Did you know that Ontario’s more than 250,000 lakes contain about one-fifth of the world’s fresh water (source: Ontario Government). With all the waterfronts across our province, not to mention all the stunning rivers flowing through some of our great cities, it’s no wonder recreational boating has become a trending hobby when the weather heats up. It was reported in 2019 over 40% of Ontario residents participating in boating, and that was before the increase in boat ownership throughout the pandemic.
Boat insurance policies compensate for losses caused by fire, weather, theft and accidents. Coverage can also include passenger liability, equipment, trailers and water-skiing liability.
Factors considered in your boat coverage:
- Boat size and value
- Years experience on the water (in a similar watercraft)
- Age of the driver/operator
- Claims history
- Driving convictions history (of boats and cars)
- Boat operator training (ie. enhanced certifications, above and beyond the mandatory Ontario Pleasure Craft Operator license)
- Modifications or enhancements to the vessel
- Location (where it’s operated)
Types of watercraft we cover:
- Fishing, Bass, Cruiser or Float (Pontoon) Boats
- Seadoo or Jet Ski
- Speed, Water ski or Wakeboard Boats
Benefits of our Boat Coverage package could include:
- Boat towing
- Trip planning
- Boat value/resale assistance
- Health and legal assistance
- Concierge services
With boat coverage it is important to note, all watercraft policies contain warranties, which are conditions, you must follow to keep your coverage in place. These include:
- Locking and securing your watercraft
- Waters navigated (ie. location of use)
- Type of use (ie. recreational vs business)
- Storage and lay-up your watercraft (including proper winterizing and storage for the off season)
Gifford Carr is Proud Members of Boating Ontario.
Is it mandatory to have boat insurance in Ontario?
It is not.
Boat insurance, as a type of property insurance coverage, is not mandatory in Ontario, but it is highly recommended. There are instances where the location you are holding your boat requires insurance, like a marina or lender. Similar to how a landlord can require proof of tenants insurance for your rental property or a bank can require proof of insurance for your mortgage.
Do I have coverage while my boat is on a trailer?
Not automatically. For your boat itself, you would be required to have coverage for the vessel separate of your car insurance. Most insurers have inclusion for a trailer included, up to a certain size (but every insurer company is different, so subject to policy exclusion). Once you get into mega yachts and large watercraft requiring heavy lifting to get them out of the water, different policies and coverages need to be considered.
In terms of liability coverage should an accident happen while you are towing your boat, the liability coverage for your car would extend for third party damage. It is important to note, the liability extends from the policy of the vehicle towing the boat – but always best to connect with your broker to confirm the details of your policy.
I use my boat to charter guests, do I need to change my insurance?
When you charter paying guests on your watercraft it is considered commercial exposure. We need to let your insurer company know to ensure the coverage you need is in place and a business extension to your policy can be added if needed.
How does depreciation affect the value of my coverage?
Understandably when you buy a brand new boat you want to ensure if something happens, you are covered for the full value of your new water toy. Replacement cost on your watercraft can change based on the age of the vessel. Most insurers offer replacement cost of the watercraft up to a certain age (can be anywhere from 5-10 years) and then change to Actual Cash Value.
Replacement cost is full retail value of the boat, including taxes. The retail value is determined using a bill of sale.
Actual cash value is resale value of the watercraft, as outlined in your coverage, at the time of the loss. So if you make modifications and upgrades to your boat, let us know so your policy is up to date to cover the right value.
Do I need boat coverage year round?
Like any recreational property, most insurer companies take into account the seasonal use of your boat. Your policy will incur the bulk of your risk in the summer months when they are primarily in use, but it is important to keep coverage in the winter to protect your (liquid) asset from damage and theft. This is why most insurer companies quote your boat coverage policy with the seasonal use in mind.