Sept 28, 2017

IrmaWith all the devastation in the eastern Caribbean a natural question to ask is ‘is our boat in that kind of risk.’ In Canada, the answer is largely ‘no’ but there is a chance. There have been more than 60 recorded instances of tropical cyclones in Canada. Twenty-five of those occurred from 1995 to present mostly impacting the Atlantic Provinces.

There has never been an Irma-like hurricane in Canada, nor is there likely to be one. If a hurricane did hit Canada the resulting damage to boats would most likely be covered, although some companies may have exclusions for named storms.

In the Caribbean, the situation is very different since hurricanes are clearly a significant threat. Boat owners must carefully review their policy terms and speak to their broker to confirm damage caused by a hurricane is covered. In addition to confirming coverage it is important to know what precautions the insurance company requires if a named storm threatens. Is it ok to leave the boat at anchor in a hurricane hole or does the insurance company require that the boat be hauled out on shore? The insurance company may also specify how the boat must be secured whether ashore or afloat.

Failing to meet these requirements may invalidate the named windstorm coverage so be prepared before the start of hurricane season. If you wait until the storm is approaching you may not be able to purchase necessary gear like anchors, chain, dock lines or chafe guards.

Additional coverage for named storms can usually be obtained but is expensive and come with high deductibles.

Read your policy and ask if you require clarification. It’s important to understand your coverage before assistance is required.

- Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson is Senior Vice President, Skippers’ Plan, Arthur J. Gallagher Canada Limited