With the summer recreation season on the horizon, all boaters should take the time to review their insurance policies to make sure they’re carrying the right type of coverage. Boat insurance in Alberta can seem complicated, especially since boats and other types of recreational water vehicles have a reputation for being difficult to insure. While that reputation is somewhat unfounded, it’s still essential for you to have a thorough understanding of your responsibilities.
When it comes to boat insurance in Alberta, many people are confused by the fact that some types of watercraft are covered by regular home insurance policies, while others are not. As a general rule of thumb, home insurance will usually offer limited forms of coverage for very small boats and small watercraft that are not engine-powered. Larger boats and engine-powered watercraft generally need to be protected by separate policies. Always check with your insurance provider if you have any questions about the extent of your current coverage.
If you’re shopping for boat insurance in Alberta, it will help to have a good working understanding of how insurers classify boats so you can more easily compare quotes and options. Many other factors affect boat insurance premiums, though, so it’s also a good idea to prepare a list of questions to ask your provider to help you find the best coverage for the lowest possible price.
Boat Insurance Alberta: Classifying Watercraft
Insurers need to classify your watercraft in order to determine how it will be covered. The following general definitions are often applied to boats and watercraft by insurance companies:
Personal watercraft are less than 16 feet in length, and may or may not be engine-powered
Boats are 16 to 25 feet in length, and may or may not be engine-powered
Yachts are more than 25 feet in length
Some companies may follow more specific classifications. In such cases, your boat may be defined by its type, or its intended application. Examples include cruisers, fishing boats, houseboats, sailboats and motorboats, among others.
How Boat Coverage Works
Watercraft insurance functions much like car insurance. You need to carry liability coverage in case your boat damages another person’s property or causes injury, and your boat needs to be protected from perils like theft, fire and accidental damage. As with motor vehicles, you will be presented with numerous options by your insurance provider, some of which offer more complete forms of protection than others. Minimum requirements vary, depending on the type of watercraft you’re insuring.
Your policy will provide specific protections for elements of your watercraft, including:
- The hull and trailer(s)
- Engines, motors and mechanical components
- Navigation and communication devices
Policies cover owner liabilities and loss of use situations, with some also providing for emergency costs such as towing. You can also get protection for any personal property you may be bringing on board.
Also, like car insurance, boat insurance allows you to lend your boat to other drivers. However, this comes with certain responsibilities, and it’s important to understand how lending your boat to others could increase your risk potential.
Finally, you should discuss your travel plans with your insurer if you want to travel out of the country in your boat. Your insurance coverage may become subject to certain limitations or be altogether invalidated if you travel outside a predefined geographic area.
Questions to Ask Your Provider
It is essential to understand your boat insurance policy before signing on the dotted line. To that end, here is a list of questions to ask your insurance provider:
- Do I qualify for reduced rates based on age, property ownership or insurance status? Many providers offer discounts to people over 50, and to homeowners and people who already hold policies with the same insurance company.
- Are discounts available if I take a certified boating safety course?
- What exclusions apply if I’m using my boat in Alberta? What if I take my boat to another province?
- Are my boating accessories and personal property covered by the policy? If so, what are the coverage limits?
- Does this policy offer actual cash value (ACV) coverage or replacement value (RV) coverage?
Boat Insurance Alberta: Low Rates and Outstanding Service from Lane’s Insurance
Lane’s Insurance is a leading provider of affordable insurance products. Serving customers throughout Alberta, Lane’s Insurance offers detailed resources, outstanding claims support and enhanced customer service, along with the most competitive rates you’ll find anywhere. Visit Lane’s Insurance online to get a fast, free quote for boat insurance in Alberta.