Category Archives: Boat Insurance

New Year, New Insurance

How to Get Lower Rates on Your Insurance

As the New Year approaches, one of your resolutions may be to find more ways to save money. You can do this by rethinking your insurance policies. It’s always a good idea to do an annual insurance review, because you might discover that you could be eligible for discounts and other savings that you aren’t currently taking advantage of!

For example, if you have an older car, you may have had the same car insurance for years. But did you know that your rates could be lowered based on any changes that have happened recently? For instance, if you changed jobs and don’t commute as far, that can affect how much you pay. And most likely, it will reduce the cost.

More Ways to Save on Homeowners Insurance

Also, you might be eligible for discounts to your Homeowners Insurance if you recently installed a security system or quit smoking. If you started bundling all of your insurance policies with one company, they’ll most likely give you discounts for that, too.

How to Do an Annual Insurance Review

Take time before the New Year to collect all of your insurance policies, whether it’s home, auto, renter’s, motorcycle, etc. Usually you can find the basic information on the summary page of your policy. Here’s what to look for: the amount of coverage, your premium costs and your deductible. Keep in mind, if you want to lower your premiums, you’ll be raising your deductible. First, you should make sure you can afford the deductible amount if you have to make a claim.

Could You Rebuild Your Home If You Had To?

This is an important question when you’re reevaluating your home insurance. The reality is, construction costs could be much higher than when you first took out your insurance policy. Also, remember that insurance companies will tell you that if something major needs to be replaced, it will be replaced with something of “like kind and quality.” Your kitchen may still look like the 1980s. If you needed to upgrade your kitchen with more contemporary cabinetry and appliances, you’ll need to be able to cover that cost.

Did You Purchase Valuable Items?

In the past year, you may have purchased jewelry or other very valuable items that you may not have extra coverage for. Do an inventory to make sure you haven’t forgotten that priceless painting! If you discover that you did buy something like that, you’ll need to increase your coverage for “personal possessions.”

Is Your Home More Likely to Flood?

When you purchased your house, it may not have been in a flood zone at the time. But in recent

years, have you had more damaging storms and repeated flooding in your basement? It may be time to consider getting flood insurance, even if it wasn’t required.

What Umbrella Insurance Can Do for You

Last but not least, consider umbrella insurance. It’s a low-cost way to get extra protection for things like your retirement fund, investments and any future income, which may all be lost as the result of a lawsuit. Many people don’t think about liability coverage until it’s too late. So umbrella insurance will help protect you above and beyond your standard home and auto insurance coverage.

For all your home, auto and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency. We work to give you comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Get the Facts about Insuring Your Boat

Before summer winds down, you may want to go for a few more rides in your boat or other watercraft. Do you know if you have adequate insurance to cover your watercraft? Here are some of the most common questions about insuring boats and other watercraft. Read on to separate facts from fiction.

Does my homeowners insurance cover my boat?

It depends on the size of the boat. If it is small with a little engine or no engine at all, like a sailboat, it may be covered. The larger the boat, however, the more likely it is that you will need separate boater’s insurance. A good rule of thumb: don’t depend solely on homeowners insurance, because it will not cover things like vandalism, or if any of your property is stolen on your boat. When in doubt, review your homeowners policy and check with your insurance carrier to see if you have enough coverage.

What does boater’s insurance cover?

You are covered if you hit another boat, a dock or if you run aground. You will be covered for bodily injury if your boat causes harm to others. Comprehensive coverage protects you from a fire on the boat, if someone steals your boat, vandalism, uninsured boater insurance, and any personal property that you may have on board, such as fishing rods and reels.

What WON’T “all risk” insurance cover?

“All risk” covers most unforeseen events. However, it doesn’t cover things like wear and tear over time, dents, damage from freezing weather, or any defects caused by the manufacturer. That’s why it’s often a good idea to get extra coverage.

What happens if there’s a total loss?

In the case of a total loss, you have the option of getting the replacement cost or cash value for your boat. If your policy is “agreed value,” a total loss means you’ll be paid for the cost of the boat at the time you bought it. This is helpful if you own an older boat. “Market value” will pay you for what the boat is currently worth, not what it was worth when you bought it.

What happens if someone else has an accident on my boat?

Like a homeowners policy, if someone other than you has an accident while on your boat, the policy will cover you for liability.

If I only use my boat during certain months, can I get coverage for only those months?

A boat policy offers you greater flexibility than your typical auto and home insurance, because it allows you to suspend coverage during the times when you’re not using the boat. For example, in Massachusetts, during the winter months, you wouldn’t need to pay for coverage while the boat is not in use.

For all your home, auto, boat and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

True or False: Insurance Quiz

Can you guess which of these 8 statements are true?

There are myths about insurance—auto, home, health—and they persist in spite of the facts. As we’ve said in other blogs, it’s important to get the facts straight before you purchase insurance of any kind. Here are eight true and false statements to see how well you understand insurance.

  1. Vehicles stored in your home or garage are covered under your Homeowner’s policy.

False. Cars and other vehicles should be covered by Auto Insurance. Garden tractors and other related items are part of what is covered by Homeowner’s Insurance.

  1. Commercial Liability Insurance provides coverage for your employees who are injured on the job.

False. Only Workers Compensation covers on-the-job injuries.

  1. Homeowner’s Insurance is based on the real estate market value of your house.

False. Your coverage is based on what it would cost to rebuild your home. This cost can vary, so an insurance agent can help you calculate these costs.

  1. The Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurance companies from basing rates on pre-existing conditions.

True. Health insurance companies used to raise the rates for people with a pre-existing condition. Not anymore. For those who have medical conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma and other chronic, pre-existing medical issues, this is a big relief. In addition, insurance companies can’t charge different amounts for men and women, either.

  1. It’s not necessary to have Other Structures coverage in your Homeowner’s policy.

False. But this is a trick question. It depends on you, the homeowner. Your Homeowner’s policy, at least 10% of it at least, is devoted to Other Structures. These include any buildings or structures not attached to your house—sheds, barns (not used for business), detached garages, driveways and fencing. You can always add to your Other Structures coverage if you need more. But it is important to keep it as part of your policy in the event of some unfortunate occurrence.

  1. If you get a speeding ticket in another state, it WILL follow you home.

True. Not only will it follow you, but it will also affect your insurance rates.

  1. Homeowner’s policies cover flood, earthquake and other natural disasters.

True. . .and False. They don’t automatically cover these things. Make sure you have it, or add it to your policy. The majority of policies exclude types of water damage.

  1. If your boat is hitched to the back of your vehicle on the highway and you back into someone, your Auto Insurance will cover it.

True. However, it will be limited to the coverage that your Auto Insurance provides, so it may not pay for property damage, injury or loss of life.

Keep checking our blog for more tips and advice about all types of insurance.

For all your home, auto, boat and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Boat Insurance Part 2: Don’t Sink Your Savings—Protect Your Investment with the Right Policy

Your boat is an important investment. That’s why it’s important to know what types of policies are available and what they cover. It’s also good to do your research and learn about ways you can save even more on your boat insurance policy.

Types of Boat Policies

In our last blog, we discussed the differences between agreed value and market value policies. But there’s a lot more to boater’s insurance policies than that. For instance, you could get marine insurance, which covers a wide variety of boats. Some of these policies cover sailboats, dinghies, even yachts. Yacht coverage may be higher because of the size of these watercraft and the distances they travel. If fishing is more than a hobby for you, professionals can get ProAngler and Charter policies that will cover special equipment, as well as the travel expenses to go to tournaments, etc. Sometimes you can customize your policy to cover only what you want, and nothing you don’t.

What is Covered by Boater’s Insurance

When purchasing your boater’s insurance policy, it’s recommended that you get an “all risk” policy. This gives you a broad range of protection in case of unfortunate events. However, “all risk” doesn’t mean everything. Look over your policy carefully to see what things are omitted. Often an “all risk” policy won’t cover dents, natural wear and tear, manufacturer’s or design defects, or damage from freezing temperatures and ice. You can always add extra coverage, depending on what you need.

Most boater’s insurance policies will cover equipment that goes with your boat, such as oars, life jackets, seat cushions, anchors and more. But make sure you see it in your policy. In addition, most policies will include uninsured boaters liability, towing costs and medical payments in case of an accident on the water. Again, you’ll want to go over these things with your insurance agent to make sure they’re included.

Coverage Add-Ons

Things that aren’t typically included in your policy can be added, such as an extension if you’re going to be leaving the U.S. and heading to Mexico. This coverage is temporary. As mentioned above, gradual wear and tear isn’t usually covered, so you can get an add-on that covers this. Often the wear and tear will be caused by mold or corrosion, which is a common problem. Finally, you can get special coverage for a specific addition to your boat that may be expensive, such as navigation equipment.

This is only a sampling of the specific types of coverages. You should always ask your insurance agent about other types if you think you may need them.

How to Get More Discounts On Your Boat Insurance

In some ways, boat insurance is a lot like car insurance. Companies will take into consideration the age, size, speed/horsepower and condition of the boat when determining your costs. They will also look at what type of boat it is. For example, is it a cruiser, saltwater fishing boat, performance boat? Is it a houseboat with no motor? They also need to know where the boat will be used—ocean, lakes, rivers, etc. And last but not least, insurance companies will want to know how many boat owners there are in the household.

If you want to get deeper discounts, do everything you can to ensure the safety of your boat. This means getting any available safety features. Some of these include wireless auto tethers that serve as a kill switch for the engine should anyone fall overboard. The more gadgets you acquire that help to protect your investment, you’re likely to be rewarded by the insurance company.

It’s also a good idea to take a boating class. The more training you receive, the better boater you’ll make. Your insurance agent should be able to provide you with classes in your area that will qualify you for discounts. Short on time? Think of it this way—one class could save you 5% or more on your policy every year. It’s worth it.

For all your home, auto, boat and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Boat Insurance Part I: How Boat Insurance Differs from Home and Auto Insurance

Summer is the perfect time to head out on your boat and enjoy the scenery of a lake or ocean and go fishing, or other recreational water activities. But before you buy that boat, it’s important to know what your homeowners’ insurance policy covers and whether or not you need to get boater’s insurance.

How Your Boat May Be Covered By Homeowners Insurance

Believe it or not, your homeowners policy may cover a small boat with no engine or a very small engine, like a sailboat. It’s a minimal amount of coverage, but may be all you need. If, however, you’re purchasing a $20,000+ boat, your homeowners policy won’t be enough.

If your boat is parked on your property and is damaged, your homeowners insurance will probably cover the damage, but may not include vandalism or stolen property on the boat.

For these reasons, it’s probably not a good idea to rely on homeowners insurance for your boat.

What Boater’s Insurance Covers

Boat insurance policies are a lot like home and auto insurance policies—sometimes including coverage from each of them. For instance, like auto insurance, a boat policy usually provides coverage if your boat is damaged from hitting something or running aground. It covers property damage caused by your boat, whether it hits a dock or another boat. It also includes bodily injury coverage for any harm your boat causes to other people. You’ll need to obtain comprehensive coverage for theft, fires, vandalism, uninsured boater insurance, and personal property coverage such as fishing equipment and other property found on your boat.

A boat policy is similar to home insurance because it covers you for liability if someone has an accident while aboard your boat. In the case of a total loss, you also have the option of getting the replacement cost or cash value for your boat.

A Key Difference Between Boat Insurance and Auto and Home Insurance

Unlike auto and home insurance, a boat policy can let you suspend coverage for specific periods of time when you’re not using your boat. This is a nice benefit for boaters who live up north and who don’t use their boats for several months out of the year. Make sure you know what the time period is, in case you decide to take your boat out on a nice day in October, only to have some misfortune and realize you’re boat isn’t covered during that month.

In addition to time constraints, make sure your coverage extends to any place you want to take your boat. Some areas may be excluded for security reasons.

When Car Insurance Covers Your Boat

If you’re driving on the road with your boat hitched to the back of your vehicle, and you back into someone, your car insurance policy will take over. Unfortunately, the boat is limited to the coverage of your auto policy, which means it may not pay for injury, loss of life or property damage.

Agreed Value and Market Value Policies

Like your car, your boat’s value depreciates the moment you purchase it. If your policy is “agreed value,” a total loss means you’ll be paid for the cost of the boat at the time you bought it. This is helpful if you own an older boat.  The insurance company and the person buying insurance have to agree on the value of the boat upfront. Then no matter what happens to the boat, you’ll be paid up to the agreed value.

“Market value” means that if anything happens to your boat, you’ll be paid what the boat is currently worth, not what it was worth when you bought it. For example, if you bought the boat in 2007, you won’t be paid enough money to get a 2016 model; you’ll get enough to buy a 2007 model. Many insurance companies will offer big discounts with market value policies, because you’re agreeing to take less money in the event of damage.

What factors will help you get a better discount on your boat? Find out in our next blog, as we continue part 2 of our discussion of boat insurance policies.

For all your home, auto, boat and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.