Cottage Q&A: Buying boat insurance

A powerboat speeding through the water By freevideophotoagency/Shutterstock

I need to insure my powerboat, and my current company will not insure craft over 55 hp. Are there companies that will do this?—Mark Wakefield, Apsley, Ont.

Yes. Some seasonal-home insurers offer boat policies as a separate product. And some companies are marine specialists and insure nothing but boats and PWCs. 

It’s normal for home or seasonal dwelling policies to have limitations with respect to watercraft, says Bev Mitchell, a special risks underwriter with Johnston Meier Insurance Agencies Group in Maple Ridge, B.C. Length and horsepower restrictions are very common. “It makes sense if you think about it,” says Mitchell. “You’re more likely to injure a third party if you run into them in the water with a motorized boat than if you run into them with a kayak.”   

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“A lot of companies will say, ‘No, we’re not going to touch that,’ ” says Jared Chartrand of Northstar Marine Insurance in Barrie, Ont. “They’ll say, ‘We’d be doing you a disservice.’ ” But for a company that deals in boats, it should be no problem. Fifty-five horsepower “is not a lot of horsepower,” says Chartrand. “We’ve insured boats that are 1,000 hp.” 

  Even if you have only small, motorized boats that fall under your cottage policy, it may be worth paying for a stand-alone marine policy—you’ll get more robust coverage. “The primary reason that you take out a policy to cover your cottage is to cover the building and its contents,” says Mitchell. “Not to insure your boat.”

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This article was originally published in the October 2018 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

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