Everything you need to know about insurance Insurance is often considered to be a necessary evil. But worry-free boating requires that you pay some attention to the subject. To get a clearer picture, we asked a few questions to a personal insurance analyst. Why is it important to insure my boat? Because boating involves risks and as a boat owner, you can be held liable for property damage or bodily injury resulting from the use of our boat. Your boat can also suffer damage itself if it hits a floating object or the motor catches on something. Or the boat may be stolen. These things happen, so it’s important to protect your investment. What are the basic types of coverage? First, civil liability. This will cover you if you are held liable for property damage or bodily injury resulting from the use of your boat, for example, if you injure someone when driving your boat or if you damage someone else’s boat in a marina. You should also insure your own boat for damages. Most specialized insurers offer all risk protection covering fire, theft, vandalism, collisions on the water and on the road, as well as damage caused by wind and lightening. Other insurers offer a more limited version, often covering only fire and theft. A number of additional types of coverage can be included in your policy, such as wreck removal costs, death benefits and medical expenses, or an agreed value rider guaranteeing that the insurance payment will not be affected by depreciation (similar to replacement value), etc. Can I cancel my insurance during winter storage? Tempted to cancel your insurance when you store your boat? It’s not necessarily a good idea, because most pleasure boat policies have seasonal premiums spread over the boating season. Canceling your insurance in the fall and taking out a new policy in the spring won’t save you much money, and your boat won’t be covered during the winter. Does my home insurance cover my boat? Most home insurance policies include civil liability coverage for boats less than 26 ft. long with motors that don’t exceed a certain limit (25 to 50 HP). If you always bring your boat back to the house, direct damages will also be covered, subject to the terms of your policy, but only up to a certain amount. If you buy a boat, contact your insurance agent to find out what the limits are. Depending on your needs, you can either add a rider to your home insurance policy or obtain a policy specially designed for your boat. If you store your boat in your garage and your house burns down, your boat may not be fully covered under your home insurance policy. Ask your insurer for more information. If I travel to the United States, is my boat covered? Most specialized insurers limit the navigation area to between the 40th and 52nd parallel north latitude, i.e. from Philadelphia to the border between Quebec’s North Shore and Labrador. What’s more, you must remain within 100 miles (160 km) of the coast. If you plan to travel outside this area, contact your insurer to see if you can add a special rider. Always check the navigation area covered when you buy a new insurance policy. For example, some insurers do not include the port of New York. What happens if my boat is stolen while it’s out of the water? Many insurers require that you lock your trailer tongue using a special lock system. We’re not talking about a simple padlock here, but a bolt that completely blocks the trailer tongue coupling. Some policies stipulate that theft is not covered if this device is not used. So don’t hesitate to ask, and to get yourself properly equipped! What factors affect insurance costs? Category of boat Value Power of the motor(s) Previous claims Driver age Driving experience Boating courses taken Navigation area *This is not an exhaustive list, and each insurer will have its own additional criteria.