Boating time approaches: Preparing clients

March 2, 2022
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Original authors Insurance Business Canada.

Spring is around the corner and Canadians are patiently waiting for boating season to arrive.

For brokers, now is the perfect opportunity to check in with clients about boating insurance coverage and provide some advice on what owners should consider before they set sail.

“For watercrafts, it’s always good to remind clients to check their life jackets or whistles, and ensure they’re on the boat,” said Jessica Elliott, account manager at Gifford Carr Insurance Group. “It’s also important to check that ropes aren’t frayed and that mice haven’t chewed through electrical wires.”

Safety protocols are essential no matter the boat size. For larger watercrafts, clients may need to bring in a technician for maintenance checks or servicing.

There are so many potential exposures for personal boat owners, and brokers need to proactively communicate risks that can be easily overlooked.

“Knowledge is power,” Elliott emphasized. “At Gifford Carr, we often use social media to get information out and provide a resource to our community. How to prepare for boating season and tips to improve maintenance habits would be included in our social channels this spring.”

There are a variety of resources brokers can provide to clients, whether it be around bringing boats out for the spring or putting boats away in the winter.

“There are new boaters, but many clients have been in boats since they were children and in a community with a marina that can also provide them with advice,” she added.

Elliott noted that, for brokers, the focus should be on having coverage built for clients in the event of damage or a loss.

“Watercraft policies are generally very comprehensive. Having wreck removal and protection against vermin damage are important to build into a policy,” she continued. “Depending on the size of a watercraft, owners assume that there is coverage under their home policy.”

Fishing boats can be an extension of a home policy, but, according to Elliott, it is better to insure a watercraft on its own so there are no protection gaps.

“If a client has a brand-new watercraft, depending on the type of extension they may have on a home policy, there may be exclusions for wreck removal, and guaranteed replacement costs,” she said.

When clients have a specific marine policy, the protection is more comprehensive with fewer exclusions.

“Of course, every insurance company is different and has their own exclusionary trends, meaning brokers need to have conversations with clients, find out what they’re looking for, and evaluate their needs accordingly,” Elliott commented.

A notable exclusion that brokers should remind clients about is coverage if they’re operating their watercraft in US versus Canadian waters.

“As brokers, we need to look at our clients’ policies and make sure there is coverage on the waters they are operating in,” she said.

Read next: How To Get Your Boat Ready For Summer


Renewal season is quickly approaching for marine clients and Elliott mentioned that brokers should be getting ahead of renewals more than a month in advance to communicate any changes that may have occurred since last year.

“The pandemic caused boat sales to skyrocket and there are a lot of new policies in place that need to be maintained,” she said. “But rates have stayed relatively consistent.”

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