Boat Insurance, British Columbia
Your residential insurance policies can only provide limited coverage for watercraft – usually $2,000 to $3,000. Liability is also restricted, depending on the type and size of your watercraft.
This is why a separate boat insurance policy or a policy for a watercraft rider on your home insurance is necessary if you own a boat of any noticeable size or value.
Call us for all of your boat insurance needs.
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Why you should have boat insurance
It is not legally required to purchase boat insurance in British Columbia. However, the smart boater will take the necessary time to educate themselves about the benefits of an insurance policy that will protect the property, but also a potential liability.
There are two very good reasons to insure your watercraft:
- to protect your valuable asset
- to protect yourself from the possibility of liability
Should you get into an accident, and if you happen to cause damage to property or, worst case, hurt someone, if you don’t have insurance, you could be putting everything you own at risk.
Boat insurance Q & A
What kind of boat insurance should I get?
It really depends on the type of boat you own. If you have a kayak or canoe – watercraft with no horsepower, low value, and minimal liability – it is easily added to your existing home insurance policy. If you own a larger sailboat, however, or a powerboat, you need a dedicated marine insurance policy.
An ‘all risk’ policy will cover you for many types of losses. Be aware that there are exceptions, so it’s important that you read the fine print.
Where do I purchase boat insurance?
Boat insurance can be more complicated, so choose a broker with marine experience, who is able to design a package for your specific needs.
WVINS insurance offers informed, expert agents who can answer all of your questions and provide you with the insurance you need.
What questions should I ask an agent?
It’s always better to be prepared. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- What is covered in a policy, what extensions are included, and what warranties (conditions) are required?
- How will I be paid in the event of a claim? Coverage is available in two ways:
- “Agreed Value” – in the case of a Total Loss, you’ll receive the limit identified on the policy.
- “Actual Cash Value” – replacement cost, minus depreciation.
Why is liability insurance important for a watercraft?
There’s always a chance of an accident so it’s important that all of your assets are protected. In Canada, the Marine Liability Act specifies that a boat owner is legally responsible for up to $1.5 million in the event of an accident. You will pay if you are found liable.
When should I purchase boat insurance?
From the time you take the title of the boat, and before it leaves the dealership, you should have insurance coverage. Also ask your insurance agent about how any deposits on a boat are protected, and what the insurance covers – while your boat is on order, and before it arrives at the boat dealer. You will want to request a certificate of insurance, and to be added to their policy as a loss payee, in the event something happens to it.
When you borrow money to purchase a boat, insurance is not optional, it will be required by the bank.
What is the recommended budget for insurance?
In most cases, if the value of your powerboat is under $100,000, expect to pay 1% of the insured value, or approximately $1,000 a year. If you own a $500,000 vessel expect to pay about .5% of its value.
Is there a difference between boat and yacht insurance?
The rule of thumb is that boats are typically considered 26 feet and smaller. yachts, on the other hand, are larger than 27 feet.
Coverage for yachts is typically broader, yet more specialized given that larger boats tend to be travelled further with distinct exposures, compared to smaller ones.
Boat insurance will typically vary by boat type and length, by the cost of the boat and the degree of coverage you want and need. There are some watercraft that can be insured as a rider on a homeowner’s policy. However, homeowner’s coverage may not be as good as that of a dedicated marine policy.
Are there any discounts on marine insurance?
Once you have owned and operated your boat responsibly for three to five years, are claims-free and have taken courses through Canadian Power and Sail Squadron or Sail Canada, you can qualify for discounts.
There are no discounts available for simply carrying the requisite Pleasure Craft Operator Card. That would be the equivalent of qualifying for a discount just for having a driver’s license.
Will my boat be insured when I’m not using it?
Yes, as with any insurance, when you purchase an annual policy, your watercraft is covered no matter where it is – in transit, in storage, on the water, and throughout the off-season. Risks don’t stop just because the boat isn’t being used. On the contrary, it’s more likely to incur damages, or even sink, when you’re not there. For instance, more electrical fires occur in colder months.
Is it possible for my insurance be voided?
Yes. Should you be involved in criminal activity – illegal drinking on your boat – your insurance will be void.
The boat needs a trailer. Is it insured, too?
ICBC requires your trailer to have a license plate and liability insurance. Physical damage can be added to your boat policy for Agreed Value.