As a boat owner, you know full well the joys and pleasures of heading out on the water, whether you’re on a lake, a bay or running the ocean coastline. In Canada, we have a lot of water to explore. But as with any sport, boating does carry some risks. To really enjoy complete peace of mind while you’re out exploring this summer, you need to be sure you’ve got the right boat insurance to keep you, your loved ones, and your fellow boaters safe and sound.

Just like homeowner’s insurance, boat insurance can be customized for your specific coverage needs. Knowing which types of coverage you need — and in what amounts — is the key to protecting your investment and your finances. Understanding boat insurance starts with knowing the basics. 

Standard coverage types

The first type of standard coverage you’ll need is liability. Liability insurance for your boat is essentially the same type of coverage as liability for your home or auto. There are two types of liability coverage. Property liability covers property damage caused by your boat. For instance, if your boat damages a dock, another boat or some other structure, the liability part of your insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing that damage.

Bodily injury liability is the second type of liability insurance, and it covers medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and similar costs associated with injuries caused by your boat. Bodily injury liability applies to you and any passengers on your boat. And it also applies to people injured by your boat, but who are not on your craft at the time — for instance, a person standing on a dock who’s injured when your boat hits that dock.

The second standard coverage type is replacement insurance. This part of your policy covers the costs of restoring or replacing damaged parts (or in some cases, the entire boat). Like most insurance, replacement insurance is limited in the amount of compensation and in the types of damage it covers. 

Additional coverage

Depending on your specific needs, you might want to add additional coverage to your boat insurance policy. Navigational equipment coverage protects losses to the electronic equipment that helps you guide and operate your boat. Marine navigational equipment can be really expensive, and having this type of coverage can be extremely helpful in covering those costs if any of your equipment is damaged by covered incident types.

Many boat owners also opt for personal effects coverage. Let’s face it: When most of us go boating, we take a lot of equipment with us — fishing equipment, video or music devices, and other items that provide us with entertainment while on the water. If these items get lost or damaged, personal effects coverage will help reimburse you for those losses. 

Policy amounts and limitations

Understanding the types of boat insurance is the first step in customizing your policy. You also need to decide what coverage amounts you want. Again, that depends on a lot of personal factors, like the value of your boat and other covered equipment, how often you use your boat, and what you use it for, among other factors. When it comes to additional coverage, you might also consider your budget and savings — that is, how much could you “afford” to lose if your navigational equipment or personal effects are damaged or lost. It’s also important to understand what’s covered and what’s not, and that means taking the time to really read through your policy so you understand its limitations. Depending on the policy you select, you might not have complete coverage for every loss. Some types of losses, like those associated with your own negligence, might not be covered at all. Understanding the limits of your policy will help you decide if you need additional coverage or an increase in your coverage amounts.

If you want to find out if you’ve got enough insurance for your boat, or if you’d like to learn about other types of boat insurance that can help you stay safe on and off the water, reach out to us to learn how we can help.

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