There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to boat insurance in Ontario. Prices can rise and fall like the waves depending on the client, and it isn’t just about whether or not they’re capable on the water. Different factors affect the price you pay for your coverage. Portside Insurance wants to help you avoid bloated prices, so we’ve put together a list of things that will affect the cost of your insurance. Let’s get started!
Type of Boat
The type of watercraft you’re insuring will affect the cost of your insurance. A smaller boat will often cost less than a larger one. Length, speed, and size are taken into consideration by your provider when they give you a quote. Speedier seafarers will cost you more because they’re considered more hazardous.
When it comes to boats with engines, an inboard engine is more expensive than an outboard one. It’s also important to know what kind of boat you’re buying; it might seem like a deal to get a boat second-hand, but if it is all but obsolete on the market then it may be difficult to find parts for it if you need repairs. These boats will therefore cost more to insure.
Insuring a yacht will be considerably more expensive than doing so with a dinghy. Of course, you definitely want more coverage for a high-value piece of property. You’re not just buying peace of mind but rather protecting your investment. Parts for high-value boats cost more than those for cheaper vessels, which means you’ll be paying more for repairs. If you don’t have full coverage and you have an accident, you’ll have to pay the exceeding amount out of pocket. Those bills can add up quickly.
If you’re taking out a loan to finance your boat, you’re likely going to need an insurance policy, so make sure to get one that covers depreciation since that can lower a boat’s value. An insurance company will often offer either an agreed value price on the boat or a market value price. It sets a price payout in case of massive damage in an accident or mishap.
Storage and Usage
Regular boat insurance will cover your boat while it’s on the water. If you want to store your boat at a marina, you need to have some kind of insurance to protect you from vandalism, theft, and property damage. You should therefore have year-round insurance active for your vessel, regardless of where you store it, so that you can account for possible losses. Your boat can be damaged by frost or wind, any collapses of the structure you store it in, or by pests who choose to shelter in it over the colder months. If you plan to store it at home over the winter, you should talk to your insurance provider about bundling your boat insurance with your home and auto policies to save money. Also, your boat can sustain damage when it’s travelling back to and from the lake, so there’s another important reason to have an active insurance policy in effect.
How much you use your boat over the year also affects your insurance premiums as well. The more you take your boat out on the water, the more chances it has of being damaged. Where the boat is used also can affect your premiums because some places are simply safer for boating than others, or require a little less navigational experience. Small lakes, though more constricting, are known to be less risky than sailing on open oceans and international waters. All of this can be discussed with your insurance provider.
Previous Claims and Credit History
If you’ve already made several claims on your insurance due to boating accidents, your premiums will go up. Staying safe on the water will make a huge difference. An insurance company will likely perform a background check on your history with other insurance companies. Accidents behind the wheel of a car matter just as much to insurance providers as boating accidents, and if you’re an unsafe driver, your insurance company will understandably raise your premium. DUIs will make an impact in this regard as well. When you’re getting insurance, your provider may also carry out a credit check and set your premiums accordingly based on their findings.
Take precautions to avoid accidents, as having sufficient safety equipment on board isn’t only smart for you and your passengers. Your provider will appreciate your effort to reduce risk on the water, and you can shrink the cost of your insurance as a result. This goes beyond life jackets and life rafts; get an automatic fire extinguisher system, install a GPS system and radar, and consider investing in a depth finder to avoid underwater rock collisions.
Don’t forget that there are also mandatory safety tools you must bring onto the boat with you, such as a waterproof flashlight and a sound-signalling device. A full list can be found on the Transport Canada website. Until these things are onboard, your boat shouldn’t be out on the water. And, before you leave the dock, always examine your safety equipment to make sure it is in working condition.
Invest in yourself. The more training you have on a boat, the lower your insurance will be. This includes taking various courses. Make sure you take accredited courses only, though, because otherwise your insurance rate may not be lowered. Providers want to know that you can properly handle yourself on the water. Likewise, the more years and experience you have boating, the better your insurance quote will be, as new boaters statistically end up having more accidents.
At a minimum, all boat operators in Ontario are required to have an Ontario boating license (also known as a Pleasure Craft Operator Card). You can get your boating license online. It generally takes around 4 hours to study the boating safety course and pass the Transport Canada Pleasure Craft Operator Card exam. Once you have passed the exam you will be able to print your temporary Pleasure Craft Operator Card and go boating straight away.
Some providers will offer discounts when you bundle policies, insure multiple boats, have a certain amount of years boating accident-free, or have taken certain courses. It is prudent to speak to your insurance company about their discount. You won’t get a discount for holding a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, however, which is required by law in the first place if you plan on operating a craft with a motor.
At Portside Insurance, we’re dedicated to getting you the most affordable price possible on boat insurance. We consider all the factors and will find a policy tailored specifically to you. Ready to get out on the water? We don’t blame you! Contact us today to get a quote.