Boat insurance isn’t mandatory, but it is a good idea—a boat is a significant investment, and the protection of a separate boat insurance policy just makes good sense. (Plus, if you’re financing a boat or mooring it at a marina, you may have to provide proof of insurance.)
There are ways, though, to make your boat insurance a little more affordable. Follow these tips when you’re shopping for a boat to make sure you get the best possible rates.
Choose your type of boat carefully
Like cars, high-performance boats cost more to insure—partly because they tend to cost more up front, and partly because the risk of accidents is greater. Insurers use a maximum speed and length-to-horsepower ratio to determine rates, so choosing safety over speed can help keep your rates down.
Don’t go overboard on the extras
Err of the side of moderation. An expensive boat with every available accessory is going to be more expensive to replace, so your premiums will be higher. Choose a mid-priced boat and don’t go crazy on the extras if you want to keep your rates down.
Take and complete a boating safety course
Many companies will offer a discount if you can prove that you’ve taken a boating safety course. These classes can help prepare you to take the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), or boat license, which is mandatory if you want to operate a boat in Ontario. Although you don’t have to take a class to pass the PCOC exam, it’s a good idea to know what to do just in case something unexpected happens.
You may also qualify for a discount if you have safety equipment on board, such as a GPS system.
Maintain a clean driving record
Safety is safety, whether you’re on the road or in the water. Your driving record doesn’t just affect your car insurance—it has an influence on your boat insurance rates as well. Most insurance providers will ask for your driver’s license number, and will raise your premiums if you have multiple tickets.
Check out other types of discounts
Most insurance companies will offer no claim discounts after a year. As well, you can reduce your rates by agreeing to a higher deductible.
Use technology to your advantage
Sometimes it helps to be in a wired world. If you download the BOATsmart! Connect app, you’ll get a free introductory membership that qualifies you for up to 25 percent off your insurance rates through BOATsmart! Assure. Available free for iPhone and Android, the app is loaded with animated refresher lessons on boat safety and waterway rules, and it allows you set up a personal profile and connect with other boaters.
Protecting your investment doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Your insurance provider can help you determine the best ways to keep the insurance you need and the rates you want.