Loss of use: coverage that can save your season – APRIL Marine
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Loss of use: coverage that can save your season

By Sophia Alachouzos


Collision. Theft. Fire. Vandalism. Even rodents. All it takes is one lousy mishap to ruin a boating season. But take heart. Did you know that with APRIL Marine, your insurance policy may cover the cost of renting a replacement boat? Our experts, Anne-Marie Roy, Underwriting Manager, and Stacey Buckley, Claims Manager, explain how to keep the boating season going.

What is loss of use?

Anne-Marie: This is additional coverage APRIL Marine offers to cover additional costs and/or the rental of a replacement boat. Essentially, if these costs are incurred as a result of a covered repair or replacement, they are considered essential and will also be covered.

How do you get this coverage?

Anne-Marie: It’s included in our “All Risks” insurance policies. The covered amount generally ranges from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the type of boat you have and the amount specified in your contract. This amount is on top of the amount you’re entitled to under your contract to cover the cost of emergency towing and repairs or, if it can’t be repaired, the compensation you’re entitled to. If you’re not sure if you have this coverage already in your policy or how much you’re covered for, read the “Special Conditions” section. If you have any questions or want to add this coverage to your policy, contact your broker. They are the best person to talk to.

How does this coverage work?

Stacey: Basically, if your claim is covered by your policy, we will reimburse you up to a specified amount for additional and reasonable expenses considered necessary as a result of the claim. This amount can be used to rent a replacement boat so that you can continue to enjoy your boating season. The coverage will usually specify that you need to rent a boat of the same type and size, but we’re flexible because we know this isn’t always possible. I remember one policyholder who was unable to find a pontoon for rent to replace his own that was being repaired, so instead he wanted to rent several personal watercraft for the whole family to enjoy. He called us to explain the situation, and we approved his request, even though it didn’t quite fit the terms of his contract. We understand that sometimes exceptions are needed and we’re happy to accommodate our insureds when we can.

What are the steps for getting expenses reimbursed? Any missteps to avoid?

Anne-Marie: First check your contract to make sure you have this additional coverage, and for what amount. Then contact your claims adjuster before incurring any expenses. They can check the appraiser’s report and confirm if your policy does indeed cover the claim. You’re obviously free to rent a replacement boat before your file is processed, but if it turns out the loss isn’t covered, you won’t be reimbursed for the rental cost.

Stacey: To have the expense reimbursed, the loss has to be covered by your insurance policy and confirmed by the adjuster assigned to your file up to the amount specified in the contract. Reimbursement is made upon presentation of supporting documents—such as a receipt describing the rental boat with its registration number, along with the amount and the dates of the rental. It’s  very important to rent a boat from a professional rental company that can provide this information. A handwritten invoice for a boat rented from a relative won’t be accepted. Only a boat from a professional rental company will be covered by its own “commercial” boat insurance during the rental period. That’s not the case for boats rented from a private individual.

We’ll sometimes receive claims from policyholders who had a collision while driving a boat rented from a neighbour. Remember that an insured’s coverage only covers the specific boat mentioned in their contract. In other words, it doesn’t cover rental boats. But the neighbor’s boat insurance won’t accept the claim either, because renting constitutes a commercial transaction. And commercial transactions fall outside the scope of “pleasure craft” coverage.

The owner of the boat was therefore left holding a very high repair bill. As you can imagine, this kind of scenario can put a real chill on a neighbourly relationship.

Never hesitate to ask your repairperson or marina for the names of professional rental companies. If you have any questions or doubts, talk to your APRIL Marine claims adjuster. Our team really cares about the well-being of our clients and works hard to serve them well.

We want you to get the most from our services—and from your boating season. In fact, this year we won the Excellence in Claims Service award from Insurance Business Canada—beating out some of the biggest names in insurance.


REMEMBER:

  • Check your policy to see if you’re covered for loss of use and for how much.
  • Confirm with your adjuster that the reported
  • Rent a replacement boat from a professional rental company and get a detailed invoice.
  • You can rent a boat at any time while your boat is still unusable following a covered loss (repairs still not made).

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