If you’re one of the many boat owners in Ontario, you likely know what it’s like to haul your boat back and forth from your home to the lake. Whether you do it all season long or only when opening and closing your cottage, having a bulky object attached to your car makes for a daunting drive. You might (and should) already have boat insurance in case something goes wrong on the road, but what about the hefty trailer that’s helping you get from point A to point B? Is it properly covered if you get in an accident, and does it have to be? Here’s a quick and easy guide to boat trailer insurance to help you make an informed decision.
What is Boat Trailer Insurance?
Boat trailer insurance falls under the greater umbrella of trailer insurance, as you’re hitching something to the back of your car that you can’t see that you have less control over. Boat trailer insurance specifically covers trailers for watercraft, since they’re such a specialized item. This coverage may be built into one of your other policies, or you can get special insurance that provides greater protection.
What Does Boat Trailer Insurance Cover?
Boat trailer insurance usually covers damage to the trailer regardless of whether or not it’s attached to your car, at your home, or your boat. The basic policy will cover property damage to the boat trailer and bodily injury in case of an accident. You can get your policy extended.
Boat trailers are left on land when boaters take to the water, which makes them the preferred targets for vandalism. Since boat trailers are generally expensive, they have a higher likelihood of being unhitched and stolen when left unattended, as they’re easy to haul away without proper locking systems in place. Comprehensive coverage is designed to protect boat trailer owners when this occurs. This coverage also extends to severe weather damage.
If your boat trailer is already covered under your auto policy, you may still want to get boat trailer insurance to extend the liability coverage. This will cover more of the legal fees, medical bills, and property damages in the event of an accident, though your car must be involved in the accident for it to be covered under the auto policy.
Collision damage is another matter. It covers your trailer if it is in a traffic accident while not attached to your vehicle. This can happen if someone else is hauling it home for you, or if it detaches from your car on the road.
Do I Need Boat Trailer Insurance in Ontario?
Just like how boat insurance isn’t required by law in Ontario, boat trailer insurance isn’t a mandated necessity. However, considering the damage that can be caused by a trailer or to a trailer in a traffic accident, plus the fact that they are easy targets for theft, vandalism, and weather damage, boat trailer insurance is a smart investment. This is especially true in Canada where we face extreme weather conditions every winter, and therefore, your trailer is effectively at a constant risk of suffering weather damage.
A boat trailer can cost up to $5,000. These are extremely valuable pieces of kit. Damages and theft affecting them are usually only covered under boat trailer insurance, so while it isn’t necessary to purchase this specialized coverage, you may want to get it anyways since it could end up saving you money in the long run.
Is My Boat Trailer Covered by My Auto, Home or Boat Insurance?
It’s possible that you’ll get some coverage from your trailer under your auto, home, and/or boat policy, but the coverage won’t be comprehensive. If you’re filing a claim for your trailer through another policy, usually, it will only cover you for bodily injury or property damage. Even then, you might not be eligible.
Various conditions often need to be met for the coverage to apply as well. For example, as noted previously, your boat trailer will have to be attached to your car for it to be covered under your auto insurance. If, for whatever reason, it detaches on the road and causes damage or is destroyed in a collision, your claim may no longer be valid.
Homeowners’ insurance will cover your trailer if you store it at home rather than at a marina over the winter. However, if you have boat insurance, you may choose to keep your boat stored at your cottage throughout the winter to keep your premiums down. Your boat trailer will not be covered by homeowners’ insurance if you leave it at the cottage.
Some boat insurance policies cover boat trailers, but others do not. Speak to your provider about what you’ll get for your boat trailer under these policies, and what conditions need to be met.
How Much Does Boat Trailer Insurance Cost?
The cost of boat trailer insurance will vary based on a variety of factors. Speak to your provider about bundling your boat trailer insurance with other policies since you can save money this way. When you carry multiple policies with the same insurance company or independent agent, this is often a viable option because it makes it easier for clients to file claims.
Your premiums will be affected by other factors including the size of the boat trailer, how often you use it, and how it is used. If you add coverage to your policy, your premiums will rise, but you’ll have more protection in the event of an accident. Popular add-ons include liability extensions, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.
Based on years of assisting dedicated boaters with their claims, we know how essential getting out on the water is for many. That’s why Portside Marine Insurance is proud to bring you the very best in boat insurance policies. With offices in Ottawa, Kelowna, and Calgary, we’re widely available across Canada and want to see you safely out onto whichever lakes or oceans call your name. Reach out to us and ask for a quote or more information today!