A boat is an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding asset, but also a costly investment. We need to consider that owning and maintaining a boat is very similar to the way we’d care for our cars, and choosing the right boat insurance policy is a necessity to protect your watercraft.

We’ve outlined some important information below that you should consider before you purchase boat insurance to ensure you’re choosing the correct policy that will protect your assets and lifestyle against life’s mishaps:

  • Small watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and runabouts are often included in your home insurance policy or can be added at a minimal cost. Check your policy or speak to your broker to determine whether your boat falls into this category and what your coverage limits are.
  • For larger boats with bigger motors, sailboats and personal watercraft (such as Jet Ski™ or Seadoo™), a separate insurance policy is highly recommended. Keep an eye out for policies that offer coverage for liability, the boat itself and additional equipment including the motor, trailers and onboard instruments such as GPS systems. Although boat insurance is not required by law in Canada, having your vessel insured provides peace of mind for:
    • Any injuries that make occur to passengers on board, tubers or skiers being towed or others in the water or aboard other watercraft;
    • Damage to the boat itself, including theft or loss of attached equipment; and
    • Damage caused by your boat/watercraft to someone else’s property.
  • There are many factors that will affect the coverage you need and the cost of your boat insurance policy, including
    • The size and type of watercraft you own;
    • Its value;
    • The body of water you use it on;
    • The size and maximum speed of the motor, and more.

Boat insurance policies are not one-size-fits-all, so discuss the specific features and use of your vessel with your broker to ensure your policy fits your unique needs.

  • Many boat insurance policies limit where you can use the boat and the distance you can travel from your home dock or lake area — either overland or by water — and still be covered. If you’re planning any long-range trips with your boat, be sure to check with your insurance provider first.
  • Remember that you need a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) to legally operate a motorboat in Canada. Anyone operating a motorboat without one not only risks a $250 fine but may also VOID any boat insurance policy you have.
  • Where are you storing your boat over the winter? In Canada, snow load can cause major damage to vessels, so speak to your broker about your storage plan, the requirements of your policy and the coverage provided for this type of loss.

Make sure you look into this important investment, and enjoy your fun & worry-free summer on the water!