Boat Insurance

As a boater or boater to be, you’ll want the appropriate boat insurance. This will help give you the peace of mind you need while enjoying your vessel on the beautiful lakes and rivers of Alberta and other parts of Canada and the U.S.

This article will help you discover the following:

  • Canadian regulations for operating a pleasure craft
  • The suddenness in which a good time can go bad while boating
  • The three boating categories
  • The four insurance coverages to look for
  • In which waters you are protected by insurance

Canadian Regulations

You know that as a boater in Canada, you need to show proof of competency in the operation of a pleasure craft. For compliance, you need to be able to show one of more of the following:

  • A Pleasure Craft Operator Card
  • Proof of having successfully completed a boating safety course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999
  • A completed rental-boat safety checklist

So, make sure you’re legal, safe and insured before you get on the water. Because this is what can happen out there:

A Tragic Story

This is a true story. The boater who did not survive was from Alberta. It can happen this fast:

Recently, on the Fraser River in Richmond, two boaters ran out of fuel.  A brother of one of the boaters brought them gas, then left. One of the boaters started the vessel. However, it was in gear and with the wheel turned all the way to one side. The boat sped ahead causing one of the boaters to fall out of the boat. He ended up in the path of the oncoming boat as it turned in the water and was killed.

A tragic story. Fluke accidents, as boaters know, can happen anytime on any body of water. That’s why, as a boater, you have an obligation to insure yourself, your vessel and any passengers.

Boat Categories

For insurance purposes, there are three main boat classifications:

  • Vessels that are 26’ or longer are classified as a yacht
  • Vessels from 16’ to 25’ 11” are classified as boats
  • A vessel less than 16” long is called personal watercraft. This includes Waverunners and Jet Skis.

Personal watercraft tends to be involved in more accidents than the other size vessels. In fact, some insurers may not provide insurance at all in this class.

Note: Don’t count on your boat being covered by your home insurance policy. If there’s any coverage at all, it’s minimal. Plus, the damage has to occur at your home and is generally only good on 16hp for outboard and 50hp for inboard motors.

Four Boat Insurance Coverages

Boat insurance coverages are not too dissimilar from auto policies. Following are the five coverages you can expect to see:

Boat and Boating Equipment- This covers any damage to your boat. It’s usually stated in one of three ways:

  • Replacement Coverage- Provided usually on new boats, this is where the insurer will replace your boat with a similar brand new vessel
  • Agree Value- This is where you set an amount you will be paid in the event of a total loss
  • Actual Cash Value (ACV)- The insurance company will pay the fair market value of the boat. This includes a replacement minus depreciation

Liability- This is protection if you are found liable for damage to another’s boat or injuring another individual. The limits are stated on the policy and are offered in $100,000 increments up to as much as several million dollars depending on the size of your vessel.

Medical Payments- Medical payments will be made up to the limit on your policy if injuries are sustained by you or your passengers

Uninsured/Underinsured Boater- If you get involved in a mishap with an uninsured or underinsured boater, this coverage will pay our up to the limit on the policy

There are several other coverages. These include coverage for a trailer, fuel spills, personal effects on the boat and commercial towing and assistance in case you get stranded on the water.

Just like with an auto policy, deductibles will apply to certain coverages such as boating and boating equipment, boat trailers and personal effects.

Note: Take special note of where the coverage is in force. For example, under “Cruising Limits” section it might state that coverage is confined to U.S. and Canada Coastal and Inland Waters only.

Many insurers offer discounts if you’ve taken boater’s safety courses. You can also see some premium reduction if you have no losses over a period of time.

Contact Alpine Insurance at one of our locations in Calgary, Canmore, Edmonton, Lethbridge or Red Deer for what you need to be completely covered while you enjoy your watercraft. Boating is fun and good insurance coverage can help keep it that way.

You can also obtain a quote on boaters insurance on this site.

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