1. Is boat insurance mandatory in Ontario?
Boat insurance is not mandatory in Ontario. That being said, there are certain circumstances when it becomes mandatory, for example, when you finance your boat the bank will want confirmation that the boat is insured for the life of the loan. Also, if you are mooring at a marina, you may be required to carry a certain amount of liability insurance.
2. Why should I insure my boat or personal watercraft?
Boating is a lifestyle choice and one you have worked hard for. By insuring your watercraft you are protecting your investment and your lifestyle against the financial hardship caused by the unexpected, whether damage to your own watercraft, the property of others, or physical injury. With the right type and amount of insurance on your watercraft, you can be protected from the risks that are inherent in everyday life.
3. What is the different between Agreed Value and Actual Cash Value?
Actual Cash Value and Agreed Value are terms that refer to how the insurance company calculates a loss settlement.
Actual Cash value means that the insurer will apply depreciation to the replacement value of the vessel to determine the maximum settlement amount, so you may not receive the full value listed on your policy. To determine the depreciation amount the insurance company will consider all of the following:
– Condition of the vessel immediately prior to the damage,
– Re-sale value of that vessel and,
– Normal life expectancy of the vessel.
Agreed Value means that the insurer agrees to pay the full value listed on your policy declarations page in the event of a total loss; depreciation will not be applied.
An Agreed Value policy is the better option and provides you, the insured, with peace of mind knowing that your investment is protected. See our General questions page for more information.
4. Am I covered while trailering my boat?
When talking about trailering your boat, it’s important to consider the two main parts of a marine insurance policy – the physical damage coverage, and the liability coverage. Generally, marine policies will cover physical damage to the boat while it’s being trailered, and the auto policy will cover liability losses. For example, if you are trailering your watercraft and someone rear-ends you, damaging the watercraft, the marine policy will respond. If your trailer side-swipes another motorist, causing damage to the third party vehicle, your auto policy will respond
5. Why is it important to insure my boat for the correct amount?
Insuring your watercraft for the right amount is very important. If you over-insure your boat you are paying more premium than you need to and if you under-insure your boat and a loss occurs you could be left covering the cost of damage, theft or loss of property out of your own pocket.
6. How much liability coverage do I need?
We recommend a $2 million liability because $1 million does not go far in our litigious society. That being said there are two points to consider.
- If you are mooring your watercraft at a marina, what is the liability limit they require?
- Where are you using your boat? Is it a small private lake with little traffic, or a very busy lake?
7. How can I lower the cost of my insurance policy?
A. Choose a higher deductible
By choosing a higher deductible, your premium may be lower. Keep in mind when you are doing this you are accepting more risk and will be covering more of the loss yourself. Ask your broker to explain the cost implications of different deductibles.
B. Stay claims-free
One of the best ways to minimize premiums is to stay claims-free to maximize available discounts. How do you do this?
On the water:
- Avoid accidents by navigating and operating safely and never while impaired
- Never leave valuables on-board
- Carry safety and emergency equipment
- Wear approved PFDs
- Know where you boat
- Make a trip plan and advise a friend
- Follow markers and the rules of the water
- Give large watercraft extra room
- Consider locking devices to immobilize watercraft stored on a trailer
- Install satellite monitoring systems to monitor whereabouts of the watercraft
- Clear snow and ice to prevent damage
- Install alarm system
- Marine Training
Consider enrolling in a marine training course both for the benefits of learning safe navigation and any discount that your insurance company may offer for completion of such a program. Be sure to check with your broker before enrolling to ensure that the course is an approved course.
8. When should I make a claim?
If you experience a loss that exceeds your deductible, ask your broker what the impact might be on your premium if you make a claim. Weigh the cost of the premium increase vs. the cost of repairing the damage. If you decide to move ahead with a claim report the claim immediately.
9. Why should I insure my watercraft year round?
Claims don’t stop when the boat comes out of the water. Here are just a few of the common winter claims.
- Vermin damage – raccoons love living in boats for the winter
- Storage shed collapse due to storm damage
- Storm Damage
10. If my boat is stored at a marina do I still need insurance?
Yes. Just because your watercraft is stored at a marina does not mean the marina will be held responsible for losses. For example, consider if a marina storage shed collapses causing serious damage to your watercraft. In order for the marina to cover the loss, it must be proven that their negligence led to the collapse of the storage facility. Another example, a raccoon moves into your boat for the winter, chewing the wiring and upholstery. Again, it must be proven that the marina’s negligence caused the raccoons to move in and damage your boat. The way to properly protect yourself is to have a sound 12 month marine insurance policy.
11. Can I winterize my boat myself?
Coverage is excluded for any loss, damage or expense caused by freezing during the layup period unless the vessel was prepared for winter storage by a certified marine mechanic or marina, provided the Insured has retained receipts for the work performed. In other words, the policy will respond only if the boat was professionally winterized.
12. What is emergency towing coverage?
If the insured boat becomes disabled for any reason (ie. it doesn’t have to be a claim), a Northstar policy will reimburse you for emergency services for the following up to the limit on your policy.
- Towing from the site of disablement to the nearest repair facility
- The delivery of fuel or repair parts to the site of disablement, including the cost of the fuel delivered
- The cost of emergency labour performed at the site of disablement
13. How do I cancel my insurance policy?
Your watercraft insurance policy can only be cancelled when we receive a written cancellation request referencing the policy number and cancellation date, signed by all named insureds. If you forward a cancellation request to our office please call to confirm its receipt.
14. If my policy is on a monthly payment plan and is up for renewal do I need to do anything?
If your policy is on a monthly payment the payments will automatically continue for the next policy term. Nothing need be done on your part. You will be sent a new billing schedule showing the date and amounts of the withdrawals.
15. Do I need to carry proof of insurance with me on my watercraft?
You do not need to carry proof of insurance with you on your watercraft as this is not required by law.
16. Who can drive my watercraft?
Drivers do not need to be listed on the policy. Anyone who a) is legally eligible to operate the watercraft and b) has your permission, can operate the vessel. Any exception to this will be listed on your policy.