Boat insurance claims occur quite frequently especially given how little we use them in respects to other vehicles. But as we unveil the list of the top 5 most common boat insurance claims you will understand why. And it may come as a surprise that most of them happen while no one is occupying the watercraft.

Hitting an Underwater Object

The number one boat insurance claim is hitting an object underwater. Unfamiliar waters, submerged objects, rocks or rock beds, these are all an issue when it comes to avoiding this type of claim. In many areas the water channels are clearly marked. But this isn’t always the case and even if they are marked correctly it doesn’t always stop operators from venturing over. Lack of education is one issue with boating in Ontario as, unlike receiving a driver’s license or motorcycle license, you do not have to do an actual driving test. Many individuals simply perform the written test, which can be easily administered online, and voila they have their pleasure craft operator’s card. The issue is, for many of these individuals they have never actually operated a watercraft. The combined lack of experience and knowledge of water ways and signals is a significant factor in causing damage from underwater objects to be the most common boat insurance claim.

Storm Damage

In Ontario we do not experience the devastating tropical storms that impact other areas. But that is not to say we do not have our own severe weather events. Wind storms out rank any other when it comes to damaging a boat. To prevent or limit the damage caused to a boat during a wind storm it is always important to properly secure the boat when it is not in use. Failure to do so properly can lead to damage to the boat by repeatedly crashing into docks, wharfs, or even the shore. Bumpers on the side of a boat are a good option, but having a proper boat lift or suspension system can make all the difference. Keeping your boat out of the water where it is most vulnerable to the severe weather events.

Stormy Water

Photo by Yuriy Khimanin on Unsplash


You don’t often hear of boats getting stolen in Ontario although it does happen. It may not be the most common boat insurance claim, but it is guaranteed to be number one for average payout per claim. Boat theft occurs more often when the watercraft is on a trailer, because it is easy for the thief to quickly get it as far away as possible. To prevent your boat from being stolen while on a trailer, take some security precautions that would frustrate a thief and deter them from stealing your boat. Such precautions could include locking the trailer hitch or tongue so the thief cannot attach their vehicle to the trailer. You can even go as far as taking the wheels off the trailer and placing it on blocks in the driveway.


You never want to believe that people would disrespect your property and vandalize your home, car, boat, or anything that you own, but it happens all the time. Boats are especially susceptible to vandalism because unlike home and auto vandalism, boats are not always in our possession. We dock them at a marina in the summer, and store them at a warehouse in the winter. Both places are out of our supervision and not always monitored closely. To safeguard against vandalism while leaving your boat at a marina, you need to make sure that you have a cover for your boat. This does not allow people to freely enter your boat, which will discourage people from doing any harm. When you put your boat into storage in the winter, make sure that the warehouse that it is being stored in is reputable and monitored by someone regularly.


Going back to the lack of experience one needs to operate a watercraft leads into the discussion of collisions. Inexperience leads to close encounters with docks and other stationary objects that could cause damage to your boat. However, it is collisions with other boats that cause a lot of damage to your boat and are very dangerous. Collisions with other boats are typically stemmed from too much speed and not paying attention. Reducing speed and always being alert of the other boats that are around you allows you to change course quickly to avoid an accident about to happen. It is important to understand the “rules of the road” so that boaters can enjoy the beautiful way of travel without worrying about this claim. Take notes from this little guy and you will be good to go!

With the warm weather finally here and the long weekend approaching, boat traffic is going to be high and we are here to help. If you are ever in doubt about your boat insurance leave it up the experts at McDougall Insurance to determine the best coverage for you.

COVID-19 Update

We are doing our utmost to protect our customers and our staff. The Ontario Government declared a state of emergency. As a result, we have closed our offices to the public. Business must be conducted online, through email or over the phone. For a list of staff emails go to: Staff Profiles