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photo-summerfun-2592008607_858ff80329_zJune 21st officially marked the start of summer and pools, boats, ATVs, motorcycles are all the toys of the season. But do you know how to safely use them? The Office of Consumer Affairs and the Division of Insurance recommend that consumers evaluate their insurance needs and make sure they know the rules for this period of fun and sun.

For fun on the land…

  • If you drive a motorcycle, you are required to have coverage under a private passenger motor vehicle policy for bodily injury, property damage liability and no-fault personal injury protection. You may want to consider buying comprehensive and collision coverages for your motorcycle itself. Your policy premium will depend on your driving record and years licensed, the motorcycle’s engine size, its age and how often you ride it. Financed motorcycles will likely require that you carry physical damage coverage. Seasonal coverage policies and insurance cards should also be updated before riding this summer.

 

  • Vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not covered by standard auto insurance policies, but a company may offer a special endorsement to add this coverage. Although ATVs may also be partially covered by your homeowner’s policy, you should contact your insurance agent to see if you should consider a separate ATV policy. Keep in mind there may be age and coverage restrictions regarding who can operate an ATV. Massachusetts state law requires that recreational vehicle operators under 18 years of age complete an operator safety and responsibility program and carry their certificate of completion while riding. Children between 14 and 16 years of age cannot operate all-terrain or recreational utility vehicles with engine capacities exceeding 90 cc, and must be supervised, while those between 10 and 14 years of age may only ride recreational vehicles while directly supervised in or in preparation for a sanctioned race, rally, or organized event approved by a municipal permitting authority.

 

For fun at sea…

  • Coverage for your boat depends on its size. Although small boats may have limited coverage on a homeowners policy, anything significantly larger than a small sailboat (26 feet or less) and/or powerboat with a small motor may be excluded from your homeowners policy for both property and liability coverage. If this is the case, you should speak to your insurance agent about a separate policy for your boat. Be sure that it will cover physical damage to the boat and any liability that may result from its use. Personal watercrafts (PWC), such as jet skis, will also likely require a separate boat insurance policy. You may be able to purchase a policy through your homeowners insurance or seek specialized insurance.
  • Remember that you must have a boat registration to legally operate a motorboat on Massachusetts waters, unless the boat is properly registered with another state and is using state waters for 60 or fewer days. The certificate number must be on board the boat and must be on both sides of the boat reading left to right in large lettering.
  • Any children under 12 years of age are required to wear life-preservers while onboard any boat/PWC. State law also requires life-vest use by PWC users and waterskiers and, from September 15-May 15, by canoeists/kayakers. Boat owners are responsible for ensuring their passengers wear life preservers.
  • Children under 12 years of age may operate a motorboat on MA waters only if accompanied by someone 18 years or older. Children aged 16-18 must have completed a personal watercraft safety course in order to ride them.

 

Backyard fun…

  • Pools and trampolines can increase your insurance risk. You may want to consider purchasing an umbrella policy for liability coverage beyond your homeowner’s policy if you are not covered for this risk. Know that insurers can deny coverage or cancel your policy if you do not follow their guidelines. Failure to tell your insurer when you install a pool or purchase a trampoline can also result in a claims denial or policy cancellation.
  • Pool fences are important for safety and are required by many municipalities. Never leave children unattended around water and it’s a good idea to put locks on your fences for when the pool is not in use.

For more information on laws and rule pertaining to ATVs and boats, visit the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs website.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

 

 

 

 

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