sailing in Nova Scotia

Bauld Advisor Tips

What does a Boat Insurance policy cover?


​Our Nova Scotia boating season is in full swing! If your boat is financed, docked at a local marina, or stored in your private boathouse, boat insurance will provide much-needed protection. While boat insurance is not mandatory in Nova Scotia, it does provide very important coverage for damage, liability, and other unforeseen events. In this blog, Bauld Insurance Managing Advisor with 20 years of boat insurance experience, Dawn Marie Penney shares her insights on what you need to know about insuring your boat.

Do I even need boat insurance?

Depending on the kind of boat you own, you may want to consider some options. Whether you have a powerboat or a sailboat, it is always best to have a dedicated boat insurance policy. Conversely, a kayak, canoe, no horsepower watercraft, or something of lower value can typically get added to your home insurance policy. Either way, ensuring that your boat is covered, will keep you well protected against damages and potential liability claims.

What type of coverages are offered with Boat Insurance?

Whether you own a small or big watercraft, it is important to get the right boat insurance coverage to protect this valuable asset.  Some coverages are similar to those provided with car insurance such as liability, collision, fire, and theft.  Liability provides coverage that protects you against damage you may cause to another boat as well as property damage and bodily injury. It also provides help with investigating a loss and preparing your defense. If you are found to be at fault, it provides payment up to the limit listed in your policy.

Other coverages are unique to boat insurance and typically include:

  • Hull and Machinery coverage provide damage protection up to the total loss of your boat and attached equipment.
  • Tenders
  • Windstorm
  • Outboard motors
  • Boat Trailers

Why is liability coverage important for boat insurance?

It is important to protect any of your larger assets in case of an accident, especially something as valuable as a boat can be. The Canadian Marine Liability Act states a boat owner is legally responsible for up to $1.5M in the event of an accident if you are found liable/at cause for the accident.

Is my boat insured even when I’m not using it?

Yes, when you buy a year’s policy, your boat is covered while it is in storage, in transit, on the water – all seasons, year-round. Your risks do not stop when you’re not using your boat.  Interestingly, your boat is more likely to sink when you are not there, and electrical fires are more likely to start in the colder months.

Are discounts available for Boat Insurance?

Discounts are available after you have responsibly owned your boat for three to five years, for being claims free, and if you have taken courses at Canadian Power and Sail Squadron or Sail Canada. Discounts are not available for holding the required Pleasure Craft Operator Card.

Be prepared to answer these common questions when requesting a boat insurance quote.

The information that an insurance company requires about a boat and its operators is like the type of information it needs to provide auto insurance. It includes:

  • The boat’s condition and market value (tax included). If your boat is more than 15 years old, you may be asked for a recent survey.
  • The boat’s length, type, and value, as well as the engine/motor information and maximum speed.
  • How frequently the boat is used, what it is used for, and how and where it is stored.
  • The waters you typically navigate and if you ever charter your boat.
  • The experience, loss, and claims history of the boat owner and/or boat operators.
  • If the operators are members of the Sail Canada or Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons.
  • If you also own a recreational property, you may have outbuildings, such as a boathouse, garage, or shed. You may need additional coverage to ensure that these buildings are fully protected – be aware of coverages and exclusions.

When you engage an insurance broker for your boat insurance quote, they will work with a variety of insurance companies to ensure you get the best policy available for you. Boat insurance is a more complex insurance product, so choose a broker with specific marine experience, that makes a big difference.  Bauld Insurance has a long history of serving Nova Scotians with marine and boat insurance, a true leader in this market. For more information, visit our Boat Insurance webpage where you can also request a boat insurance quote.

Dawn Marie Penney, Bauld Insurance AdvisorDawn Marie Penney, Bauld Insurance Managing Advisor has 20 years of boat insurance experience and has helped many clients and their boats be well protected.