Watercraft and Boat Insurance: What Does It Cover?
As a boat owner, you want to make the most of your limited time out on the open waters during our short Canadian summers. One of the best ways to make sure your boating time is optimized is to ensure you have proper watercraft and boat insurance. It will cover you if your boat is stolen, in an accident, or damaged. It doesn’t just apply to boats but can also be purchased for all types of watercraft as long as it has a motor such as fishing boats, pontoon boats, paddle boats, leisure crafts, personal watercraft and yachts. Although, in some cases, smaller watercrafts are covered under your homeowner’s policy. If it is listed on your policy and your boat is stored at your home, your best bet is to request special watercraft or boat insurance to ensure you have complete coverage to cover losses.
What Your Boat Insurance CoversThe usual things included under your boat insurance policy are:
Collision damageIf your boat is in an accident, your insurance will cover repairs or, in the case of a total write-off, replacement of your boat. Check to see if it also includes clean-up of any wreckage as this is often required as additional coverage, and it can also be unexpectedly expensive to cover these costs on your own.
Property damage liabilityThis takes care of other boats, property, or structures damaged by your boat.
Bodily injury liabilityIf someone is injured due to your boat, this will cover anything you are liable for. This includes associated medical bills, the injured person’s lost income, pain and suffering, and their legal expenses.
ComprehensiveThis deals with costs associated with your boat being vandalized, stolen, or damages unrelated to an actual collision.
What is not covered by boat insurance?As mentioned above, wreckage clean-up is usually not covered by general boat insurance policies. Some other areas not generally covered include:
- Fishing equipment
- Oil spills
- Personal property and roadside assistance
- Damages and injuries from accidents with uninsured or underinsured boaters
- Water skiers you are pulling behind the boat
How does boat insurance work?As with any insurance, you have to consider how much insurance you wish to purchase based on the value of the boat and other considerations such as where it is stored, how often it is used, who drives it, and what you keep on the boat. You also have to consider if you live on the boat, and how far you travel. When it comes to compensation, it’s dependant on a few things:
- Your deductibles
- Your limits
- Cash value, replacement cost, or agreed-upon value payment
How much does boat insurance cost?Your insurance provider or broker can provide a quote based on the following:
- The type, size, and age of your boat or watercraft
- The size of the motor
- How your boat is powered
- Where you store and use it, i.e. inland waters or the open seas
- What additional coverage options your purchase
Is boat insurance required by law?Although boat insurance is not required by law in Ontario, marinas and facilities that store boats do require you to have insurance if you wish to use their services. You will have to provide proof of insurance. As well, if your boat is financed, you will also require insurance.
Special Considerations for Boat InsuranceSome of the more specific considerations to discuss with our team include:
TheftWhat if any personal possessions carried on the boat are covered if your boat is stolen? Not all policies will cover what is on your boat. Also, what proof do you need to provide to ensure possessions are covered?
Hurricanes and stormsCertain areas popular for boating are prone to more severe weather. This is especially important if you store your boat or travel to areas outside the country or where you might be at risk due to severe storms or tornadoes.
Engine damageIn some cases, you can find policies that will cover engine damage. It’s important to check for machine damage exclusions, so always discuss the fine print to avoid disappointment. Basically, very few policies for any type of insurance will cover wear and tear. Things considered in this type of coverage would be the age of the boat and depreciation in replacement costs.
Unseen threatsBoating can present unseen threats, such as rocks in unexpected shallow waters. A comprehensive insurance policy will cover collisions that would include rocks, logs, and other naturally occurring obstacles you might encounter.