7 Benefits of Having Reliable Boat Insurance 

7 Benefits of Having Reliable Boat Insurance

 Securing dependable insurance can often be a challenging endeavour, be it for your home, car, or your beloved boat. Surprisingly, boat insurance is frequently overlooked, as individuals fail to grasp the significance of safeguarding themselves while venturing onto the water. In this comprehensive guide, we shed light on the seven remarkable advantages that come with acquiring reliable boat insurance. Spoiler alert: It’s just as important as your home and auto policies.

What is Boat Insurance?

Boat insurance is coverage for anyone who owns and operates a boat, whether for pleasure or business. The benefits of boat insurance are similar to having car insurance when hitting the road. If you purchase reliable insurance, you can save a lot of money if you ever find yourself in a situation where unexpected events strike and you suffer a personal injury, or your boat is damaged or destroyed.

Why is Boat Insurance Important?

Unlike auto insurance, boat insurance isn’t mandatory in Canada. Many people believe that it should be. Boat insurance is not just crucial for coverage during unexpected events, but it’s also a stipulation set by many marinas and lenders. Marinas require proof of insurance before they allow you to store your vessel, and lenders need this proof when you’re obtaining a loan for a new boat. 

Having insurance benefits you in the following ways:

1. Peace of Mind

Getting into an accident could not only cost you your boat, but it could put you at risk of being sued if you were at fault. Having reliable insurance ensures you’re covered regardless of whether you need to repair or replace your vessel or if you’re on the hook for someone else’s medical bills or boat damage. The peace of mind you get from having protection from these risks is invaluable.

2. Cost-Effective

If you think that you can put away some money on your own to protect yourself from a boating accident, you might want to think twice about it. If you’re at fault for an accident, it’s possible for you to be required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more. Paying a monthly premium is a safe trade-off that could save you from emptying out your pockets.

3. Protection from Impact Damage

Impact damage on a boat can include contact with objects like shoals, rocks, deadheads, and other submerged items or collisions with other vessels and structures. Some accidents may simply leave unsightly dents behind, while others may render your watercraft inoperable. Having boat insurance allows you to be able to make the repairs needed to get back on the water quickly.

4. Protection from Theft

Boat insurance policies can have your back when it comes to thieves. This means that if your boat is stolen, you could file a claim to help replace it. In many cases, no amount of planning and saving can protect you from theft, so having boat insurance is an excellent way to protect your investment. Keep in mind that your claim may not be approved if you were careless in securing your vessel.

5. Covers You in the Event of a Physical Injury

If you’re injured in a boating accident, you may need to pay expensive medical bills during your recovery. Regardless of who’s at fault, you could be on the hook if neither party has boat insurance. Your boat insurance can include coverage for your own injuries and those of your passengers.

If you have reliable health coverage, remember that it could have limits, and boat insurance can cover the difference. Keep in mind that your health insurance doesn’t cover any passengers in the boat, so you need to consider whether you’re able to pay for their medical needs in the event of an accident.

6. Protection in Other Unforeseen Circumstances

There is a lot that can go wrong in life, especially on the water. For example, you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you’re on the lake when a severe storm hits, you could lose your boat before the storm passes. Insurance coverage allows you to replace what’s lost, just like if you were insuring a vehicle on land.

7. Can Cover You if You’re Found Liable in an Accident

Personal liability for a boating accident can significantly threaten your financial independence. If you’re found liable for a boating accident, the victim may sue you for damages. If you’re unable to pay from your savings, you could lose your assets to pay the judgment against you. Having boat insurance can ensure you’re able to settle with the other party without losing your home or savings.

How to Tell if You Have Reliable Boat Insurance

How do you know if your boat insurance coverage is enough to protect you? The following tips can ensure you receive the best possible coverage.

  • Work with an insurance broker who specializes in boat coverage. Not only will your broker be able to get you multiple quotes from leading insurance companies, but they will also know the ins and outs of the industry. This ensures you get a great deal.
  • Work with a broker that takes the time to answer your questions, guides you through the process and gives you options customized to your needs and concerns.
  • Make sure your policy includes liability coverage, as this is the most critical type of insurance coverage you need.
  • Read the exclusions to make sure that you’re still covered in the event of theft, storm damage or personal injury.
  • Look for a policy that allows you to add comprehensive coverage so you can repair your own boat or be insured for the “extras.”

Get Reliable Insurance with Portside Marine Insurance

At Portside Insurance, we take the time to collaborate with our clients and put together boat insurance policies that reflect their needs and budget. Insurance is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

Want to find the best deal on the boat insurance coverage you need? Contact us today so we can learn more about your needs and budget. We’ll get to work on finding you the best coverage available.

Five Tips on How to Get the Best Boat Insurance in Ontario

Five Tips on How to Get the Best Boat Insurance in Ontario

If you’re a boat owner in Ontario looking for the best insurance coverage to protect your investment, having the proper techniques under your belt when you’re shopping is essential. Whether you’re a seasoned boater or just starting out, it’s crucial to have insurance that will cover you in case of an accident or damage to your watercraft. But with so many options out there, it can be tough to know where to start.

We put together a guide with tips on how to get the best boat insurance in Ontario, covering everything from understanding your coverage options and the factors that affect your premium to getting quotes and working with the right experts.

1. Know Your Coverage Options

When it comes to boat insurance in Ontario, there are different options available to protect your investment. Understanding these choices is crucial to selecting the right one for your needs.

Most policies offer the following coverages and have customizations and add-ons:

  • Collision coverage: Covers damage to your boat in case of a collision with another vessel or object.
  • Liability: This can protect you if you’re found responsible for injuring someone or damaging their property while using your boat.
  • Comprehensive coverage: This covers non-collision incidents like theft, vandalism, or weather-related damage. This can also include emergency services, such as towing.
  • Other coverage: Other options may be available to add to your policy, like personal property coverage.

It’s essential to select the right coverage for your needs and budget. For example, if you keep many high-valuable items in your boat, personal property coverage may be a priority add-on.

2. Understand the Factors that Affect Your Premium

Understanding the factors that affect your boat insurance premium in Ontario can help you make informed decisions when shopping for coverage. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Boat type: The type of boat you own can impact your insurance premium. Generally, larger and more powerful vessels cost more to insure than smaller ones.
  • Use purposes: The purpose of your boat use can impact how much you’ll pay in premiums. For example, you may face higher rates if you use your watercraft for commercial purposes.
  • Location: Local weather conditions and location-specific boating trends, like incident frequencies and crime rates, can affect your insurance rates.
  • Additional features: Other onboard features, like GPS devices, depth finders, and alarm systems, can reduce your insurance rates.
  • Claims history: If you have a paper trail of making claims on your boat insurance policy, you may face higher premiums.

Consider these factors when shopping for the best boat insurance in Ontario. If you’re getting quotes from different insurers, try to provide precise and detailed information about your boat, usage, and location. By doing so, you can get a more accurate picture of the insurance cost for your specific situation.

3. Get a Quote

Getting a quote is essential to understand the various boat insurance rates available. These estimates allow you to compare insurance coverage and pricing from different insurers. This can help you find the policy that offers the optimal value for your money. Additionally, getting a quote can give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of costs. Here are some tips to keep in mind when seeking estimates:

  • Provide detailed information about your situation, keeping in mind the factors that impact insurance premiums, as discussed above.
  • Ask questions — this can include asking about specific coverage, potential discounts, and the claims process.

4. Maintain a Good Boating Record

If you have a clean record, insurers will see you as “lower risk,” which often results in lower premiums. No claims or accidents in your name demonstrate that you’re a responsible boater and less likely to file a claim. Therefore, maintaining a good boating record can help you get the best boat insurance in Ontario. Here are some tips for safe boating:

  • Consider taking boating safety courses.
  • Check the weather conditions and water levels before setting sail.
  • Maintain and inspect your boat regularly.
  • Avoid operating your vessel under the influence.
  • Ensure you and all passengers wear proper safety gear, like life jackets.
  • Have a float plan and tell someone your intended route, destination, and estimated return time.

If you are involved in an accident or have to make a claim, reporting it as soon as possible is essential.

5. Work with an Experienced Insurance Broker

At Portside Marine Insurance, we work closely with local insurance brokers to help you get the policy you need for a stress-free boating experience. Enlisting the help of an experienced insurance broker who specializes in boat insurance can be highly beneficial. Here’s why:

  • They have a wealth of knowledge: Brokers specializing in boat insurance know the ins and outs of both the insurance and boating industries. They can help you navigate this complex world, understand your coverage options, and find the best policy for your needs and budget.
  • They offer personalized service: Brokers find the best options on your behalf. You can save time on personal research because they will make an effort to understand your situation and find policies that suit your unique needs.

When selecting an insurance broker, look for someone licensed with a good reputation. Consider asking for referrals from friends, family, or other boat owners. Additionally, ensure these experts have experience working with boat owners and understand the unique insurance needs of this industry. Insurance brokers that don’t specialize in boat policies may offer bundling options without the expertise to ensure you’re covered for all unique and complex scenarios.

Find the Best Boat Insurance in Ontario

While boat insurance is not legally required in Ontario, it’s essential for any watercraft owner because it provides peace of mind and coverage for accidents, theft, or other unexpected events. You can find the best policies for your unique circumstances by following these tips.

At Portside Marine Insurance, we offer customizable boat insurance policies to help you protect your precious investment. Get a quote or contact us today to get started and explore your options.

Common Types of Boat Claims in Winter

Common Types of Boat Claims in Winter

Even though you likely won’t spend time cruising on your boat during the cold Canadian winter months, you may not realize that there are winter risks that still require proper coverage to protect your investment. As a boat owner, it’s crucial to be aware of common boat insurance claims to help you prepare for unforeseen circumstances. Let’s explore these in more detail.

Why Boating Insurance is Important in the Winter

Boat insurance is essential throughout the year. Some risks and hazards in winter differ from those in the summer, leading to potential damages and losses. For example, winter weather conditions, like snow, hail, and ice, can cause significant damage to your watercraft, even if stored in a secure location. 

Many marinas and storage facilities require boat owners to have insurance coverage before allowing them to dock or store their boats on their premises. Insurance coverage can bring you peace of mind, knowing you have protection against financial losses that may arise from incidents during the winter that may be out of your control.

6 Common Types of Boat Insurance Claims in the Winter

While most bodies of water are frozen during Canadian winters, some locations near the coast may prolong the season. If you happen to be out on the water during these traditionally colder months, you’re exposed to similar risks as in the summer. Many of the following common boat insurance claims apply specifically to watercraft hauled out for the season. Keep in mind that not all insurance companies will cover these claims, so it’s essential to check with them first before you submit:

1. Impact Damage

One of the most common boat insurance claims all-year round is impact damage caused by factors like rocks, deadheads, shoals, and other submerged objects. In areas of the country where boating can happen in the winter, you’re at risk of colliding with these objects, especially if there’s poor visibility and lots of debris from storms. No matter what season, it’s important to exercise caution when navigating waters and always keep a lookout for potential hazards.

2. Theft

Boats can be targets for theft, especially during the winter when they’re not in use. Thieves can steal specific parts or the entire vessel without proper security measures.

3. Vandalism

Watercraft stored in isolated or unsecured locations may also be vulnerable to vandalism. This includes graffiti, broken windows, and other acts that cause damage to the boat.

4. Fire

While uncommon, boats can catch fire during the winter for various reasons, including electrical issues, fuel leaks, or improper storage of flammable materials. Keep in mind that if you store your watercraft in an enclosed location, never use open flames nearby and ensure you remove all fuel or propane tanks before leaving it out of site for the season.

5. Freezing or Flood Damage

Boats that are not properly winterized can experience damage from freezing temperatures, ice, or heavy snow. The potential consequences of these events can include split pipes and cracked engine blocks. Additionally, melting snow or ice can lead to flooding and further issues for the structural integrity of your vessel. 

It’s important to note that many boat policies exclude damage due to freezing, but it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance company for verification. Even then, you’ll likely need proof that you correctly winterized your boat for your claim to be successful.

6. Pest Damage

Boats stored in outdoor areas may be at risk for damage from rodents, birds, and other animals. This can include chewing through wires, nests made in engine compartments, or holes punctured in upholstery. During the winter, animals like mice or squirrels often look for warm shelters and may use your boat as an ideal nesting spot. Some steps to prevent critter damage include the following:

  • Store your watercraft in a location that’s less accessible to animals, like a secure indoor storage facility
  • Place traps or use repellents to keep animals away from the boat
  • Remove all food and trash from the vessel before storing it for the winter
  • Seal all openings or cracks and use tarps and covers to prevent pests from entering

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my boat is damaged in the winter?

The first thing you should do is take steps to prevent further damage or loss. This may include moving the boat or covering it with more protective barriers. Then, contact your insurance provider to report the damage and begin the claims process. Keep in mind that not all situations are eligible for protection, so ensure you understand your unique policy limitations.

Do I need a separate winter insurance policy?

No, you do not need a separate insurance policy for the winter. However, reviewing your current coverage is vital to ensure it protects you from specific risks and hazards of the winter season.

How can I prevent my boat from winter damage?

Proper winterization and preventative measures are crucial to avoiding damage to your boat during winter. This includes draining the water systems, storing the vessel in a secure location, covering it properly, and maintaining the watercraft’s equipment and systems. Insurance providers are more likely to accept a claim if you can prove that you’ve done everything you can to prevent incidents in the winter.

Protect Your Watercraft with Boat Insurance

At Portside Marine Insurance, we have various customizable boat insurance policies to suit your budget and cruising style. If you want to learn more about our policies or need more information about insurance coverage in the winter, contact us today.

How Does Inflation Impact My Insurance?

How Does Inflation Impact My Insurance?

As a boat owner, you may have noticed the increased cost of parts, fuel, maintenance, repairs, and even the entire vessel itself. This is likely due to inflation, an economic situation leading to higher living costs.

As inflation increases, so can the cost of boat insurance. This can significantly impact your premiums, coverage, and how much you must pay out of pocket. With that said, let’s take a closer look at the impact of inflation on insurance and what you can do to mitigate these concerns, so you can continue enjoying your time on the water.

What is Inflation?

Inflation measures the average increase in the prices of goods and services. This rise in prices goes hand-in-hand with declined consumer purchasing power. In other words, more inflation means our currency has less value and decreases the number of goods or services we can purchase. Rising prices can happen for various reasons, including higher production costs, increased demand, and changes in the money supply.

The Situation in Canada

The cost of living is rising in our country — we see it in the prices of groceries, gas, and other goods and services. Inflation in Canada impacts the boating industry in combination with other trends, like environmental changes and the pandemic. Here’s how: 

  • Since Canadians could not travel during the pandemic, they spent more of their vacation time on the water, which led to an increase in the total number of claims, especially by new boaters with a lack of experience.
  • Climate change is leading to more extreme weather patterns and natural disasters. This trend impacts insurance because the increase in weather-related claims makes it more expensive for insurers. In an attempt to balance these expenses, they may raise their premiums. 
  • Inflation itself increases the cost of repair services and boat replacement parts. This leads to more expensive claims, which may raise insurance providers’ premiums.

These current trends influence pricing and coverage amounts on your policy. Let’s look at why this is the case in more detail.

What is the Impact of Inflation on My Insurance?

Inflation can affect your boat insurance policy in different ways. Mainly, it impacts your costs, like insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. If you’re looking for a new boat insurance policy or currently have one, here are some ways inflation in Canada can impact your coverage:

1. Premiums for New Policies Can Get More Expensive

As prices increase over time, so will insurance products and services. For example, inflation may lead to rising costs of repairs and replacements, which means that boat insurance premiums may become more expensive when you take out a new policy. These higher rates ensure insurance companies can cover the higher volume and cost of claims.

2. Potential for Insufficient Coverage Limits

Most insurance companies have coverage limits. This limit is the maximum amount they’ll pay out in case of a claim. As inflation increases the cost of goods and services, it raises the price for repair and replacement — professional services cost more, and so do boat parts. This means that your current policy limits may not be sufficient enough to cover these costs in full, resulting in the potential of you paying more out of pocket. 

3. Increased Difficulty Paying Deductibles

Your insurance deductible is the amount you’re responsible for paying before your insurance company covers the rest of a claim. In times with rising costs of living, these deductibles can become less affordable to shoulder out of pocket as your budget gets tighter. If you find yourself in this situation while submitting a claim, this might mean that you’ll have to wait to file it until you’ve gathered the money to pay your deductible. 

How to Deal with the Impact of Inflation on Insurance

With increasing costs impacting your insurance, there are a few things you can do to mitigate this impact and save money. For example:

Find a Marine Insurance Brokerage

You can ensure you get the best boat insurance policies and prices by specifically seeking out brokerages that specialize in marine insurance. Speaking to these experts can give you peace of mind knowing that your coverage options are tailored to your needs by people who know the ins and outs of the industry.

Review Your Coverage Regularly

Regular reviews of your boat insurance coverage can ensure it still meets your needs and provides adequate protection for your vessel throughout the year. This is an opportunity to make adjustments and remove certain parts of your policy, if necessary.

Save for Emergencies

As mentioned above, inflation can lead to higher expenses paid out of pocket. For this reason, if you’re able to, build up a savings buffer to help you prepare for unexpected costs related to your insurance coverage.

Consider Inflation-Protected Policies

Some insurance companies offer inflation-protected policies which automatically adjust to changes in the cost of living. The purpose of these specialized policies is to ensure the value of your coverage does not erode over time because of increased prices. 

Adjust Coverage Limits and Deductibles

If you have an existing policy, you can reduce the impact of inflation by adjusting your coverage limits and deductibles. For example, increasing your deductible can decrease your premiums, but keep in mind that you’ll have to pay more out-of-pocket if you have to make a claim.

Customizable Boat Coverage Options for You

At Portside Marine Insurance, we understand that inflation can significantly impact the type of protection you can afford. That’s why we offer customizable coverage options to help you mitigate the impact of the rising cost of living while still being able to enjoy your time on the water. If you’re concerned about how inflation might impact your existing or future policies, we’re here to help. Get a quote or contact us today to learn more about how we can make your boat insurance work for your needs.

5 Common Boating Insurance Claims

5 Common Boating Insurance Claims

We can’t think of a better pastime than breathing in the fresh outdoor air while riding the waves in your watercraft. However, as with any outdoor activity, there can be risks involved. Having the right insurance coverage can give you peace of mind and protect you from financial loss in the event of an accident or incident. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at common boat insurance claims and provide some advice on what you can do to prevent them. 

Hitting an Object in the Water

One of the most common boating insurance claims is damage caused by hitting floating or submerged objects in the water. These objects can include logs, rocks, and other debris and can especially be a problem in low-visibility conditions and shallow water. While running into these objects can lead to minor scars on your watercraft, it can also cause mechanical failure, damage to the hull and propellers, or even sinking. 

Even the most experienced boaters may run into this issue because floating or submerged rocks and logs can be challenging to locate. To prevent hitting these the next time you set sail, ensure you do the following:

  • Do your research before heading out: Research or ask around to find out if any known areas on the lake or body of water have lots of debris or objects. This way, you can stay clear of these spots.
  • Go boating with another person: Sometimes, catching everything with one set of eyes can be challenging. Bringing a second person with you can help point out anything in your path while you drive.
  • Get a marine radar: These are valuable tools that detect objects around you. They send out a radio wave and bounce back when it hits an object, giving you a rough estimate of where it is relative to your position.
  • Go slow in unfamiliar water: If you’re trying out a new spot, go slower than you usually would. This practice simply allows you to keep a closer eye on any objects that may obstruct your path.

Damage from the Dock

Damage from docking can happen to anyone, whether you come to shore during a strong wind storm or simply miscalculate your incoming speed on a calm day. If the force is great enough, you may see structural damage, like a hole in the hull, destruction to electrical wiring, or a bent propeller. Here are some ways you can prevent this incident from occurring:

  • Use bumpers or fenders to absorb the impact
  • Use a boat cover at your storage facility to cushion any movement
  • Practice docking in calm conditions before attempting in more intense weather

Weather-Related Damage

During boating season, extreme conditions like high winds, lightning, hail or heavy rain storms can shake up your watercraft, whether you’re out on the water or your vessel is tied to a dock. Weather-related damage can range from minor scratches to body destruction. 

If you live in a particularly stormy area or know one is coming in the forecast, double-check that your boat is secured and covered. To avoid mishaps while on the water, check the forecast before you head out, including wind speeds, wave height, and any signs of storms. As a general rule of thumb, try to wait out the bad weather for the safety of you and your vessel.

Keep in mind that even during the off-season, you must protect your boat during the cold Canadian winters. Here are some situations that could lead to damage and insurance claims:

  • Improper boat covering: If you don’t protect your boat with a custom, quality cover, snow and ice can accumulate, and water can pool inside. Additionally, not allowing enough ventilation can cause mould growth.
  • Not draining the engine of water: Frozen or cracked engine blocks can happen due to improper winterizing practices. To prevent this, after draining, add antifreeze.
  • Storing your boat in the water: When water freezes around a vessel left in the water, the ice can grind against the hull and even crack and sink it. Ensure that your boat is entirely out of the water or stored on dry land to avoid this.


Theft of boats and belongings is also among common boating insurance claims. While not all thefts are predictable or preventable, your storage practices and security measures play a massive role in keeping your vessel safe. Here are some tips to help you prevent theft:

  • Lock your boat, including the steering wheel, and use heavy-duty locks on your outboard motor.
  • Install motion detectors and GPS tracking systems (At Portside Marine Insurance, we even offer a 10% discount on insurance for boats that have a GPS tracking system)
  • Store your watercraft in a secure place, such as behind a locked gate or in a trusted storage facility.
  • Detach outboard engines and store these indoors in a secure place.
  • If you store your boat at home or on a driveway, block it in with another vehicle or obstacle.
  • Keep an inventory of items on your boat so it’s easier to identify anything missing. 


Collisions with other vessels can cause more significant damage than when you hit fixed, submerged, or floating objects. This type of claim can be especially common in crowded boating areas like lakes and rivers. Accidents like this can happen if:

  • Operators on board are inexperienced or negligent while driving the boat.
  • Your vessel experiences a mechanical failure that’s out of your control, causing the inability to stop or steer in time.
  • You’re not paying attention to your surroundings.
  • You operate your watercraft at an unsafe speed. Pay attention to any posted speed regulations and use your judgment to ensure you’re not driving faster than you can react.
  • You drive while under the influence. Remember, this is both illegal and can cause severe injury or even death.

Helping You Get the Coverage You Need

At Portside Marine Insurance, we understand that accidents happen. That’s why we offer comprehensive coverage plans for your peace of mind so that you can continue enjoying your time on the water. If you’re ready to explore policies or need more advice on boat insurance claims, contact us today!

Nine Factors that Influence Your Boat Insurance Rates

Nine Factors that Influence Your Boat Insurance Rates

Just like a home or car, a watercraft is an investment that should be protected with insurance. Understanding what factors impact your boat insurance rates is helpful to ensure you get the most comprehensive coverage and the best deals. Keep in mind that the points outlined below vary depending on the provider, and it is always best to speak with them to see which variables they consider when determining your premiums.

Why Do I Need Boat Insurance?

While you do not require boat insurance by law in Canada, there are many reasons to have a policy. The main reason is to have peace of mind. Most people don’t have the resources to pay for a multi-million dollar claim out of pocket. Boat insurance ensures protection in a liability claim and coverage for your investment in unforeseen circumstances, such as theft, fire, vermin, vandalism, and collision. Additionally, marinas may require proof of insurance if you intend to store your vessel there. Lenders also often need this if you finance your watercraft. 

Factors that Affect Your Boat Insurance Rates

The Type of Vessel You Have

There are many types of boats out there, including the following:

  • Rowboats
  • Sailboats
  • Cuddy Cruisers
  • Express Cruisers
  • Fishing Boats
  • Jet boats
  • Bass Boats
  • Pontoons
  • Yachts
  • Personal Watercrafts 

The type of boat you have can impact your premiums. Small cuddy cruisers, for example, are less expensive to insure than yachts because they are less complex and have a lower risk profile. Your vessel’s make, model, year, and horsepower also affect your rates. 

Additional Features on Board

Extra features like GPS systems, emergency locator beacons, depth finders, radars, and alarm systems can lower your premiums. At Portside Marine Insurance, we offer a 10% discount for all boats with a GPS tracking device.

Your Experience and Age

If you have years of boating experience, especially with the particular vessel you want to insure, this can pay off when it comes to finding the best deals on marine policies. On the other hand, you may face higher prices if you are newer to boating with limited experience.

How You Use Your Boat

Do you intend on zipping around in a speedboat, taking your family out for fishing adventures, going for a casual cruise on the lake, or using your vessel for commercial purposes? How you intend to use your watercraft influences your insurance costs. Each circumstance is unique, but as a general rule of thumb, the less risky your intentions, like a calm leisure day out on the lake, make your boat less expensive to insure than worldly expeditions.

The Value of Your Watercraft

The amount your boat is worth impacts the price of your coverage. An expensive million-dollar yacht, for example, will likely cost more to insure than a small Seadoo or Kawasaki jet ski.

Education and Training

Some insurance companies may provide discounts if you complete specific training courses. The intention here is to ensure you have the proper knowledge to operate your watercraft which, in theory, reduces the likelihood of claims. Check with your provider to see which approved courses may qualify, but remember that not everyone will offer these deals.

Your Choice of Coverage

The most basic policies usually have lower boat insurance rates. You can get add-ons for your accessories, special equipment, personal belongings, and towing for more comprehensive coverage if not already included. 

Previous Claims

Numerous claims on a watercraft in the past may affect your rates, just like with your car insurance. Brokers like to see a claims-free history because this can predict the lower likelihood and frequency of incidents in the future.

The Deductible

A deductible is an amount you are responsible for paying in the event of a claim before your insurance covers the rest. Agreeing on a higher deductible can lower your rates. Keep in mind that if you do this, while you may save money each month on premiums, you could face higher costs out of pocket in the event your vessel sustains any kind of damage.

Finding the Right Policy for You

When finding the right policy, it is important to understand the different types of coverage and what you need for your unique circumstances. The above factors can help you determine which variables are most relevant to you, so you know what to discuss with your insurance provider. 

Additionally, shop around to ensure you get the best prices and speak directly with providers specializing in watercraft policies. They understand the details that are relevant to insuring these vessels and can provide you added peace of mind.
Portside Marine Insurance offers boat policies suitable for your distinct needs. Contact us to learn more about how you can get the best rates and the most comprehensive coverage with us.

9 Tips to Prevent Boat Theft this Season

9 Tips to Prevent Boat Theft this Season

Boats are no joke when it comes to their cost on average, especially when moving up to larger and more powerful vessel types. Of course, that’s not everything of value regarding these investments, as boats often include state-of-the-art technologies, electronics aplenty and, in some cases, premium interior fittings and furnishings. 

Boat thieves target not only the vessel itself but also anything stored or installed onboard that could fetch a pretty penny at the pawn shop. To help you safeguard your investment and minimize the risk as best as possible, our team at Portside Marine Insurance has come up with some best practices to bear in mind. If you’re wondering how to prevent boat theft, you’ve come to the right place!

Never Store Personal Belongings Onboard Overnight

Boats come with plenty of storage, sometimes even safes, which can be tempting to use. Besides, who likes having to clear out their belongings every time they disembark? The issue here is, if you don’t do it, there’s a risk that someone else will. Jewellery, smartphones and tablets, laptops, portable video game systems, expensive fishing gear, and other similar items are all prime targets for thieves, especially if they see a beautiful and expensive-looking boat moored at the local marina.

Don’t Treat Marina Security as Guaranteed Protection

It’s easy to fall into a false sense of security if you pay for dedicated storage at a marina. Even when it’s boating season, if you dock your vessel at a marina or otherwise, know that any onsite security designed to deter thieves often won’t physically stop them from boarding. Fences can be clambered over, security cameras snuck around, and even electricity cut. It’s important to be realistic and sensible when storing your vessel; while it will likely be safer, there’s still a chance of someone trying to sneak aboard.

Get Boat Insurance that Covers Theft!

We’re sometimes asked the question, “does boat insurance cover theft?” Our answer is that, when choosing us, it certainly does, but not every marine insurance provider may offer it. While a boat insurance policy normally includes theft coverage, it may sometimes be excluded. When checking to determine whether a policy provides compensation for risks like fire or collision damage, you should take the time to ensure that theft is also listed as covered.

Avoid Making Your Vessel Attractive to Thieves

Fishing vessels, even smaller boats, are often targeted by thieves who want to make a quick getaway with expensive gear, including tackle boxes, lures, fishing rods, and specialized tools. Alternatively, speedboats and fancy cabin cruisers may be targeted for their resale value, especially if they have premium features that are easily visible on the outside, like expensive speaker systems or powerful motors. 

All these examples more or less involve displaying the vessel as an attractive option for thieves. Flashy paint jobs and extra décor elements can heighten the risk further, so be sure to minimize the attention your boat receives while using it! During the off-season period, when the boat is in storage, it’s more likely to blend in and not be as tempting among other vessels docked around it.

Avoid Showing Off on Social Media

This ties into our previous point, but it’s an important tip that too many boat owners overlook! While sharing photos of your beautiful new vessel with friends and family is fun and exciting, there’s a fine line that shouldn’t be crossed. Constantly Instagramming navigational updates or videos touring the cabin are ill-advised, as this calls attention to your vessel among strangers. Of course, a potential thief could be anyone, including those you know who may be desperate for additional money. Try to keep social media updates to a minimum.

Don’t Leave the Key in the Ignition!

Even if you’ve stopped for a quick bite to eat or to visit a friend at their cottage along your planned navigational route, you should always take your key with you whenever you dock. It’s no different than leaving a fancy car parked with the key in the ignition. On top of that, ironically, many boats don’t have tops or siding in the form of roofs, lockable doors, or cabins. Smaller vessels are often completely open without shade, meaning anyone can step aboard, turn the key, and take the boat for a spin. 

Chat with a Boat Insurance Provider About the Specifics

We can’t recommend this enough; the more you know in advance about the policy in question, the more informed a decision you’ll be able to make as to whether it’s sufficient for your needs as a boat owner. That includes knowing whether theft coverage pertains to strictly the vessel itself, onboard belongings, or both. You don’t want to find out the hard way by guessing, signing up without knowing the facts, and then learning that you aren’t covered if the unthinkable occurs!

Don’t Keep Your Papers Onboard!

You should always have your registration paperwork with you when using a boat, but that doesn’t mean it should be left onboard! If thieves get their hands on such documentation, it’s going to be difficult to get it replaced – possibly along with your vessel itself!

Secure Your Vessel Properly to the Dock

Lastly, think about how you moor your boat. Ropes can be cut far more easily than steel cables or chains. Also, have you thought of removing batteries or shutting down fuel lines, making the boat inoperable until you want to use it? These are just some examples of ways to proactively secure your boat to the dock.

Interested in more boating tips and best practices? If you’re wondering how to prevent boat theft, protect your belongings and safeguard your complete investment, we’re happy to help here at Portside Marine Insurance. Reach out to us today to discuss your boat insurance and theft coverage needs. 

Do I Need Small Boat Insurance?

Do I Need Small Boat Insurance?

Summer is the season to enjoy outdoor adventures, including water-based activities. During these months, many people will take advantage of the hot weather and engage in watersports such as boating, sailing, and canoeing. One popular pastime amongst those participating in watersports is enjoying a day outside by taking their small boat out for a spin. Before buying such a vessel, however, it is imperative to determine whether or not it is covered under your insurance. To help, here are several key factors about small boat insurance to bear in mind.

Why Do You Need Small Boat Insurance? 

No matter how careful we are, unfortunately, accidents can occur. For example, there are risks of theft when it comes to your boat’s equipment, accessories, personal belongings, and onboard sports equipment. Furthermore, there is the possibility of infestation and vandalism. Based on the type of small boat you have, you might face mechanical issues as well, such as your engine not starting. These issues can become costly, depending on the extent of the damage or repairs required.

Small boat insurance can alleviate some financial stress and protect you against unforeseen accidents. You can enjoy your aquatic adventures safely wherever you are on the water. For example, liability coverage will help to protect you if you accidentally cause harm to someone. It will also cover you if you damage their property while operating your  watercraft.

What Does Small Boat Insurance Cover? 

Depending on your coverage, insurance on small boats can vary. Generally, however, the following will be included:   

Emergency Towing

Consider the following scenario: you are travelling on your small boat when suddenly your engine fails. Emergency towing coverage will pay for the costs of towing, fuel delivery, or any emergency services that may be required on the spot. Furthermore, some insurance companies may provide full reimbursement for hotels and temporary stays if you file a claim. 

Agreed Value Coverage

A boat is a significant investment. As a result, if an accident were to occur, many owners would understandably not want to receive less than the value of their property. To protect you against depreciation, we offer agreed value coverage for most types of vessels. This will ensure that in the event of a total loss, your boat will be covered for its full value. As the term implies, this value is mutually agreed upon when signing up. 

Replacement Parts

Replacing old boat parts with new ones can be expensive. Thankfully, your insurance may cover replacement parts without you having to worry about additional payments. 

What Factors will Determine the Price of Insurance? 

There are several factors that influence the final cost of the insurance for your small boat. These include the following, 

Type of Boat

When it comes to the cost of your insurance, the brand, size, and performance capabilities of your vessel should be taken into account. For example, faster boats are more expensive to insure as they are more likely to become damaged during an accident. An inboard engine can cost more than an outboard engine due to the extra maintenance costs associated with them. Used boats may be cheaper than new ones, but they could be more prone to damages if not properly maintained. Remember to inspect the type of boat you’re purchasing before making the investment. 

Your Boating Experience

Education and proper training on how to pilot and maintain your boat can help to keep insurance costs under control. The more experienced you are, especially when it comes to more complex vessels like sailboats, the more confident your insurance provider will be in your capabilities. This is because such a boater would pose a lower risk through demonstrated experience, a solid track record, and sound knowledge of best practices.

Insurance Claim History

If you have been in many boating accidents and made claims on your insurance, your rates will increase. It is common for insurance providers to conduct background checks, and that will include verifying whether you’ve filed claims through other insurance companies in the past. 

It is crucial that you insure your small boat before you take it out on the water. Reduce your financial stress and ensure that you are protected against unforeseen events. To learn more about our policy options or to discuss your coverage needs, reach out to us or request a quote today. We’re happy to assist!  

What to Do During a Boating Accident?

What to Do During a Boating Accident?

When was the last time you had to deal with a boating accident? If you haven’t experienced such a situation, you probably don’t realize how serious these circumstances can be. When boaters get into trouble, they often panic. They might even try to bail out or swim to shore without thinking things through. This is dangerous because it could result in a severe injury or even death. In some cases, boaters who don’t know how to handle emergencies end up sinking their vessels by accident.

It is crucial to understand the measures that must be taken when facing such a situation. Having basic knowledge during a boating accident could save your life and those around you. Your actions and understanding can also help determine whether you can claim compensation or not. In the following article, we have detailed the steps you should take when such an accident occurs. 

What is a Boating Accident? 

Not everyone is aware of what is considered a boating accident. In simple terms, if there is significant property damage, a missing person, or an individual that has been injured, it is considered a boating accident. Here are some scenarios that can be categorized as such: 

  • Colliding with another boat. 
  • Hitting a stationary object 
  • Flooding
  • Sailing into rocks or reefs, causing damage to the bottom of the boat
  • An individual falling overboard

Stop the Boat

In the case of a boating accident, the boat operator must stop as soon as possible to assess the situation. They should immediately check to ensure that they and nobody else onboard is hurt. The operator must inspect the vessel to determine whether damage has been done to the hull that could compromise safety or seaworthiness.

Aid Individuals Who Need Medical Attention 

In a boating accident, as noted above, your top priority should be finding those needing medical attention. Before assessing others, check yourself for injuries. If immediate attention is required, get help as soon as possible. Ensure those around you are wearing life jackets, including yourself. You should also call emergency services, especially if you think there is a risk to life. Please note that it’s important to get examined by a paramedic regardless of whether symptoms visible or not, as you may have delayed signs. It is vital for you to understand the extent of your injuries. To ensure you stay prepared in case of such an emergency, invest in a VHF radio. 

Get Information About the Accident 

After assessing passengers that need medical attention, you will then need to understand the accident. You should collect all available information and details surrounding the event. Gathering eyewitness statements are  in addition to talking to the operators of any nearby boats involved in the accident.

Here are some pieces of information to collect and ask from those involved in the accident. 

  • Ask for names, addresses, and details surrounding the incident from those on the boat. 
  • Get the insurance company name of the boat operators, in addition to the make and model of the vessel.
  • Talk to anyone who may have seen the boat crash, and ask for their names and contact information. 
  • Record the accident’s location, when the accident occurred, and any damages seen. 
  • Document who has been injured on the boat. 
  • Try to take photos of the boat and the damages it may have sustained.
  • Take notes of everything you remember surrounding the boating accident. 

Reach Out to Your Insurance Company and (if Applicable) File a Personal Injury Claim

Collecting information is crucial as it can help if you decide to go to court or an insurance company. When you choose to take either step, evidence must be presented to demonstrate who is at fault before damages can be claimed. When you are in court you will need to prove: 

  • That the operator not at fault was in charge to ensure you were safe. 
  • The operator, if at fault, acted negligently and therefore caused the accident. 
  • Your injuries were caused by the accident. 

Comparative fault laws should also be taken into consideration when filing a personal injury claim. If you were at fault for the accident, your claim could be lowered. Remember, there are some provinces where compensation can be renounced if evidence is presented showing that you provoked 1% of your injuries. Other provinces will allow compensation if another individual or operator is more to blame than you. Furthermore, if you are not the only party to blame, you may still be eligible for insurance coverage. Finally, get an inspection done on your boat, even if you believe the damages are minor. 

Call a Lawyer 

When deciding on taking the boating accident to court, you must call a lawyer. Though a personal injury lawyer can represent you well, they may not have the knowledge as an expert in the field. This is why it is advisable to call a boating accident lawyer who can inform you adequately and tell you what to do when you are involved in such a situation. 

Remember that when you are injured due to boater negligence, you have the right to claim compensation. If you are partially at fault for the accident, a lawyer will help defend your case against the allegations you face. Unfortunately, numerous people will not seek legal advice because they are worried about the cost. There are many lawyers that will offer a free consultation, and some will not charge unless you win. 

Getting into a boating accident can be traumatizing. When faced with such a situation, some steps should be taken for your safety and benefit. One of these essential steps is gathering information to help in claim boating insurance. We know from first-hand experience how essential this is for boaters. To learn more about our policy options or to discuss your coverage regarding your boat, reach out to us or request a quote today. We’re happy to assist!

What it Means to Own a Boat in B.C.

What it Means to Own a Boat in B.C.

British Colombia is dotted with picturesque lakes and rivers, not to mention the Pacific Ocean, with inviting waters just waiting for you to launch your vessel. As the owner, you should ensure that you know how your specific boat works, inside and out. However, if you don’t have a sufficiently informed perspective on what you need when it comes to your watercraft, you could be in hot water. Let’s look at the cost of owning a boat in B.C. more extensively.

Licensing and Registration

A Pleasure Craft Licence is required if you intend to operate a boat in B.C. It is required in all except for certain conditions. You can apply online or via mail with your licence application, which is free and, once received, must be kept in the vessel at all times. You will need to register your boat if you plan on international travel, like docking in the states, which will run you $250. 

The Safety of Passengers

Keeping up-to-date with federal government-required safety gear is vital to not only you as the owner, but also to anyone else who climbs aboard. Personal floatation devices (PFDs) can become costly, ranging from $30 to $80, and must be available for everyone on board at all times. If you are unsure what to do in case of an emergency, a boating course can help. It will likely cost around $50 or so, depending on the provider of the programming, and such education will improve your knowledge of precautions and skills when it comes to your watercraft. You should also schedule routine maintenance checks to ensure it is kept in good, working order, which will vary in cost.

Storage and Winterizing

Depending on the location and size of your boat, winterizing and storage are typically necessary for the off-season to ensure it does not receive any unforeseen damage. You might consider a boat trailer, storage rack, a boathouse or yacht club, or in-water moorage. You should weigh the options available to you with regard to your watercraft, its requirements, and your budget, as some solutions will charge by the foot. 

Boat Insurance

Without boating insurance, you will likely be left paying for part replacements and possible damages out of pocket. This can be costly, which is why owning a boat should also come with a tailored insurance policy for it. Working with a comprehensive insurer, such as our own highly dedicated team at Portside Insurance, allows you to customize your policy to suit your needs and greatly reduces overall costs. 

We have years of experience helping watercraft owners ensure their investment is protected. The true cost of owning a boat in B.C. cannot be decided until you are covered by the right insurer, and perhaps that’s us! Reach out to our team today to explore our policy options.