Boat on cottage country lake with "boat insurance" graphic overlay

Boat insurance basics you need to know

There’s nothing like a summer day out on the water, lounging on a sailboat, zipping around on a personal watercraft or living it up with an afternoon of tubing. Whatever your speed, most outings will be a pure pleasure — but mishaps can happen, so it’s important that you’re protected. Here’s what you need to know about watercraft and boat insurance.

Protect Yourself from Costly Physical Damage

Your boat or personal watercraft can be damaged by another boat on the water, by submerged objects, in transit or by bad weather. Physical damage coverage helps cover the cost of repairs or replacement, so you can get your boat back in shape and on the water without a worry.

Know the Differences Between Agreed Value and Actual Cash Value

Boats can depreciate in value quickly, so agreed value coverage is often a better choice than actual cash value. Agreed value provides a set dollar amount that you and your insurer agree upon, so you always know how much coverage you have for repairs or replacement. Actual cash value coverage is more affordable, but your coverage decreases with depreciation. It typically won’t provide enough funds to replace your boat with a comparable model.

Prioritize Boat Liability Coverage

Although it’s not mandated by Ontario law, liability is the most important coverage for boat and personal watercraft operation. If the worst happens and you are at fault in a watercraft injury or accident, this coverage protects you from costs that can impact your finances today and even well into the future.

Boat liability covers repairs for damage you cause to another boat or dock. As well, if someone is injured and you are found liable, this will cover their medical costs and loss of income. It may also cover associated legal fees. 

Liability coverage is very affordable, and accident costs can add up quickly, so you should choose a limit of coverage that ensures you are well protected.

Never Worry About Marine Rescue Costs

Motors fail, fires can break out and underwater objects or sandbars can strand your boat. With emergency towing coverage, you’ll be able to recoup the cost of towing and repairs, up to a maximum reasonable amount outlined in your policy.

Consider Insurance for Your Gear

The value of life jackets, floatation devices, water skis, fishing gear and other personal items you bring on board really add up. With personal effects coverage, your items will be repaired or replaced if they’re damaged or destroyed.

Avoid Vacation Disappointment

If your boat breaks down or is damaged when you’re on a trip or vacation, the costs aren’t just limited to repairs. You might need to stay in a hotel and eat out for several days or take alternate transportation to get home. Plus, you may want to rent a boat so you can enjoy your time as planned. Available as an option on some boat policies, loss of use and living expenses insurance will cover your expenses and a boat rental during repairs.

Know Where You’re Covered

Boat insurance policies have geographical coverage limits. This means you’ll only be covered within a certain distance of the coastline or in specified territorial waters. If you’re planning to sail down the U.S. coastline or to the Bahamas or Caribbean, talk to your broker about expanded navigation territory coverage.

The boat insurance experts at Stewart Morrison Insurance will make sure you have the right coverage when you head out on the water this summer (and we can make sure your cottage and RV are covered, too). Give us a call today to get a tailored boat insurance quote.