As warmer weather approaches, thoughts of outdoor activities are top of mind. Maybe one of Ontario’s 250,000 lakes is calling your name already. A question you may have is, “do I need boat insurance?”. Let’s find out!
Do you legally need boat insurance in Ontario?
Although boat insurance is not legally required, you will be required to have it if you plan to visit a marina or store your boat. If the police pull you over, they will also request to see your insurance, so it’s always a good idea to have it and on hand.
Aside from those instances, imagine pulling your boat out of storage only to see that a family of raccoons used it as their winter home or at some point during boating season you hit a submerged object, causing thousands of dollars in damage. Having insurance is added protection in unforeseen circumstances.
Does home insurance cover your boat?
Your home insurance may have limited coverage for non-engine powered and smaller boats. Boat insurance is available as an add-on to your home insurance.
Why do you need boat insurance?
Boat insurance covers additional liabilities and coverages such as:
- Loss or damage to personal property on your boat.
- Unexpected damage to your boat (like a raccoon family or hitting a submerged rock). As well as recovery cost if your boat sinks.
- Injury to others and damage to their property.
Having Your Boat Classified
Before getting boat insurance, your insurer will need to classify it to see which insurance coverages you’ll need. Length comes into play during this process::
Your boat can also be classified by its type:
- Fishing boat
Types of Coverage
Like driving a vehicle, you can choose the type of coverage and cover only the basics or a range of options. You can opt to protect injury to a third party or damage to their property or coverage for every type of loss. It’s recommended that you also cover damage to your boat. Standard coverage also provides death benefits, medical benefits, and coverage for personal property.
Liability is the most important reason for getting boat insurance. It protects you from someone else becoming injured or their property becoming damaged and pays for your legal fees, medical expenses, and repairs to their property.
Coverage for fire, accidents, and theft falls under all-risk insurance. This means any damage to your boat, except for those expressly excluded in your policy, such as general wear and tear or freezing damages.
Boat insurance add-ons
Depending on your needs, you can add on specific coverages.
This boat insurance optional add-on extends your area of coverage you are insured to travel.
Boats have expensive security equipment which can be insured through an add-on.
Navigation and communication equipment
Your specialized equipment is not covered in standard boat insurance policies.
If you become stranded on the water, this add-on ensures you will be covered if you need a tow.
Loss of use
It covers the rental of another boat if yours is being repaired.
While your boat is being repaired, your living expenses will be covered.
Protection and indemnity
Boat owners often choose to include protection and indemnity coverage as an add-on. This covers pollution and accidental damages, towing, wreck removal and legal fees.
Agreed value coverage
If written off in an insured loss, the full value of your boat will be covered.
Boat trailers can also be insured.
In case of injury while aboard your watercraft, medical insurance protects you.
If your boat accidentally causes pollution, this coverage protects you.
What is not covered?
There is certain damage that your insurance will not cover, including:
- Theft if there are no security devices on your watercraft
- Willful misconduct
- Wear and tear
- Damaged machinery if your boat breaks down
Are you covered if you lend your boat to a friend?
When you loan your car to a friend, you also lend your insurance; it goes the same way for your boat. If your friend gets into an accident while driving your boat, your insurance will be affected, not your friend’s.
Can you take your boat anywhere and still be insured?
If you take your boat outside of the area defined in your policy, you will need additional coverage.
Should your boat be insured year-round?
Like with a car, your boat should be insured year-round even when not in use because it can still be damaged or stolen.
Are you looking to find the best value for your boat insurance this year? Reach out to our team of boat insurance specialists today.