Like many Ontarians, you may be heading out on the lake this Canada Day weekend. If you have a boat or Sea-doo, you might be wondering if watercraft insurance is mandatory. While watercraft insurance is not legally required in Ontario, it is strongly recommended for many important reasons. When you are on the water for a fun day in the sun, the last thing you would expect is an accident. However, accidents do happen and without insurance, you are responsible to pay out of pocket for damage caused by an accident involving your watercraft. Having watercraft insurance in place can help prevent you from paying these out of pocket expenses. When purchasing an insurance policy, here are some of the important factors to consider.
Watercraft Liability Coverage
If you get into an accident while operating a boat or Sea-doo, you could be found legally liable. Liability coverage includes two types of coverage, bodily injury and property damage. If you injure someone while operating a watercraft, bodily Injury liability coverage may help provide payment for medical bills and other related costs such as loss of income. Similarly, property damage coverage would kick in to help cover the costs of repairing or replacing another person’s property damaged in an accident involving your boat. It is important to understand that liability coverage does not provide payment for injury to yourself or damage to your own property. However, this type of coverage can be purchased.
Physical Damage Coverage
Physical damage coverage generally pays to replace or repair damage to your boat caused by a number of perils, which can include wind, rain, fire, theft, vandalism or collisions with objects such as docks, rocks or other boats.
Additional coverages can include coverage for medical payments for you, if injured in a boating accident, personal property for items such as clothing, GPS and fishing equipment (while aboard your boat), and emergency towing expenses.
Here are some other helpful tips to consider when thinking about watercraft insurance.
- Did you know, if your watercraft is stored on a trailer it should be rendered inoperable? Some insurance companies require you to lock your trailer with a dedicated locking device for theft coverage to apply.
- If you travel with your watercraft, be sure to review your policy’s navigational limits. If you plan to leave the province or travel more than 2000 km, this may affect your coverage.
- Did you know there is often a lay-up period required? Most insurance companies require your watercraft be laid up on land and winterized from November 30th to April 1st for coverage to apply.
How much coverage do I need?
When purchasing an insurance policy it is always best to discuss with your insurance broker to determine what type of coverage and limits best suit you. Contact us today to discuss your watercraft insurance needs.