Another long, cold winter is behind us, and summer is just around the corner. To many people, that means it’s time to take their favourite vehicles out of storage and get ready for the road, lake or trails. But before you start your engines, there are a few things you should consider, so we’ve prepared a handy list of tips to help you prepare for the season.
BOATS & WATERCRAFTS
Boat insurance works differently from most other insurance policies. On top of the year, make and size of your boat, it also takes in to account where it is being used, how many months a year it is in the water as well as where it is docked. And depending on whether you’re docking at a private cottage or a public marina, your required coverage can vary drastically. This is why we highly recommend you speak with your Nicol broker (if you haven’t already) to ensure you fully understand your policy. Even if you feel you understand your policy entirely, we still recommend chatting with your broker before hitting the water or taking your boat to any new body of water. Depending on where you’re headed, you may require special coverage.
With your insurance policy out of the way, it’s also a good idea to:
Check For New Marine Regulations – marine regulations change periodically, and the responsibility is on you to stay informed, or you may end up with a penalty. You can learn more about the current regulations through these useful links:
- (Domestic Boating Safety Regulations) https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/debs-menu.htm
- (Canada Boating Laws & Regulations) https://www.boat-ed.com/canada/boating_law.html
- (Marine Transportation Security Act) https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/acts-regulations/acts-1994c40.htm
Service Your Boat – Boats that sit in storage often sustain mould, mildew, or damage from invading critters. Unless you’re on top of your regular maintenance, you’ll need to spend some time checking, cleaning and repairing any damage or deterioration before you hit the water. Service the engine, change the oil, drain any anti-freeze in the lines and test the motor. Then check the lights, rudder, radar, horns, radio and other controls to make sure everything is in working order.
Inventory Onboard Safety Equipment – Check over all of your safety gear and make sure you are compliant with the law. That means checking, repairing or replacing life jackets, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, rafts and any other emergency supplies you may need.
ATV’s & OFF-ROAD VEHICLES
You may refer to your ATV or off-road vehicle as a toy, but it’s still a fast and dangerous vehicle. While you may feel safe and under control, your liability for injuring yourself and others is still an important consideration. For that reason, you should call your broker a few weeks ahead of when you plan to use your vehicle and make sure your coverage is in-place and up to date. Don’t forget, while coverage for these types of vehicles is only mandatory if you’re on public property or crossing public roads, you still run the risk of damaging your vehicle, property, or yourself; so don’t drive without it.
With ATV’s and off-road vehicles, it’s especially important that you keep them well-maintained. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a novice, a breakdown in the woods will ruin any outing. Make sure your tires and handlebars are still in good condition, tighten any loose nuts and bolts, test your brakes for responsiveness, top up your oil and lubricant, make sure the steering connections to your wheels are secure, and test your battery. Finally, be sure to drain any leftover fuel from your tank that may have been sitting all winter before putting in fresh fuel. Letting your engine run on stale fuel could end up causing damage to your engine, and it’s a step many ATV owners forget.
RV’s & TRAILERS
Mobile homes hold a very special place in the insurance world, so they have very unique policies. Since they’re both a home AND a vehicle, your insurance could fall under different coverages and risks depending on how your policy is set up. We understand that RV insurance can be confusing, which is why it’s always best to give your broker a call and have them walk through your current policy with you. That way you can travel with the confidence of knowing exactly what you’re covered for in an emergency.
Towed trailers are different from mobile homes, because they are considered property. While it’s being towed, it’s technically attached to your auto liability insurance, so make sure it is properly hitched to your vehicle to avoid any potential trouble. This includes making sure it’s securely fastened to your vehicle and that all indicator and brake lights are fully functional. To be clear, liability coverage is there to protect others from any damage you may cause with your trailer; it’s not there to cover the cost of the trailer or its contents. If you want to be sure your trailer and its contents are covered, you may need to call your broker and purchase a specific trailer insurance rider.
CLASSIC & ANTIQUE CARS
If you own a classic or antique car, then you understand what a big investment it is. Your dream took a lot of time, care and expense to come to life, so pay extra close attention to your insurance. If you’re planning to take your classic car out of storage, make sure to call your broker ahead of time to confirm your coverage is up to date before you start driving. Because of the expensive nature of the vehicle, it may take your insurance company a little longer to reassess your policy and make the necessary changes.
Once your insurance is confirmed, make sure your ride is tuned-up and road ready. Winter storage can have a bigger impact on your vehicle’s health than you might assume, so it’s worthwhile to give it a comprehensive check. If you’re the owner of a Classic or Antique vehicle, we’re sure that you know how to take care of it properly; just don’t get so excited to cruise that you forget the basics – check the wheels, brakes, steering, all fluids and lights! The insurance rules surrounding boats, ATVs, RVs, trailers and classic cars can be a lot to navigate, but that’s exactly why we’re here. We want you to have fun AND stay protected this season, so don’t be afraid to give us a call if you ever have any questions, concerns, or even if you’d just like a refresher on your policy. Your broker at Nicol is always there to help!