Summer is right around the corner, this means it’s time to get the boat polished up and put back into the water for the season! For some reason though, there’s a handful of people who feel they are invincible when they get behind the wheel of a boat. The harsh reality is that accidents can happen. With the waterways in Muskoka getting busier by the day, we at HRC feel we should go over a few key points regarding insuring your watercraft.
In Ontario, you are legally not obligated to purchase insurance for your pleasure craft. Now, just because you don’t have to buy insurance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look into it. Usually, the policies will cover most things such as liability coverage for injury, damage to the boat itself, theft, or damage caused by the boat.
There are some situations where you may need insurance. If you are storing your boat with a marina they may require you to provide insurance information. If you are choosing to finance your watercraft, the financing company may also require insurance information.
Although insurance isn’t required in Ontario, your Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) is required if you wish to operate any type of watercraft. If you are caught operating a boat without your card you can risk a $250 fine and could void your insurance policy.
There is a range of things that can affect the premiums on your policy such as size, value, lake/location, year, motor size, and more. Premiums will increase if the value of the boat, trailer or accessories increases.
Stand-Alone Policy vs. Home Policy
It is possible, in most scenarios, to include a watercraft on a home insurance policy. This creates a convenient and cheaper solution to insuring your boat. However, paying a bit more to get a stand-alone policy might be a better option. A home insurance policy does not provide the same coverage as a stand-alone policy. A claim on your boat would also be considered a claim on your home and you may loose your claims free discount.
Insurance companies may require a qualified marine surveyor to do a full marine survey for certain boats. For a low cost, they will do a full appraisal evaluation of your boat. The report will then be evaluated by the insurer who then decides whether or not insurance can be provided and for how much.
Winter Storage / Lay-up Period
The location of where the boat is being stored over the winter months can be very important. If damage is caused to the watercraft from snow then this can be costly and possibly won’t be covered by your policy. Also, most boat policies include a lay-up period where the boat must be out of the water (winter months), so if the watercraft is used during this period then it will not be covered by the policy. Be sure to ask your broker about these when looking into your insurance.
If you are looking to insure a watercraft, be sure to give us a call or come into one of our locations today so we can help you get the right coverage!