3 Recent Updates to the Aviva Watercraft Policy that Your Customers Should Know

A male broker explaining insurance policy details patiently to two female clients

As we embark on another boating season it is important to be aware of some new coverage that is available to clients, and inform them on how to correctly prepare, handle, and store their boat at the end of the season.

We talked to Shawn Mckone, Senior Manager in Lifestyle Claims at Aviva, to get his insights on the need-to-know changes that will help your customers avoid any surprises. 

1. Portable Equipment 

Aviva has enhanced the Portable Equipment coverage available to our customers. This includes items like life jackets, anchors, ropes, tools and other equipment used for the operation and maintenance of the vessel.

“One area we had received a lot of feedback from our customers was that there was not enough coverage available for portable equipment. We changed the policy to allow our customers to use their personal effects coverage to provide coverage for portable equipment that is not normally attached to the boat,” says McKone.

In most cases your clients will find it will be much easier to list and claim non-attached equipment of the boat.

“We are always looking for areas we can improve our coverage and service. We hope our customers find the process a little less stressful, with more flexible personal effect coverage. Previously, this fell into a small gap, where some if it was not clearly part of the watercraft, but it also wasn’t a personal effect.”

2. Lay Up Suspensive Condition 

One of the most important ways a customer can protect their boat and maintain insurance coverage is to follow the requirement to have their boat pulled out of the water and winterized from November 30th to April 1st. Aviva made changes to this coverage to make requirements more clear.

“While this policy requirement is not new, we updated the wording to make it clear that boats can only be on the water during the period of November 30th to April 1 in the Pacific West Coast, where the waters are always ice free, otherwise permission must be granted and endorsed on the policy. Canada is a very cold country during the winter, and with every few exceptions boats need to be taken out of the water. It is not just freezing we are worried about, but the safety of our clients, and the safety of rescue personal if there is an emergency,” says Mckone.

He recommends that brokers and clients be fully aware of the importance of this requirement as the best way to prevent damage, as well as avoid a lack of coverage.  

3. Freezing Clarification

Mckone says there have been a couple important updates around the freezing exclusion that everyone needs to be aware of. Aviva has split the freezing exclusion into two separate exclusions to address when the boat is afloat in the water, as well as when the boat is pulled out of the water and laid up ashore.

“As a general rule, freezing is not something that is covered under the policy. If the boat is afloat in the water there is no coverage at all for freezing, which reinforces the importance of having the boat laid up out of the water to avoid any freezing problems in the first place.”

What if the boat is out of the water?

“While freezing is a less likely problem if the boat is out of the water, what really concerns us is proper engine winterization. If a boat is pulled out of the water, but the engine is not winterized, a cold weather snap can crack the engine, leading to some very expensive repairs. To maintain coverage for freezing, our clients must have the boat winterized by a professional, such as by a marina or watercraft repair facility, and documents must be retained every year showing this,” says Mckone.

Aviva highly recommends proper maintenance and winterization of the vessel, because if it’s not done, freezing could be excluded, even with boats out of the water.

“The policy is very clear about what needs to be done, because this damage is completely preventable,” adds McKone.

While most boaters don’t want to think about winter woes just yet, it’s great customer service to help prepare your clients to be in compliance with our requirements towards the end of the season.

If you have any questions, please contact your Broker Operations Specialist or your Broker Relationship Manager.

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