• Getting the right insurance for your fishing or pleasure boat

    June 10th, 2021Christopher Johnson

    In Quebec, we are incredibly fortunate to have access to many bodies of water: lakes, rivers, the St. Lawrence River—all for the delight of the province’s pleasure boating and watersports enthusiasts!

    With summer just around the corner, you might be shopping for a boat. Or, if you’re already a proud boat owner, you are probably getting it ready to launch (if not already done)! Whatever the case may be, we strongly recommend that you insure your investment.

    Boat insurance is a little-known product in Quebec because it is not mandatory. However, it is in your best interest to obtain such coverage to protect your financial assets!

    In this article, Assurances Multi-Risques wants to give you a few tips to help you choose the right insurance based on the type of boat you want to insure.

    Insuring your boat in Quebec

    First, you should be aware that your homeowner’s or rental insurance covers boats. However, it may not meet your needs because each insurer has their own limitations.

    In fact, certain insurers agree to cover your boat if its motor has a horsepower of less than 50 or if it is under 25 feet in length, while other insurers may have quite different criteria. That’s why it’s important to check this information with your broker or insurance agent!

    You should also be aware that most insurers cover you for a maximum amount of $1,000 only (this amount may vary from one insurer to the next), which is not very much. And, since every home insurance policy is different, guaranteed coverage for boats differs from one insurer to another once again! For example, the coverage provided by your home insurance may not cover marine-related risks such as salvage work, wreck removal or pollution or environmental damage.

    However, if you own a kayak or canoe, for example, this coverage may very well suit you.

    The best thing to do is to contact an insurance broker specializing in marine insurance. They can answer your questions based on your situation and needs, and offer you sound advice on the best steps to take to be properly covered!

    What does boat insurance cover?

    Insurance against physical damage to your boat may include the boat itself, the motors (inboard and outboard), the trailer, the equipment and contents of the boat and the depthfinder (to detect your next catch).

    And what about civil liability?

    In Canada, if you own a boat, you are required to take out an insurance policy including a civil liability section. This protects you in the event of an accident. It covers:

    • Damages caused to other property by your boat
    • Injuries sustained by passengers on the boat at the time of the accident
    • Injuries sustained by other people (not on the boat)

    In addition, you are required to possess a “pleasure craft operator card” to operate a motorized vessel.

    When you request a quote from your broker or insurer, you will need to let them know who the driver(s) of your boat will be. The age, experience and qualifications of the operator(s) will be taken into account in determining the pricing of your insurance premiums.

    Are you more of a Gilligan or a Christopher Columbus?

    Of course, you’ll surely agree that insurance for an experienced sailor making their way along the east coast of the United States on a $100,000 catamaran en route to the Antilles will be quite different to that for a fisherman with a simple launch.

    You will therefore need boat insurance that suits the type of boat you own and that will take your desired boating destinations into account. If you plan to stay within Canada’s inland waterways, most insurers will agree to insure you. However, we recommend that you ask your broker or insurer about the scope of the territory you are allowed to sail in to be covered.

    The cost of boat insurance

    As with homeowner’s or car insurance, several criteria have to be taken into account when it comes to calculating your boat insurance premiums. For example, an insurer takes the following factors into consideration, among others:

    • The type of boat (sailboat, catamaran, motorboat, fishing boat, jet boat, high-performance or race boat, pontoon, runabout, watersports boat, yacht, etc.)
    • The length of the boat
    • Its purchase price or current value
    • The model of the boat
    • The waterway(s) on which you plan to use your boat
    • Its use: fishing, watersports, pleasure, etc.
    • The number of motors and their horsepower
    • Where it will be moored: at the dock at your cottage, at your home, in a marina, a boat shed, etc.
    • Where it will be stored in winter (dry-docked)

    Most importantly, we recommend that you tell the truth, because if not, you could end up with serious problems in the event of a disaster (accident, theft, fire). Your insurer might even refuse to pay your claim. So pulling a Pinocchio really isn’t worth it!

    Boat insurance is no simple matter!

    Not at all! Why? Because every insurer is different and uses different criteria to calculate your premiums. Some insurance companies won’t insure you without a pre-insurance survey (carried out by surveyors approved by them). Some offer the boat’s replacement value, while others do not, etc.

    So if you decide to compare what different insurance companies have to offer, don’t rely on price alone! You need to analyze what each insurance company offers in detail to be sure that you’re properly covered!

    Conclusion

    With this article, our goal was to demystify boat insurance and its terms to give you a clearer picture of it. But the content of this article constitutes only the tip of the iceberg!

    Insurance is a complex field with countless details and restrictions. That’s the reason we exist! An independent insurance broker is an insurance expert.

    At Assurances Multi-Risques, we specialize in home, car AND boat insurance! So if you don’t have the time to shop for your insurance, or if you feel overwhelmed and don’t know which insurance product would be right for you at the best possible price, don’t hesitate to contact us!

    *Figures provided for illustrative purposes only