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Boat Insurance

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Boat Insurance in Canada

A popular and fun summertime activity is boating, even though in most provinces you only use your boat for a few months out of the year, it is still important to have it insured all year round.

Boat insurance is not mandatory in all provinces but it is important, especially if your boat is financed, docked at a marina (even stored in your own boathouse), insurance can protect against any damages, liability risks and other unforeseen events. Don't get a surprise when you go down to collect your boat for the summer with any unexpected costs that could have been covered by filing an insurance claim.

No two boats are alike so make sure you speak with one of our Advisors to get the best advice.  We'll provide you up to 10+ quotes from Canada's top boat insurance providers, getting you the coverage you need, for the best price possible.

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Boat Insurance in Canada

Boat insurance covers you in the event of a loss or damage to your watercraft. It covers most watercraft with motors, including fishing boats,  paddle boats, leisure crafts, even yachts (for you high rollers!). For smaller boats, you may find some limited coverage under your homeowner's policy, so it's best to chat with your Surex Advisor about what you're covered for and what you need to add onto your policy when you buy a boat.

Ontario does not have a law that requires you to carry insurance on your boat or power watercraft. There might be a time when you have no choice but to purchase insurance. However, marinas in Ontario will require proof of boat insurance before they will allow you do use the marina or store your boat on their property so always best to be covered. 

The amount of boat insurance you will need depends on a number of factors such as the value of the boat, the motor size, the age and how you use it (speed boat vs a pleasure cruiser). For example, if you bought a new high-performance speed boat, you will need more coverage for bodily injury and property damage liability than you would if you had a pleasure cruiser.

The general rule when it comes to figuring out the average boat insurance prices is that you'll pay about 1.5% of the value of your boat in annual rates. So to insure a boat worth around $50,000, it would cost you only about $750 per year to have it fully insured. 

This is similar to the information you would give out when getting auto insurance, here is the information you would need to provide:

  • The length, type and value of your boat
  • The condition of the boat and the market value
  • How often the boat is used, what it is used for and where you store it
  • The waters you take the boat out on and if you ever charter your boat
  • The experience, loss and claims history of the owners and/or operators
  • Any clubs the owners are members of (Sail Canada, or Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons).

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Have Questions? We've got answers:

The three main categories of coverage on a boat insurance policy in Canada are:

Property coverage: Covers the physical boat and anything permanently attached to it. Amongst other things, this includes the boat motor, fuel tank, oars, and anchors.

Risk coverage: Coverage from theft, capsizing, fire and collision are found here. For other queries, speak to your broker.

Liability insurance coverage: similar to liability auto insurance, liability boat insurance protects you if you injure someone or cause damage to their property.

According to the IBC for a privately owned recreational boat, your insurance options include:

Hull and Machinery: This provides coverage for damages up to the total loss of your boat and attached equipment. (for example the sinking of your boat).

Protection and Indemnity: This provides liability coverage that protects you against property damage and bodily injury. It also provides help with legal and other fees if there is a loss and you are found at fault, the payout would be what was listed in your policy.

Medical Payments: This provides coverage for medical expenses that are incurred due to an accident on your boat.

Boat insurance will provide coverage if your boat if it is stolen, in an accident or damaged by a covered peril (fire or lightning) and will help protect you if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property with your boat.

There are many things you can do to lower the cost of your boat insurance policy:

Choose a higher deductible: You might be able to keep your premium lower if you choose a higher deductible, but by doing so, you could be accepting more risk and covering more of the loss yourself.

Stay claims-free: Obviously one of the ways to keep premiums low is to stay claims-free to be able to maximize available discounts, and here are some suggestions on how you can do that:

What you can do on the water:

  • Never operate your boat while impaired, always navigate and operate your boat safely
  • Don't leave any valuable items onboard
  • Always have safety and emergency equipment ready and available
  • Wear approved lifejackets and PFD's
  • Be familiar with your surroundings and where you boat; make any trip plans and advise a friend
  • Give larger boats extra room
  • Follow markers on the water

What you can do when leaving it in storage:

  • Use locks to immobilize your boat if you store it on a trailer (harder to steal)
  • Use satellite monitoring devices to always know where your boat is
  • Install a security system (if stored inside a private location)
  • If stored outside, make sure it is clear of snow and ice to prevent any damage later on

Another great way is getting a Power Squadron affiliation, this will give a discount. And, if you go with the same company as your home and auto insurance, you can get significant discounts (ie. Intact and Aviva offer bundle discounts for boats.)

And lastly, have you thought about taking some Marine Training? If you are interested in learning the safe navigation of your boat, you may want to consider enrolling in an approved marine training course. It would be beneficial to you in many ways! You'd be more knowledgeable on the water and it could help save you money with your insurance company.

Yes, definitely yes! You always need insurance. And because it is stored elsewhere, does not mean they can be held responsible for any losses. If anything should happen while your boat is in storage, and for the marina to be held accountable, there would have to be proven negligence on their part. For example, if the roof of the marina collapsed and damaged your boat, they have to prove that negligence on their part caused the roof to collapse. (Or was it an accident?). Or, if a raccoon decides to call your boat home, was it the negligence of the marina that let the raccoon in to chew your wires and upholstery? With so many variables to consider, it is much safer to have a year-round boat insurance policy in place. Gives you peace of mind knowing it is protected should anything happen to your boat during the winter months while in storage.

Common winter claims for boats are: vermin damage, theft, vandalism, and storm damage

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