Owning a boat and getting out on the open water to bask in the sun, play water sports, or fish is a great way to spend time with family and friends. But before you can go out and enjoy summer on the lake, make sure your boat insurance is in order.

Boat owners have two main coverage options — you can either purchase a separate policy for your boat, or add it to your homeowner’s insurance policy. If you plan to add a boat to your homeowner’s policy, be aware that there may be restrictions. Some limitations include limits to how much will be paid to cover losses to your boat and accessories coverage only applies to relatively small and low powered boats, and no coverage for damages caused by vermin or certain pollution. It also may not include marine assistance services like towing in the event of a breakdown.

A specific boat policy insures you against most of the risks of owning a boat compared with adding the boat on your homeowner’s policy,” says Michael Hewett, insurance expert at Aviva Insurance. “It also protects you against liability lawsuits, should you injure someone with your boat or damage their property,” he explains. “It’s important to compare insurers because not all companies include accident benefits coverage, which is compensation to the injured person and its passengers, regardless of fault.”

There are four key factors that affect your boat insurance. Just like car insurance, the age, make, model and condition all factor into your coverage needs. The size and speed of a boat can vary significantly, and these two factors alone can play a major role. Whether you use the boat for recreational or commercial purposes will have an impact, as will the number of people who own the boat.

Make sure you talk to your insurance broker about the option that makes the most sense for you. Always provide accurate information so you can get the right amount of coverage.

Find more information from your insurance broker or online at avivacanada.com/leisure-lifestyle.