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Ontario Boat Insurance

Finding the best boating insurance in Ontario

Owning a boat is a wonderful experience. You can go on a cruise with your friends, fish, island hop and enjoy many other water activities. However, you will want to make sure your boat is insured to protect you in case of an accident. Purchasing a boat can be expensive, and it is no small amount of money to invest in your good times. Note as well that there are other official fees that go along with boat ownership, such as registration costs, historical research, and more. 

Acera Insurance will help you understand the details of a boat insurance policy and how to find the best rates. This comprehensive guide will cover what you need to know about boat insurance.

Ontario Boat Insurance Explained

What is boat insurance?

Boat insurance is a form of recreational insurance that protects you against financial losses due to damage to your boat, theft or other accidents. You can also get liability coverage, which offers protection if someone is hurt while you are running your boat. Even though you can add your boat to your home insurance policy in some cases, this may not supply enough coverage for your watercraft. That’s why it is important to have a separate policy that covers your boat.

Boat insurance doesn’t use “collision” or “comprehensive” terms to describe coverages like auto insurance does; instead, boat policies can include:

  • Hull insurance, which provides coverage for damage to your boat equipment and machinery from fire, sinking, storms, floods and theft. 
  • Boat liability insurance provides coverage for injuries to others and damage to other boats, docks or piers. This coverage can also include coverage for tenders, dinghies, sails and spars, outboard motors and other equipment used to maintain and operate the boat.

Why do you need boat insurance in Ontario?

Although not required by law on most bodies of water in Ontario, marine mortgage companies might insist on mandatory insurance as part of their lending process. They may also have other boat safety requirements.

There are also financial benefits of having adequate coverage for your boat. here are two reasons boat insurance is beneficial: 

  • Boat repairs can be expensive. Boat insurance can take care of the costs and get you back to enjoying your watercraft.
  • If someone gets hurt or has their property as a result of operating your boat, you could be held liable. Boat insurance can protect you from third-party liability for injuries or property damage caused by your vessel, which is the most common claim received by insurance companies. This includes covering medical expenses, repairs and legal costs.

Common types of boat insurance coverage in Ontario

1. Actual Cash Value Policy

An actual cash value policy pays only the current cash value of your boat if it is considered a loss. Actual cash policies account for depreciation in the replacement value. Your boat insurance broker will likely contact you to discuss changes to an actual cash value policy to lower your premiums as your boat ages.

2. Agreed Value/Replacement Cost Policy

Agreed value policies protect your boat based on its current value at the time the policy was created. These policies are more expensive upfront but, unlike an actual cash value policy, depreciation will not factor into your payout should you experience a loss. 

Our expert boat insurance brokers can tell you which type of boat insurance is right for you and your lifestyle! Get your quote now.

What does Ontario boat insurance cover?

Property Damage

Most physical damage coverage covers repairs to your boat due to damage from a variety of hazards. The most common causes of boat property damage are: 

  • weather-related risks like wind, rain and lightning
  • fire
  • loss or damage caused by theft or vandalism
  • collisions with other boats, submerged objects, floating objects or docks. 

You should also choose a policy that covers your boat when it is being transported overland by trailer.

Boat owners handle maintaining their boats. Therefore, a policy covering yachts or boats often excludes normal wear and tear. To avoid any surprises, compare the exclusions for physical damage from different insurance companies.

Collision damage coverage can cover the cost of replacing or repairing your boat. This could save you thousands. You might not be eligible for salvage or towing services. These are usually offered separately, and you should include them in your policy as they can be expensive.

Third-Party Liability

Liability insurance covers you for legal liability if you are negligent while boating and cause damage to the property of third parties or injure or kill another person. Most policies, though not all, include liability to third parties with the hull (all-risk) type of boat insurance. A few insurance companies offer third-party liability insurance on their own. 

If you choose to separate third-party liability insurance from hull insurance, this will not affect the premiums or terms of the other policy. 

Note that nearly all marinas require yachts to have third-party liability insurance.

Add-on Ontario Boat Coverage Options

Emergency Towing and Assistance coverage

This coverage can cover your expenses if you require emergency services such as towing to a repair facility; delivery of fuel, oil or parts; and, labour charges for any repairs. You should check your policy beforehand to see if a deductible applies or if there are any annual limits on multiple towing claims.

Uninsured/Underinsured Boater Coverage

Many boaters operate without boat liability insurance because it is not required by law. Uninsured boater coverage covers you for injuries that occur aboard your boat due to the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured operator on another boat.

Medical Payments Coverage

It is important to verify that your policy provides adequate coverage for medical payments. Even if you’re not legally responsible for a collision causing physical injury, medical payments coverage will cover medical expenses— such as ambulance and hospital bills — for anyone who is injured while on your boat. It is important that you check whether your coverage applies to someone who is  on your boat as well as anyone being towed behind your boat (e.g., water skier). You should also ensure that your family is covered for injuries that may occur when boating. If you have equal amounts of insurance coverage, it may be better to get coverage for “per person” than coverage for “per accident.”

Find out what else you can include in your boat insurance policy when you get a free boat insurance quote with Acera Insurance.

What isn’t covered by boat insurance in Ontario?

There is no “one-size fits all” policy for boat insurance since boat insurance isn’t standardized like auto and car insurance. You may need to adjust or add coverage depending on the location of your boat, the way it is used, any accessories, customization and how you store your watercraft.

You should also consider added endorsements and modifications to your boat insurance policy such as:

  • Towing
  • Boat trailers
  • Accessories for boating
  • Custom equipment
  • Special trip endorsements

Some things not covered by a standard boat insurance policy include:

Wear and Tear

While most policies do not cover wear and tear, you can add consequential damages that can cover losses due to failed parts on your watercraft.

Special Trip Endorsements

Your insurance company should be notified if you intend to travel outside Canada and the U.S. in your boat — such as to Mexico or the Bahamas. Boat insurance policies won’t cover your boat if it isn’t in Canadian or U.S. territorial water. To provide temporary coverage for your boat while it is in international waters, you will need a trip endorsement.

Boat Accessories

Unless otherwise stated in the policy, most insurance companies will not cover boat equipment or accessories, such as:

  • Electronic equipment including radar
  • Navigation/GPS systems and fish finders 
  • Life jackets
  • Modifications to boats
  • Anchors

Talk to our expert boat insurance brokers about customizations and accessories to ensure that your boat is covered. To ensure adequate protection, most insurance companies will recommend that you purchase personal effects coverage as well as supplemental boat coverage.

Racing and Competition

Boat coverage doesn’t cover your boat for any races and other special events. Talk to a specialist if you intend to use your watercraft in competitions.

Additional liability insurance may be a good option. You will need enough coverage for your boat as well as the boat of the other driver in case of a collision while racing.

Unnamed Boat Operators

Boat insurance shares some similarities to auto policies — it only covers drivers named on the policy. Your insurance might not cover damages if you allow another person to drive your boat if they are not listed on your policy.

Boat Use Clause

Boater insurance policies assume that you will use your boat only for pleasure purposes. In other words, entertaining guests on your boat is not considered a violation of your “use clause.”

But you could violate your use clause if passengers pay for the privilege to ride on your boat. You must notify your insurance company immediately if the boat is rented out for any other purposes. If your insurance company discovers that your boat was being used to conduct business, you may not be covered for any damage that occurs.


Your insurance company may not pay for repairs if your boat is damaged by termites or barnacles. Most insurance companies exclude damage caused by mold, insects or animals from watercraft policies as such damage can typically be prevented by proactive maintenance.

Faulty Machinery and Accessories

Boater insurance policies don’t cover machinery or parts that are damaged or need to be replaced due to poor maintenance or misuse. Your insurance company may be able to cover damage to boat machinery and parts due to a covered risk or hazard. Each insurance company is different, so speak with our expert boat insurance brokers to find out what coverage insurers offer and whether there are any limitations. 

Proper Transportation and Storage

Boat coverage is required all year. However, discounts may be offered if a boat is kept off-season (also known as a winter layup period). Basic policies usually cover theft, fire, vandalism and winter storms during the off-season. Our brokers can provide more information about this coverage.

You will, however, be responsible for damage to your watercraft if it is damaged due to improper storage or transport. For example, if you fail to secure the vessel properly before it is taken to storage, and it falls off the trailer, your boat insurance won’t cover the damage.

Ontario Boat Insurance Costs

How much does boat insurance cost in Ontario?

Insurance companies consider several factors when determining the cost of coverage. Factors that insurance companies consider when calculating boat premiums include:

  • The length of the boat
  • Vessel type
  • Use of a vessel (e.g., racing, fishing or tow sports).
  • Age of the boat
  • Horsepower of the boat
  • Current value of the boat
  • How long you’ve owned the boat 
  • Where you choose to operate the vessel (e.g., inland lakes, rivers, causeways, offshore or open water.)

Acera Insurance can get you competitive boat insurance prices. Get your free boat insurance quote now.

The average cost of boat insurance is affected by choosing the coverage that you have. If you have a larger boat, your premium likely be higher. Your insurance company might also take your driving record into consideration in certain cases. Complete any safety-approved courses in boating to have a chance of being eligible for an additional discount.

Every type of vessel — from a small dinghy to a super-yacht or personal watercraft — has its own risk. Boat insurance is based on the type of boat and the risk it poses.

A Sunseeker yacht with powerful engines will likely cost more to insure than one that is smaller and less powerful. An insurer will consider the yacht type and potential repairs before calculating the premium.

Your boat’s location can also impact how much premium you pay. You may also need to consider local weather conditions when deciding on your coverage.

The boat owner’s experience and type of use (e.g., private or racing) are also considered when calculating premiums. 

How to save money on your Ontario boat insurance:

Compare and Shop

Compare which company offers the lowest rates and best value for your boat and personal watercraft. Although rates can change up to 4 times per year, we offer a free comparison of marine insurance.

Bundle your policies

Your insurer will be grateful if you use the same company to insure your boat and home insurance needs.

Increase Deductible

Your deductible is the amount you pay to settle a claim before your insurance company will cover the remainder. It could help you save money if you double your deductible.

Maintain A Clean Record In Boating

Safe operation is key to avoiding accidents. Always use safety equipment and observe the rules and regulations of the water. To prevent any damage, lock your boat and install alarm systems.

Take a Boating Course

Not only is it important to have your boating license or Pleasure Craft Operator Card, but you also need to know the inside of your boat. There are many other things to learn about boating. To improve your boating skills, you can take part in safety courses or a class on recreational boating tips.

To demonstrate a deep understanding of navigation, handling and safe docking, certificates are a great way to keep a certificate of completion. Your insurer should see proof that you are more prepared and have more knowledge about the hazards of water.

Pay Annual Premiums

Your insurer will charge administrative costs for monthly payments. If you can pay your entire annual premium, your premiums can be reduced.

Practice Safe Boating 

Your boat insurance premium will go up for both smaller claims and larger accidents. Boating safely and avoiding multiple claims is the best way to reduce your insurance costs and save money.

Consider paying the small out of pocket expenses if you are involved in an accident or situation where the damage is minimal. Multiple claims could result in a substantially higher premium.

This scenario can be avoided by always following safe and recommended boating procedures. This will decrease the likelihood of an accident, and eventually a claim. You might consider enrolling in a boat safety class. A course like this can help you be a safer and better boater and could even save you some premium.

What are you waiting for? Get your free boat insurance quote with Acera Insurance now.