Is Cheaper Better?
Generally No! The old adage "that you get what you pay for" applies to most things in life and this is no exception. We all like to save money however the cost to you for saving a few dollars on your marine insurance could be substantial. Make sure that your savings don't result in less coverage than you are comfortable with.
How can I save money?
There are a number of different ways to save money on your marine insurance. You could take a higher deductible therefore increasing the amount of damage that you are willing to pay for before the insurance policy kicks in. If you have an older boat or you are not too concerned with coverage for damage to the Hull & Machinery you could insure your boat for Liability only.
How much should I insure my boat for?
That's a very good question especially today with a strong Canadian dollar and lower resale values. The minimum would be the amount of money that you owe on your boat if you have a loan. A marine insurance broker will have access to guides that will give them a valuation range for your vessel. The best policies will cover your vessel for an "Agreed Value" so make sure that you are happy with the amount, as that is the maximum amount that you will receive in the event of a total loss. If your boat is less than 5 years old, insuring it for the original purchase price or current retail value would be a good suggestion.
How much Liability Coverage should I have?
Most insurance policies provide a minimum of 1 million dollars in liability coverage which will cover you against claims for property damage and bodily injury. In addition most polices offer a 2 million dollar option which is a worthwhile upgrade as it provides a significant amount of additional protection for a minimum increase in premium. This is not a good place to skimp on coverage.
What is All Risk coverage?
All risk coverage provides coverage for "all risks" except for those that are specifically excluded. All insurance policies have exclusions and limitations. A policy with more exclusions or limitations may be cheaper, however if you have a claim and the loss was excluded you will not be covered.
What is "Actual Cash Value"?
Actual cash value or "ACV" is the depreciated amount paid to you by the insurance company in the event of a claim. It is calculated by taking the cost to repair or replace less depreciation on the item or part. Depreciation is determined by the insurance adjuster at the time of the loss and is not governed by any specific guidelines. It is generally better to have "replacement cost without depreciation" coverage. Although a little more expensive you don't have to worry about making up the shortfall out of your own pocket.
What happens if I have a claim?
You don't want to have a claim but if you do, you want to make sure that your claim is dealt with quickly and efficiently. If the claim is minor and parts are available you should be back on the water within a few days. What you pay should not determine the claims service that you receive however, this is probably the time that you will be glad that you did not take the cheapest coverage.
Who can drive my boat?
Generally, anyone who is legally able to, can operate your boat. There may be specific limitations due to the boat type or the age of the operator. If a person has a suspended or disqualified drivers license allowing them to operate your boat may void or invalidate your coverage. Remember you are ultimately responsible for the actions of anyone operating your boat.
Am I covered if I hit a rock in the water?
Yes, if you have physical damage coverage for your hull and machinery. You will be required to pay your deductible. A cheaper policy may have a different deductible for above and below the waterline losses. You may also be able to save some money by asking for this option on a more expensive policy.
Do I need a survey?
Generally when your boat reaches a certain age 10-15 years old, the insurance company may ask you for a survey. The survey is for your benefit as much as for the insurance company. You are responsible for providing the survey and trying to save a few dollars here is not in your best interest. If you have not yet purchased a boat, make sure you get a survey before purchasing. Our website refers you to the websites of specialized organizations that will help you find an evaluator which is accredited by one of these organizations.

Note: Certain portions used with permission from Lifestyle Integrated Media