How Do I Insure My Boat Dock?
As summer approaches, many people are once again looking forward to enjoying some long, hot days out on the water.
You may already know that investing in boat insurance means you’re prepared for anything that happens while you’re having fun in the sun. And if you have a dock, slip, wharf or pier, you’ll want to make sure that is insured as well.
Boat dock insurance makes sense for individual owners, along with businesses such as marinas, fishing venues and waterfront restaurants.
How do you go about insuring your boat dock? Is it already covered by another policy you have? What are the benefits of having your dock insured? The Resource Center answers all these questions and more!
Does My Homeowner’s Insurance Already Cover My Boat Dock?
Could your dock be covered by your homeowners’ policy? In many cases, the short answer is yes. If the dock is located on the same property as your primary residence, you can add it to your homeowners’ policy. If you rent the dock from a third party such as a marina, it would be insured by that third party.
Make sure to review your policy or talk to a financial advisor about your options.
Other Structures Coverage for Your Private Boat Dock
If you have a private dock, you can add it onto your homeowners policy through a feature called “Other Structures” coverage.
This type of coverage protects structures on your property that are separated from the main dwelling by a clear space. It can include buildings such as a detached garage or guest house, or other items like boat docks, in-ground swimming pools or fences. It typically covers losses of up to 10% of the insured value of your dwelling.1 For example, if your home is insured for $300,000, your Other Structures provision would cover up to $30,000 in losses.
What is included in Other Structures coverage?
Insuring your boat dock protects against a variety of hazards including fire, wind, lightning, theft and vandalism. In the event you file a claim, some insurance policies will pay actual cash value while others reimburse you on a replacement cost basis.
Typical Exclusions and Coverage for Flooding
Insurance for a boat dock typically includes two exclusions. Ask your insurer about purchasing supplemental insurance for these items:
- Collapse of the pier, wharf or dock unless it was caused by the collapse of a building or part of a building
- Damage caused by freezing, thawing, pressure or weight from ice or water to a pier, wharf or dock
In addition to your basic boat dock coverage, you will also need supplemental insurance to protect against losses from flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program excludes docks, wharves and piers from water damage caused by flooding, waves, tides, storm surges and wind-driven rain.2
Other Considerations When Insuring a Private Boat Dock
If your dock is located away from your primary residence, you may need to add a separate site to your homeowners policy. If the dock can be removed seasonally, you may insure it under personal property insurance coverage.3
If you belong to a community boat dock association, it is better to have one policy with one deductible than have each slip owner have their own individual policy. The policy will cover personal liability for non-slip owners, theft, vandalism and lift coverage.
Insurance for Commercial Boat Docks
A large slip dock with several slip owners would need to be covered by a commercial policy.
If you rent your dock for others to use, you would need a commercial general liability policy, also known as a CGL policy. This policy insures docks used for business purposes and protects against personal injury or property damage while your dock is in use. As noted earlier, if you rent a slip from a marina or association, it would be insured by the marina or association and not by your insurance.3
Determining The Level and Type of Boat Dock Insurance You Need
If you are adding your dock to an existing policy, there are other factors that will influence the amount of coverage you’ll need.
First, what types of hazards affect your area? Obviously, coastal properties will be vulnerable to hurricanes. Those living near inland waters will need to be prepared for tornadoes, flooding and strong waves. You’ll also need to consider atmospheric conditions like freezing, thawing, lightning and tidal patterns.
Second, how was your dock constructed? The materials used will affect its durability, strength, lifespan and vulnerabilities. Consider the structure’s age, size and current condition, and whether it has a sturdy support system underneath the surface. Larger docks are typically more costly to maintain, repair and replace.2
Learn More About Insuring Your Boat Dock
If you’re looking for information on insurance coverage for your boat dock, our local, independent agents are here to help. Reach out to The Resource Center to find the policy that works best for you.
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