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Know your boat policy

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on July 26th, 2021

When it comes to steering your boat clear of risk, there could be rough waters ahead. Especially without the right coverage.

As a recreational boat owner, the last thing you want is to get caught in a legal battle due to injury or physical damage resulting from your craft. Boat insurance can protect all motorized watercraft vehicles, from jet skis to yachts, in the case of side-swiping a dock or most importantly, should your passengers or anyone else be injured.

Prior to your boat insurance purchase or renewal, it’s important to know what the policy covers, what it doesn’t and how to make sure it backs you when it needs it most.

While boat insurance is not mandatory in Canada, it can cover damage, liability, and other unforeseen events. Marinas will likely require the boat owner to carry a certain amount of liability insurance.

HUB SmartCoverage’s Pleasurecraft Program, for example, features agreed-on value and all-risks hull and machinery coverage, rescue, protection for accidental discharge of fuel or chemicals, the right liability coverage, and more. Discounts are also available for operators who have completed accredited boating safety courses such as with the Canadian Sail and Power Squadrons.

Know what’s NOT covered

Coverage exclusions based on waters travelled and type of craft may come as a surprise to boat owners, so be sure to investigate potential policy exclusions. Here are a few common ones:

  • Many carriers base coverage on where you usually use your boat, so there may be navigational limits. To plan a longer cruise, you may need to add coverage for additional regions. Make sure to review the navigational territories allowed in your policy.
  • Some carriers don’t cover damage resulting from vermin, for example, raccoon or squirrel damage. This is especially an issue for boats in layup for an extended period.
  • Not all carriers cover issues arising from ice and freezing. When they do, they require the boat to have been winterized in accordance with proper manufacturer instructions and/or by an authorized marine service centre.
  • When collecting on a claim of theft, carriers will want to see visible signs of forced entry. Most issues of boat theft can be avoided by simply locking up valuables when not on board.
  • While coverage doesn’t stop when you put your vessel into a layup, if you have a layup warranty, you can’t operate your vessel during that time and coverage could be denied if you have a loss.

Know what IS covered

All standard, domestic boat policies are annual, not seasonal, and are considered “all-risk” policies, so that if the cause of loss is not specifically excluded from your policy, it’s automatically considered a covered loss. Consult your policy on the following items to determine coverage and claim limits:

  • Should you and your boat be the cause of an accident or injury to a person or property, for example, a boat, pier, buoy, or dock, or should your boat catch fire or be the victim of theft or vandalism, boat insurance will help cover the loss.
  • Uninsured Watercraft Coverage could pay for injuries to you, your family, or anyone on your boat when the accident was at the hand of an uninsured boater.

Don’t navigate the waters alone

Thousands of recreational boating accidents occur annually. Make sure you’re properly covered for your risk. Should you be the cause or the victim of an accident, you don’t want to be left without boating insurance specialists on your crew. Contact your insurance broker for more detailed information so you can just enjoy the water!

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