Boat Insurance. Do you really need it?
Friday, August 21, 2015
Summers are short in Canada... some may say too short. When the temperatures start to rise, sun worshippers, swimmers, skiers and boaters set their course for the cool comfort and recreational draw of the water.
While water is a key ingredient in summer fun, with the increased water traffic comes risk, particularly with water vessels. There are approximately 2.8 million small boats and personal watercrafts in Canada. Each year, there are 4,000 accidents involving boats on Canadian waters, resulting in over 600 fatalities, over 3,000 injuries, and $35.5 million dollars in property damage. Most boating accidents are caused by carelessness, inexperience, excessive speed and alcohol consumption.
Despite these staggering statistics, boat insurance is not a legal requirement.
Boat insurance covers your investment and protects you
Your boat is a significant investment. It’s a source of pride for you in the same way your car would be. You have insured your home and your vehicle - so why not insure your boat?
Even if you're confident in your driving and the care that you take with your boat, there are other risks you need to consider. Boat insurance protects your investment against unexpected damage like hitting something in the water, or theft or vandalism.
Insurance also protects you in the event that you are the cause of an accident, and find yourself involved in a legal suit.
Many homeowners are under the impression that their home insurance covers marine accidents. However, most home insurance policies cover only small boats with or without an engine, and depending on the class and type of your vessel, it may not be covered. Just as you purchase an insurance policy for your vehicle, you need a separate policy that is specifically designed to cover your boat.
Reasons why you need boat insurance
- Many marinas and inland waterways require that your boat be insured before you can launch or moor. Not having insurance could limit the number of marinas or waterways you can visit.
- If you're involved in an accident, an insurance policy will cover damage to other boats or property, injury and legal fees.
- Insurance can protect you against major recovery costs related to your boat, such as having it sink on a mooring or in harbour.
- Boat insurance can cover you against loss or theft of personal possessions on board.
- Your boat trailer can also be covered, and you can look into a policy that includes roadside assistance for worry-free transportation to and from the lake.
- Even though you don’t use your boat all year long in Canada, your lender, or storage yard will likely require you to have coverage in effect all year. If you store the boat at home over the winter, don’t assume your homeowner’s insurance will cover it if you cancel your boat policy. Best to check with your insurance agent.
Are you licensed to drive your boat?
Even though insurance is not required to operate a recreational vessel in Alberta, a Pleasure Craft Operator Card is. Think of it as a boating license that certifies you as a qualified boat operator.
This card is required regardless of age, size of boat or engine horsepower, and is mandated by law in Canada. If you're operating a watercraft without a Pleasure Operator Card, you could face a $250 Fine.
There are many Boating License Courses to prepare for certification, and most of them can be taken online.
Summer will gone before you know it. Protect your investment so that you can look forward to many more years of water fun.
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