Understanding Boat Insurance
For anyone who lives near a large body of water in Ontario, boats of various sizes are a part of the picture, especially during the long summer months. Ranging from small fishing boats to leisure craft to Personal Water Craft (PWC) you will inevitably find something dashing along the sun dappled water or gently bobbing in the ripples.
If you are the lucky owner of a boat you may, or may not, be familiar with the insurance needed to ensure your prized watercraft is protected in the event of an accident. Although boat insurance is not required by law in Ontario, it will give you piece of mind in case of an accident and can cover you for the following:
- Liability – injury to passengers on board or aboard other watercraft. Passengers on tubers or skiers being towed, or others in the water
- Damage to the boat including theft or loss of attached equipment
- Damage caused by your boat or watercraft on someone else’s property
- Vermin Damage – raccoons love a comfy boat to hide in during the winter months!
You need a Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) to legally operate a motorboat in Canada. Anyone driving a boat without one not only risks a $250 fine, but may also void any insurance policy in place. When choosing the right coverage for your watercraft, insurance providers consider many factors which include but are not limited to:
- the type, size and age of the watercraft
- the size of the engine
- the value of the boat
- the location of the boats usage (small lake or large open body of water)
- where you will store the boat during the winter months
- who will be operating the boat – some watercraft have restrictions on who can operate them. For example, PWC’s can not be operated by anyone under the age of 16.
When speaking to your insurance broker about getting the correct coverage for your boat or watercraft, you will need to let them know if you plan on taking your boat on long voyages as some insurance companies may have restrictions on how far you can travel, both on and off the water.
If you have something small such as a kayak, canoe or paddle-boat you may be able to have these covered under your homeowners or seasonal owners insurance policy. Talk to your insurance broker and they will help you find the correct coverage you need.