July 7, 2017

Well, we finally have beautiful weather and that is when the boats are out.  As you take your boat out onto the water, ask yourself, “Do you have the right boat insurance?”.

Accidents happen.  You should be protecting your boat and your family, the same way you protect your car.  The weather can be unpredictable and the drivers of other boats are just as unpredictable, so it is a good idea to have the proper insurance to properly cover yourself and your family.

It is not compulsory to have boat insurance in Ontario, but sometimes you have no choice but to get insurance like when you dock your boat at a marina, and the marina requires it.  Whether it is a small watercraft like a canoe or kayak or a motorized personal watercraft like a jet-ski or power boat, it should be insured.  You can add a boat to your home policy but you run the risk of losing your claims free discount (when applicable) and this in turn impacts your eligibility with the homeowners insurance markets should you have a loss.

Did you know that with most boat insurance, your boat has to be winterized and out of commission from December 1st to April 1st.  There are also navigational limits, basically limits to where your watercraft is covered.  For example if you wish to take your boat down to the Florida Keys, those coastal waters need to be added to your policy as an endorsement.

Make sure your coverage includes liability for bodily injury and third party damage and also for protection in the event that you are injured by an uninsured owner or operator of another boat. Theft, damage or loss of attached equipment (i.e. GPS system) is also important.

One major headache for boat insurance is theft exclusions or conditions.  If the vessel is on a trailer, there is often a theft clause that could exclude coverage unless there is clear evidence that certain security measures are taken.  You should confirm if your policy has such conditions.

The best thing would be to talk to a boat specialist at Rice Inc. to figure what kinds of coverage is best for you.  Let us know too if you have younger operators to make sure your policy covers them or if there are age restrictions.