How To Insure A Boat In BC

How To Insure A Boat In BC

Whether you’re becoming a first-time boat owner or have been relying on your homeowner’s insurance to cover a vessel you already have, it’s time to consider getting separate boat insurance. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to insure a boat in BC, ensuring you can sail smoothly and with an absolute peace of mind. 

Do You Need to Insure Your Boat in BC?

Legally speaking, no, you don’t have to have boat insurance to operate a boat in BC. That being said, you’ll probably still want to get it. Homeowners’ insurance won’t adequately cover your vessel in case of an accident, and the amount of coverage you get can vary significantly. Without separate insurance for your boat, you could end up paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for repairs, injuries, medical bills, legal fees, and more. Furthermore, if you want to dock at a marina, they will likely require you to have boat insurance in the first place.

How Do I Get Boat Insurance? 

The insurer in question will need to know a few things about your vessel so that they can give you a quote. These include the following:

  • Vessel length, type, and value
  • Age and condition of vessel, as they can depreciate in value as the years go on
  • Boat usage frequency and use case (pleasure cruises, fishing, etc.)
  • Where and how the boat is stored
  • Where you sail (specific lakes, ocean coastlines, rivers, etc.)
  • Navigational experience and previous insurance history
  • Whether you’ve taken boating courses and/or sail competitively

What Kind of Insurance Do You Need for a Boat?

Boat policies have a variety of coverages built into them. Talk to your provider about what their standard policy will offer you. Some providers may offer additional coverages built into the price of their standard policy. With others, you may have to pay extra to get them. Here are the coverages you should expect to be provided with your boat, as well as some you should consider adding on. 

Collision Damage

Collision damage coverage will cover the repair or replacement of the boat, which can save you thousands of dollars. The one caveat is that you might not get towing services or salvage coverage. Those are often offered as separate insurance add-ons, which you should consider including in your package since the cost can otherwise be high.

Property Damage

This coverage is for when you’re an at-fault driver. If you hit another boat, a dock, or other property and cause damage, you’ll be insured for any damages caused as a result. Even if you’re a careful and considerate navigator on the water, accidents can still happen where you inadvertently are the one responsible for an incident. 

Injury Liability Coverage

As a boat owner, you are responsible for the safety of your passengers. That means if someone onboard is injured during the collision, you can be sued, especially if it is found that you were negligent. Injury liability coverage covers legal fees, the cost of medical bills, prescription drugs for injuries caused by the accident, and loss of income as a result of those injuries. 


Comprehensive Coverage

This is another kind of coverage that doesn’t necessarily come with your policy but that you should get either way, especially if you plan to leave your boat docked at a marina or at the cottage over the winter. It covers incidences of vandalism, theft, fire, and floods. Depending on your provider, it can even cover personal property of value like fishing gear and speakers. 

Coverage Value

There are two kinds of payouts if you make a claim: actual cash value and agreed value. With agreed value, you and your provider will decide how much your boat is worth when you sign the papers. That’s how much you’ll get if your vessel is damaged beyond repair. Talk to your provider about what exactly is covered by agreed value, especially since not all policies are created equal and some may cover more in terms of repair expenses than others. This is a great option for boat owners, largely since it consists of an easy application process and usually covers more than actual cash value. 

If you go with the actual cash value option, you’ll receive the value of the boat at the time of the crash. Boats naturally depreciate over time and are subject to wear and tear that comes with use, which is taken into consideration when the actual cash value is determined. Actual cash value approaches are generally more cost-effective than when choosing an agreed value. It also means an easier claims process, which will take some stress out of your life. 

How Much Does Insurance Cost?

The average cost of insuring a boat varies depending on the type of vessel in question, its length, and how you plan to use it, which is why your insurance provider will want that information upfront. Other factors that can affect the cost of your insurance are your experience and whether your boating license is in good standing, courses that you’ve taken, the horsepower of the boat itself, your gender and age, and your credit score. The overall value of your vessel comes into play as well. A non-powered boat like a canoe will cost much less to insure than a yacht, for instance. Alternatively, the average powerboat costs a few hundred dollars a year to insure, and the price varies based on the previously mentioned factors. 

Having a proper insurance policy in place is like keeping a life jacket on board; it’s there to keep you afloat (in this case, financially) when an accident happens. While it’s easy to feel adventurous and excited at the prospects of waterborne fun and exploration, you should take every precaution to ensure your own safety beforehand. At Portside Insurance, we don’t skim over the details. We’re dedicated to finding the best boat insurance policy for you. Contact us today for more information.

9 Types of Boats You Should Consider Insuring

How Much Is Boat Insurance In Ontario

Interested in taking to the water this summer in Canada? We don’t blame you. Our team at Portside Marine Insurance is proud to offer a wide range of suitable policies, each refined to align with the needs and budgets of watercraft owners. That being said, boat varieties are a dime a dozen, and it can feel overwhelming in deciding which is ideal for you but also insurable. Today, to help you make a well-informed purchasing decision, let’s take a stroll down the promenade of common vessel types that are ideally suited to our marine insurance policies.

Aluminum Fishing Boats

Simple in design and functionality, aluminum fishing boats are small, single-motor vessels. Their straightforward construction and minimal number of features, although containing plenty of seating and open space, make them a great choice for casting lines from either the port or starboard side. The propulsion unit, usually a single propellor and diesel or gas combustion engine housed in an outboard motor, is stern-mounted and can be turned on a 180-degree axis to help steer the vessel without the use of oars (though those are also available in a pinch). If you have trailer boat insurance, it will cover your aluminum fishing boat in the event of an accident, theft, or damage.


Zippy, nimble and lightweight, Seadoo vessels are small pleasure watercraft designed for speed and maneuverability. Usually capable of having space for a driver and passenger, their steering system is not unlike a bicycle or motorcycle; port and starboard handles are affixed to the driver’s dashboard housing, which features a windshield to protect onboard electronics. This housing can rotate, steering the vessel, so there’s no outboard motor. If you’re considering owning one of these, wearing a lifejacket is just as important as with any other boating choice, and having small craft insurance – or better still, dedicated Seadoo insurance – is essential for hassle-free repairs and agreed value coverage.

Bass Boats

Do you have bass boat insurance and a vessel classified as such? If so, we’re a little envious! These are wonderful choices for coastal fishing and can operate with ease in shallow waters as little as two feet in depth. With comfortable seating and room for standing while remaining balanced, their open-concept, outboard motor design makes them easy to maneuver. Usually, the driver and one or two passengers have plenty of space from which to cast off, and other features including an aerated livewell for catches and plenty of engine horsepower means you can not only look after the fish you collect but get back to shore in a timely manner.


Beautiful and sleek, sailboats always draw attention from the shore with their majestic, towering form. These are wonderful boats for day trips, sightseeing, and even pleasure cruises stopping in multiple docks along coastal areas. Propelled by large, billowing sails in addition to emergency backup motors if the weather isn’t quite so cooperative, they usually include plenty of open deck and cabin space, the latter of which normally features sleeping accommodations and a bathroom. There’s also plenty of storage onboard, perfect for when travelling with children or multiple passengers. 

Charter Boats

It’s crucial that you have charter boat insurance if you plan on renting a vessel out to others, even if you have someone able-bodied and experienced at the helm. Charter vessels include everything from sightseeing pleasure craft to ocean-ready fishing trawlers and even personal yachts. They’re usually booked for a long-distance itinerary such as out to the middle of Lake Ontario for fishing or a pleasure cruise stopping at multiple destinations. Setting this itinerary is known as a charter, hence the term and subsequent important charter boat insurance policies. Should your vessel become damaged, stolen, or otherwise, your plan can cover repair costs or even reimbursement for loss of the boat in question.

Jet Boats

With their sleek, aerodynamic form and state-of-the-art jet motors – usually two of them – jet boats offer a thrilling and fun new way to take to Canada’s many waterways and lakes. However, they demand a highly experienced driver with lightning-quick reflexes, not to mention a sharp eye. Propulsion systems are contained inside the hull itself rather than hanging outboard, lending to their increased agility and therefore reducing drag while cruising at high speed. With plenty of seating and even sunning areas, they make a great choice for a day trip or pleasure cruise, but it’s crucial that you’re well aware of the conditions around you including depth, obstructions such as rocks, and boating laws. Having the right insurance is important with jet boats as their increased speed and power make them more prone to accidents and damage if the driver is inexperienced.


One of the most popular types of personal watercraft in Canada, particularly in Ontario where the local waterways and lakes are generally smoother, bowriders offer the perfect combination of form and function. Living up to the name, they feature ample seating inset into the bow of the vessel, and further aft the driver’s and rear passenger seating area are protected by a large surround windshield. On some bowriders, the middle panel is simply not included, meaning you’ll have a window in front of the driver and passenger seat only with a space in the middle for bow access. On others, a middle window is included with a latching mechanism, allowing you to cut off bow access on a windy or choppy day. By design, bowriders are well stabilized, able to accommodate standing and sitting passengers with relative ease, and there’s usually plenty of onboard storage.

Cuddy Cabins

Think of these as the “big sister” of the bowrider – a larger, even more spacious vessel with bow access. However, this is where the similarities end, as cuddy cabin boats contain a small private cabin with storage, seating, and sometimes even a head (bathroom). There’s plenty of seating on board and usually, a platform affixed to the stern, jetting over and outwards from the propulsion units. This is typically a great spot for fishing, sunning, or for use as a swimming platform. 

Cruisers and Motor Yachts

These are the vessels many boaters aspire to own. Spacious, grand, and rich in amenities and features, personal cruisers and motor yachts are large and costly to own. However, especially if you have the ideal insurance policy in place and sufficient income to actively maintain one, they afford a luxurious waterborne lifestyle unlike that of most other vessels. Multi-day or even multi-week stays onboard are perfectly manageable as long as you have a sufficiently experienced crew and supplies, and they cruise at high speeds without much “bobbing” in the water thanks to their sheer size and room for powerful engines. With complete kitchens, living spaces and bathrooms, multiple bedrooms, and even a dedicated bridge or cockpit, they allow plenty of room for large groups of passengers. That being said, you must operate one of these with care and precision, following local charts and boating regulations. 

These are just some of the many common boat types out there deserving of an insurance policy. Looking after your investment means less financial stress and more time to enjoy what you love about being on the water. Whether fishing, pleasure cruising, chartering, or otherwise, we at Portside Marine Insurance are happy to help with all your personal watercraft insurance needs. Contact us today to learn more!

What Every Boat Insurance Policy Should Include (Plus Several Smart Add-Ons)

What Every Boat Insurance Policy Should Include (Plus Several Smart Add-Ons)

It’s summer. You’re out on the water with your boat, feeling good about life, when suddenly you notice another boat coming too close. The next thing you know, you’re involved in a collision and it’s going to cost you dearly. It should be fine, because you have boat insurance. But what happens when you file a claim and find out your policy doesn’t cover your specific problem? 

Avoid the sticker shock and stress with the right boat insurance policy. Here’s what yours should include, along with additional coverage elements you can ask to have added for extra protection. 

What it Covers and Why

Though it isn’t mandatory in Ontario, boat insurance is an absolute necessity before you hit the water. It can save you thousands of dollars. Ensure you read your policy carefully before you sign anything. The best boat insurance policies generally have similar certain areas that they cover, and if one of these is excluded from the policy, then you should ask your provider why or shop elsewhere. Don’t take risks with your coverage, and ensure it has the following:

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage will reimburse the replacement costs for parts and the repair fees for your boat in the event of an accident. There are some things you’ll want to ask your insurer about before you sign the papers so you know how far their collision coverage extends. Some provide what is known as comprehensive collision coverage, which usually includes wreckage cleanup and paying for a rental while your boat is repaired.

Uninsured Watercraft Damage

Under Ontario law, boats do not have to be insured, even if it’s the smart choice. That’s why, when you do get your boat insured, it generally comes with uninsured watercraft damage coverage. Through this, you and your passengers will be covered for property and bodily harm damages if you are hit by another boat that doesn’t have insurance. Additionally, it covers you if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident on the water where you cannot find the person at fault. 

Liability Insurance

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and a good boat insurance policy should come with liability insurance in case you’re at fault in a collision. Without it, you’ll be forking out the money for your own repairs and any property or bodily injury damages incurred by the other party. It also covers legal fees, medical expenses, and other bills that are associated with the accident. These costs can snowball pretty quickly, especially when multiple people are involved in the incident in question.

Medical Coverage

Following an accident that includes bodily harm, you may have ambulance fees, hospital bills, and/or rehabilitation and prescription medication costs that need covering. This does not factor in money lost from being unable to work due to the accident or legal fees. Having good medical coverage in case of a collision can go a long way to protecting you financially when you or your passengers’ well-being is compromised.


There are several coverage options that won’t come as part of your insurance policy. However, you can ask to include them, and you usually should as a proactive measure. Doing so can save you a lot of trouble and stress in the future. Check with your provider to see what coverage add-ons they offer, which may or may not include the following:

Comprehensive Coverage

Most marinas will ask you to have a boat insurance policy at the very least, usually with comprehensive coverage, if you plan to dock your boat there. This coverage is suggested as a preventative measure against cases of vandalism or theft. 

Accessories and/or Special Equipment

Perhaps you’ve invested in special gear and equipment for your boat. This can include anything from GPS navigational aids and radars to recreational gear, such as fishing rods and scuba diving equipment. These are not insured by comprehensive coverage, but you can get them insured separately. 

Personal Effects Coverage

In the case of an accident, you may lose personal items in the water. This can include smartphones and laptops, clothes, cameras, keys, and more. Some providers will offer personal effects coverage as a separate option to cover the loss of expensive items onboard in the case of a collision. 


Like cars, boats have the potential of breaking down at the most unexpected of times due to regular wear and tear, especially if you don’t keep up with minimum maintenance requirements. This can happen when you’re out on the water, and while it is tempting to have neighbours or friends pull you ashore, it can be dangerous and can lead to damage or more expensive accidents. Towing insurance covers you in case you need your vessel to be pulled in.

Need further assistance with your insurance and/or add-ons? Portside Insurance is dedicated to finding the best boat insurance policies for our customers. Serving most provinces, we have been providing top-quality, cost-effective solutions to Canadians across the nation since 1922. Call us at 1-844-491-0963 to reach a professional near you, or contact us today to get started. 

How Much Is Boat Insurance in Ontario?

How Much Is Boat Insurance In Ontario

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.

Safety Equipment

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. 

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.

Do You Need Boat Insurance?

It’s that time of the year again! That means blue skies, sunshine, and trips to the lake. Every year, there are certain precautions we take to avoid mishaps and enjoy ourselves, such as applying sunscreen and bug repellent. Another precaution you should have in place for a comfortable summer, should you be on the water, is boat insurance.

You’re not the kind of person to make a mistake on the water, so why do you need boat insurance? There are actually many reasons to insure your boat, and not every potential mishap or problem will occur as a result of your own decisions. Even if you’re a fantastic sailor, a sudden change in the weather or encounters with less experienced boaters can spell trouble for you. Both water and life, in general, are unpredictable, so it’s better to be prepared. Our team at Portside Marine Insurance has your back. Here are just some of the many reasons to get your boat insured. 

You Might Need to be Towed Ashore

Emergency tows happen. Sometimes it’s because a boat has lost fuel or run aground, but more often than not it’s because an unexpected mechanical breakdown has left the sailor and their vessel stranded on the water. Boat tows should be handled by experienced professionals rather than friends or neighbors, as it can be dangerous and/or cause damage to the boat if it isn’t performed properly. A sufficient insurance policy will cover emergency tows from professional companies and, if repairs are required, will provide necessary new parts without a betterment fee. Portside Plus Coverage offers compensation for emergency towing fees to get you off the water to safety. 

Your Personal Property Could Get Damaged or Stolen

Boats are convenient because you have space to bring your personal effects onboard. This can be anything, from scuba and fishing gear to clothes, laptops, and phones. In the event of a collision, these items could be damaged. Furthermore, anything left on the boat while it is docked is at risk of being stolen. More comprehensive plans will offer coverage on your valuables. Portside Marine Insurance, for instance, has available increased coverage on personal items. With our Portside Plus Coverage, fishing, surfing, and skiing gear, and equipment are all insured.  

You May End Up with Property Damage to Your Boat

Accidents happen both on the water and off. Whether you’re in a collision with another boat or you suffer property damage to your boat while driving, you don’t want to be paying out of pocket for repairs. The right marine insurance plan should cover your boat if it’s damaged while you’re trailering it. Some, including ours, will also cover the cost of a rental boat. Any vandalism should also be covered with your plan, just to be safe.

You May Inflict Property Damage

Sometimes in a collision, you’re the one at fault. Accidents happen and we all make mistakes. If you hit another boat and you don’t have insurance, however, you may end up paying dearly for said mistake and subsequent repairs, which will suck a lot of fun out of the summer. Your insurance can minimize financial stress and provide coverage in the event of an at-fault collision, however, so you can get on with your life and not put a damper on your summer plans. Property damage liability coverage also covers you if you hit a dock, which is good news as occasional bumps and scrapes are anything but uncommon. 

You Want Storage Privileges in a Marina

You aren’t required by law to have boating insurance when you take your boat out on the water. However, a marina will require you to have liability coverage if you want to store your boat with them. There are many reasons people choose to store their boat at a marina. For instance, it’s possible that you don’t have the room to store your boat at home, don’t have a truck large enough to transport it, or don’t want to pay the expenses of towing it back and forth from the water. Storing your boat in the marina will slow the depreciation of your boat as well, as it minimizes the wear and tear that comes from bringing your boat onto the road. It’s also a huge time saver. To take advantage of a marina, however, you will need insurance. 

You Want to Ensure Your Boat is Still Seaworthy.

Your boat ages and wears over time. The average small vessel has a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, which is a wide gap. It depreciates at a different rate depending on the type of boat and the type of material used to build it. In 10 years, for example, an aluminum fishing boat will only be worth 40 percent of what it was when you bought it, whereas a fiberglass fishing boat will be worth 47 percent. Depreciation also depends on how well your boat has been maintained over the years. Portside Marine Insurance offers coverage against depreciation for 15 years. 

Your Boat Could be Damaged Over the Winter

That’s right – even when you aren’t using it, it could get damaged. How? In the winter, raccoons and other vermin tend to live in boats to keep warm. Another example of wintertime damage is if the storage shed collapses, causing damage to the boat. Alternatively, there’s the possible potential of storm damage. Without an insurance plan that covers these situations, you will be paying out of pocket for the repairs to your boat. If you are docking your boat at a marina over the winter and damage is done to it, you will have to prove that the marina was negligent in order for them to cover the loss. It’s easier and less stressful to have a 12-month insurance policy to protect your boat rather than having to go through them. 

Boating is a beloved summer activity, but without the proper protection, you can get badly burned. An accident without sufficient coverage can leave you with a stack of bills that ruins your fun in the sun and experience as a boat owner. Contact Portside Marine Insurance today for an optimal boat insurance policy, and to protect your future waterborne adventures..