's a wide variety of places you could go for day trips and vacations where you can enjoy the water.
If you have a motorized boat parked out in your backyard, the first thing you need to think about is getting it re-registered and inspected for 2021, which you can do online. You can find out more information at www.mass.gov.
If the watercraft is being financed, making sure it's properly insured is important. Even if it is paid for, the minute you drive your boat trailer off your property, your homeowners policy no longer covers your boat for damage or loss. However, kayaks and canoes, so long as they are not motorized, are covered by your homeowners policy.
Typical boat insurance coverages that you can purchase separately from your home insurance include:
- Property damage to your boat
This is coverage for damage to the watercraft and can include outboard motor boats, inboard boats, stern drives, jet drives, sailboats, houseboats, jet skis, and boat equipment used to transport any of these. The coverage also can include equipment that is permanently attached to the boat, such as: anchors, fuel tanks, motors, masts, depth finders, horns, lights, mooring cleats and lines, oars, two-way radios, and spars. It does NOT cover personal possessions in the boat like diving equipment, clothes, jewelry, fishing equipment, water skis, etc.
- Personal liability lawsuits arising out of the use and ownership of the boat
Protects you against a claim or lawsuit resulting from bodily injury or property damage to others caused by your ownership, maintenance or use of the boat.
- Limited medical payments for certain accidents occurring on your boat
Pays for any medical expenses incurred by persons other than family members and those living with you who are accidentally injured while in, upon, boarding or leaving your boat. Basic medical payments coverage limits are usually set at a low dollar amount to cover minor injuries. We'd be glad to consult with you on whether these limits are adequate for your situation.
- Uninsured Boat Owner Coverage
If purchased, this provides coverage for your injuries resulting from an accident that is the fault of an uninsured boat owner or "hit and run" operator.
- Personal Effects Coverage
If purchased, this may provide coverage for your clothing, portable radios, fishing equipment, water skis or other personal item
Massachusetts does have fairly strict boating laws. For instance, life jackets and other safety equipment is required for operation. Also, young people under 16 must take a boating safety course to be able to operate a motorized watercraft without their parents on board.
If you'd like us to review your coverages for your boat and other watercraft, please contact our office.
Off-Highway Vehicles: ATVs, UTVs
ff-road or off-highway vehicles (OHVs) like ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes are extremely popular. Trails specifically designated for off-road vehicles can be found at many MA State Parks. Trail maps are available online to help you plan your rides.
Off-highway vehicles like ATVs and UTVs need to be registered in MA. If you are looking to buy a new or used one this year, YOU NEED a number of documents to register the OHV:
- Bill of Sale that includes the seller's name, address and signature.
- Proof that you have paid sales tax You can pay this 6.25% tax online and print out your receipt
- The Manufacturer's Statement of Origin if a new vehicle.
- The vehicle identification number (VIN), which is a series of 17 characters found on the frame of the vehicle.
- A completed Registration & Titling Application
Important Safety information
Massachusetts has strict operation and safety laws regarding OHVs.
- No one under 18 can operate an OHV without a parent or guardian (over 18) supervising.
- An approved recreation vehicle safety and responsibility course is required for operators under the age of 18. There will be one mandatory session that a parent or guardian of an operator under the age of 16 must attend. Proof of successful completion of the course must be in the operator’s possession.
- ANY persons operating, riding in or on or being towed by a recreation vehicle must wear a DOT approved helmet.
Each recreational vehicle must also be equipped with:
- An adequate braking system.
- An adequate muffler designed to reduce excessive noise and noxious fumes.
- One or more headlights, a red rear light and a red rear reflector (after sunset, lights must be displayed).
- An attached trailer must have a red rear
Reminder: NEVER allow more people to ride on an OHV than it was designed for!
An OHV Safety Pamphlet including all laws and safety guidelines for riders is available for download from the Massachusetts Environmental Police.
We will be glad to help you register and insure your new or used OHV. Just call our office.
Camping and Glamping
A recreational vehicle, often abbreviated as RV, is either a motor vehicle or trailer which includes living quarters. Types of RVs include motorhomes, campervans, caravans (also known as travel trailers and camper trailers), fifth-wheel trailers, popup campers, and truck campers.
Insuring your RV can be tricky because a motorized home and a trailer towed behind a vehicle are two different things and are treated differently by insurers. Covering your motorhome or campervan is tricky because it's a hybrid... part vehicle and part "residence". And it's treated differently when it's on the road versus when it is parked in your back yard versus at a camping site.
You can't count on your homeowners or auto policy to adequately protect you when you go camping. Your home and auto coverage might help you cover some basic liability costs, but they almost never cover damage to your RV or loss of anything inside your vehicle—especially when it’s out on the road when you're taking a vacation. The liability limits from your home and auto policies also may not be high enough, especially if you use your RV frequently and/or on busier roads and campgrounds.
If you have made the large investment to purchase your RV, you will want a separate RV policy. RV insurance looks a lot like auto insurance in that it covers liability, collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured, towing and roadside, and emergency. It also provides higher liability limits than you would otherwise have if your RV was just a subset of your auto insurance.
RV insurance also has a lot of unique benefits that can help you out while you’re on vacation, like:
- Emergency expenses: If something happens to your RV while on vacation, you could be left without a home or a vehicle. So emergency expenses will help pay for your lodging and transportation until you can get back home safely.
- Vacation liability: This supplements your liability coverage if someone is injured in or near your RV while the RV is parked on a campsite. This includes both bodily injury and property damage liabilities.
- Personal effects (contents coverage): This policy will pay for the replacement cost of any lost or stolen personal belongings. It applies to possessions* that you have within your RV as well as any documented special accessories, like an awning or satellite dish. *NOTE: You must make an itemized contents list for items to be covered.
Again, we'd be glad to help you review your coverage needs before you hit the road. Even if you plan to rent/lease your RV from a rental company or if you want to rent out the RV that you own, we will help you understand the issues and risks. Give us a call!
Guide to Recreation in State Parks. This site offers outdoor enthusiasts lots of opportunities to hike, camp, and bike, and also programs where you can learn about plants and wildlife.
When you experience a loss, the "intangible" promises in your auto or homeowner policy suddenly become very tangible! We understand the need for sensitive treatment and fast action. Fair and prompt payment of a loss settlement is our immediate goal.
This is the trust you placed in us when you chose the Keefe Insurance Agency. Maintaining your trust in these trying circumstances is a responsibility we take very seriously. Your complete satisfaction, if and when you have a claim, is our number one priority.
Bob Keras & Peter Brunelli