New Insurance Requirements for BC boating

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
This thread is sort of related to the thread about choosing a Rendezvous destination for 2020, nominally the year we would all happily meet again in BC waters. Kathy and I are eager to return, but a financial problem has cropped up.

I first became aware of a major change in required insurance for visiting boats when some of our club members visited Maple Bay YC in 2018 are were cautioned that their usual proof of insurance would have to document a 2 million $ liability coverage by 2020.

The reciprocal moorage person at MBYC assures me that this new minimum is being implemented for all clubs and marinas in BC waters for next year. I have asked her WHY the change from the usual 300K or even 500K, and she dodges the question and never answers.
So our club's Reciprocal Moorage chair got involved and sought guidance from the folks that own the web site for information on all NW reciprocals.
Here is an excerpt from his email to me today:

"Well, I’ve done a bit of research since I got home and the information I found is not encouraging in terms of increased premiums to meet the $2,000,000. requirement that British Columbia is implementing.
I called Bob Brunis, of Yacht Destinations, and he told me that this is the direction things are going in BC. He is going to try and list, in the “Terms" section of each reciprocal club on YD, the insurance requirement that they will insist upon in 2020.
There is also a question that perhaps the requirement above $1,000,000. can be provided with proof of insurance with an Umbrella Policy, but you must make sure your boat or yacht is included in the Umbrella description coverage."


Link: https://yachtdestinations.org/forums/index.php?app=frontpage

I have contacted my insurer, BoatUS, and this coverage would cost me an additional $80. a year. (My friend that handles our club's reciprocal's also checked what the increase would be for his 32 foot trawler, and was quoted $400./year.
Yikes. :(

I suppose that we can all wonder if several BC marina's were destroyed in recent years caused by visiting boats that burst into flames.... but it seems like a catastrophe of such gargantuan proportions would have been in the news. :confused:

By comparison, our 150-boat yacht club moorage (Rose City YC) requires only proof of insurance and has not specified any minimum liability amount. Most of the policies seem to be at 300K or 500K and a handful have all of their insurances thru one carrier with a 1 million $ umbrella coverage on everything. In my capacity as Port Captain I see copies of these policies regularly, and know this to be factual. OF course our club has a hefty umbrella policy for the whole facility,

I can imagine that a lot of smaller US boats will start choosing to either anchor out when going north or just not going. Perhaps.
And yes, cruising a boat was never a cheap activity, but like all retirees we have to watch our budget when vacationing. This would seem to do nothing for the marinas but will enrich some large insurance companies, if a touch of cynicism is allowed. :oops:

Or.... the marinas, public and private, just want to winnow out the "less financially endowed" boaters. Like us.

This may affect participation of US boats in any cruising or rendezvous in BC waters, as much as we all LOVE to visit there. :esad:
Plus, how can BC boaters afford to tie up in their own local marinas??

If any of you know folks in the marine insurance business, please ask them what is causing this.
Thanks so much.
 
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toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Wow. Just for comparison, I do have one of those “Umbrella” policy thingies (I have a... “boatload” of insurance, what with farm, home, vehicle, small business) and the umbrella is about $10/month/$M.

Might pay to have a chat with your agent. And his competitor...

I also once asked the agent if he could give me a letter or something to keep on the boat, in lieu of the “insurance cards” that we get for the vehicles. The best that he could come up with was, “print out a copy of all your declarations pages.”
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hi,
For years, many marinas and yacht clubs in BC have required a minimum of 1 million insurance. I hadn't heard of the apparent increase to 2 million (even though I live here in BC) but personally increased my coverage to 2 million about 4 years ago. My reason was that if my boat catches fire and burns one or two expensive boats next to me, the cost could exceed 1 million and ruin my retirement.
Insurance is not cheap (ours is about 700/year in Canadian dollars) but I don't want to worry about this stuff at my age and stage in life.
Frank
 
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supersailor

Contributing Partner
Wow! There will be caos for awhile. Most US boaters will not know of these new requirements. After that, there should be lots of empty berths for those of us who actually do have the umbrella coverage. I can't fathom the need for this except to empty their guest docks. With my Umbrella policy, my insurer wants a $300,000 liability limit for the boat.

I will get my copier busy and make copies of my Dec Pages.
 

supersailor

Contributing Partner
Hey Loren! You have a 34 foot boat AND you belong to a Yacht Club. That makes you filthy rich according to most folks and they despise you.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hi,
So just to satisfy my curiosity, and perhaps to allay concerns, I phoned three well known marinas in BC--Maple Bay marina, Poets Cove /Bedwell marina and Port Sidney marina. All three said that they don't routinely ask about insurance for transient / guest moorage, don't have a specific policy requiring a certain amount (though Sidney said it could be 1 million) and none was aware of any initiative to require 2 million at all BC marinas in 2020.
So, although these things can always change, at this point this seems to be a non issue. Our Nanaimo Yacht Club requires 1 million, with no knowledge of a requirement to increase this, though they acknowledge that the boat owner has to be prudent in deciding on appropriate coverage.
Based on these few phone calls, I think US boaters can still plan to visit Canadian waters as usual, though this is just my opinion as a fellow boater, and therefore not an official statement.
Frank
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
Verrrry interesting.

Thanks for the info, Loren...

I've reached out to my insurance guy to see how much it would cost to update my coverage. My current policy is $300k in liability coverage (plus ~900k in spill coverage). I'll post what I hear back.

As the reciprocals chair for my club, I'm also going to have to figure out what this means for the reciprocal privileges we enjoy with - and extend to - BC clubs. Ugh.

Bruce
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Blogs Author
Dang, I pay $1k/yr from BoatUS for the following. Am I getting screwed?

boatus.png
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
Hmmm.... you have a little better coverage-limits than me, but not 2x better....

ins.jpg
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Government bureaucracy is a wonderful thing!
Not sure where you are coming from.
This is all about the insurance industry, and individual yacht clubs and marinas changing their requirements for visiting boaters to qualify to moor for a night.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
We are at 300K

Note that our BoatUS policy is for an "agreed upon value". Also note that the premium $ is about 1% of the face amount. I have been told that this ratio is common in the industry, but have no personal knowledge. I also have never yet had a claim, but a local surveyor tells me that BoatUS is good about paying.
 

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supersailor

Contributing Partner
My policy is about the same cost and value as Loren's policy which kinda suprises me. After all, I had a huge claim about three years ago. I guess I won't gripe even though Insurance is everyone's biggest gripe.

I'm going to relax a little on the Canadian Insurance although I will photocopy the Dec page on my boat and umbrella policies just in case. Better "safe" than sorry.
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
I heard back from my insurance guy, he said that it would cost me about $80/year to increase my liability coverage to $2M, and that he could do it any time (i.e., he could do it in June before my next cruise, and just pro-rate it for the remaining portion of the year.

He did say that this is going to be a "major issue" for some boaters, because some insurance carriers can't (or won't?) increase liability coverage that much. Some are capped at 500k or $1M, tops.

Bruce
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Given that none of the three large marinas I phoned in the Gulf Islands knew anything about this potential increase, and have no plans to ask guest boaters about their insurance,(see post #7 in this thread) I wonder if we aren't over reacting. If this ever comes to pass, it will take some time to implement and would not likely happen immediately. Just my thoughts for now...I still think it prudent for every boat owner to have whatever they think is adequate insurance for their comfort level.
Frank
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
And... the issue is (mostly) laid to rest

WE are not overreacting, but for whatever reason(s) that remain a mystery, Anne Clarke, Reciprocal Chair, Maple Bay Yacht Club, is certainly wanting us to all get excited.
While there certainly be a few places that may be planning on demanding proof of a higher-than-customary liability level, it appears that most are not.

Sidebar: based on positive experiences of two boats from our club that stopped at MBYC last year and enjoyed reciprocal privileges and enjoyed meeting the members there, it's a shame that I shall have to take that one club off of our potential destination list for 2020 and beyond :esad:
 
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Second Star

Member II
I have done some checking myself and with our Canadian Forces Sailing Association on this issue. It appears that "clubs" seem to be increasing their demands for increased insurance coverage for their members and reciprocals. This includes Maple Bay YC but not Maple Bay Marina or any other marina that I can find. A marina's usual demand is that any visitor or long termer be financially responsible for issues wrt their boat or damages during their visit, no demand for proof of insurance.
The bottom line is that if you rely on reciprocals for your visits to Canada, you may need to pick and choose which ones you use or increase your insurance coverage. If you use marinas then your level of insurance is not as big an issue. It would be a shame if a blanket refusal to recommend visiting Canada came out of what appears to be a limited club based requirement.
FWIW my insurance for $1M liability, towing etc, a pretty standard contract, is $396 per year Canadian (2019-Nov 2020), a $20 increase over last year.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
"...the plot thickens"

Adding some insurance trivia from the Columbia River:
Today we stopped at the harbor master's office @ Ilwaco, WA. Good sized marina with transient moorage, and owned by the Port.

I asked about short stay transient moorage for when we stop in this next year, and if they have insurance requirements.
They do have a form for everyone to fill out and it asks basic questions about the boat's insurance, and... that the owner certify that they have a minimum liability of $300K.
(This is what my 'standard' policy has now, from BoatUS.)

She said that, from her knowledge of other marinas, there is a (WA) state standard for this 300K minimum amount.

More and more, I grow cynical about the MBYC... viewing their very very high minimum as a way to keep the smaller cheaper boats out.
Perhaps they will be happy with one 250 foot super yacht blocking most of their tie up space and demanding a reciprocal privilege.(And... having a full crew and facilities on board will not even step ashore to visit their YC bar!)
:rolleyes:

Interesting to be relegated to "riff raf" status!
:)
It has taken over 70 years to reach that point, but at least I am among a "raffish" group of friends...
 
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