How to Insure your Boat Dock against Hurricanes and Damage

Insuring your boat dock against damages and natural disasters is one great investment you will ever make. Buying and maintaining a boat is already a pricey venture – given the fact that you allot so much of your time and finances to the boat, you might as well get the dock insured so that you can protect yourself from any unforeseen damages. But When looking for boat dock or pier insurance, many people tend to get confused about the type of insurance they should opt for – should it just revolve around maintenance after a hurricane or natural disaster? Or should it be a complete coverage insurance against all damages? There are always many factors to consider when going about the process of getting insurance for your boat dock and we are going to talk about them in this article.

The types of individuals that benefit from a boat dock insurance are homeowners obviously. But also fishing businesses, waterfront restaurants, seafood related business, and marinas also benefit and probably already take advantage of it as the cost to replace a large or any dock can be around the cost of wasting a full size building. General estimates for a boat dock replacement run around U$D 125 per linear foot for a dock and double that for bulkheads. The yearly insurance premiums run between 2% to 4% of insured value.

Attention: For homeowners and businesses that lift boats out of the water it’s important to note that  boat lifts may not be covered under typical boat and boat dock protection policies and may require their additional policy.

Damaged boat dock after Hurricane in Florida.
Damaged boat dock after Hurricane in Florida.

Insuring your assets is a smart way of ensuring that you secure and safeguard them against unforeseen destruction or damages in the future & your boat dock is not an exception as it is has value to you for boating operations as a home or business owner. Boat docks are prone to destruction from natural and man made elements such as floods, hurricanes, insects etc getting insured with a premium insurance guarantees you financial support & remunerations in repairing and/or replacing your boat dock should it be damaged under the provisions of the policy you sign up for. Insurance is a great investment in general and insuring your boat dock is a greater investment as it provides you with financial coverage to carrying out temporary or permanent repairs or complete replacement of damaged property depending on the policy you opt in for. Some annual insurance premium packages are between 2 to 4% of the properties value when it is being insured. Repairing or replacing a boat dock can be a financial burden without insurance therefore waterfront bars, fishing enterprises, lake side resorts & homeowners are advised to contact an insurer for more information as regards to coverage.

A lot of boat dock owners are not fully aware of the different type of insurance policy that have been crafted towards individuals that own boat craft structures.  They often wonder if the insurance plan taken on their boat cover damages specifically after a hurricane, flooding or any other natural disaster and if the insurer should also take full responsibility of replacing or fixing any damage that extends to the boats dock at the same time. To navigate this, boat dock owners need to consider the following factors to help facilitate the decision making process and broaden their knowledge on the insurance policy that is best suited for them. Some of these factors include:

What will be considered on the coverage and the price of your insurance policy

1) The Area you reside: how prone your area is to disaster

This is one of the most important factor in determining the type of insurance policy you would need as a boat dock owner because if the region, state, city or town where you live is prone to seasonal hurricanes, sudden flash floods, strong waves and/or tornadoes getting an insurance that covers both your boat and dock is highly recommended. Even if you reside in an area with calm & fairly stable weather conditions, it is safer to be protected and secured with an insurance on both your assets as weather and climatic patterns can suddenly change & it would be unwise to be caught off guard & stuck on the loosing end. A few insurance providers allay the fears & worries of boat dock owners by offering $28,000 to $30,000 worth of coverage to a permanent pier, wharf or dock that is damaged physically by pressure, freezing, thawing or by the weight of water or ice whether due to the force of the wind or not.

Knowing whether you need insurance depends highly on where you live. If your country, state or city is highly susceptible to floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, lightening, high tides, strong waves and the like, you might want to consider getting dock insurance along with your boat insurance. However, if you are living in a fairly calm area then you might just get away without boat dock insurance. Nevertheless it is always good to remain proactive and to protect yourself from dangers that might surprise you.

Some policies ensure peace of mind by providing $30,000 of coverage to a permanent pier, wharf, or dock when physical damage is caused by freezing, thawing, pressure or weight of water or ice, whether driven by wind or not.

In Everglades City, Fla., crab fishermen Shane Reamao, left, and Dalton Daffin hurry to repair a commercial fishing dock that was destroyed during Hurricane Irma. Frank Morris/NPR

 

2) The material your boat dock is made out of: Look at features of the dock structure

Some materials used in constructing boat docks include steel, modified/plain wood, vinyl and aluminum. The type of material your boat dock is made out of is important in assessing its durability, strength, lifespan & weakness thus, fostering an easy decision as regards to the insurance policy to sign up for. For example, a boat dock made out of modified treated wood prevents infestation by termites and certain insects but requires a certain level and standard of care which equates to a huge cost for maintenance alone, not to imagine the cost it would take to replace or repair an entire boat dock made out of the same expensive material.

In order to determine the right kind of insurance for your boat dock, you will want to take into account a few of the following features:

  • How long has the dock been standing?
  • What is its total size?
  • What is it made out off?
  • What condition is it in?
  • Where is the boat dock located?
  • Does it have a strong support system underneath?

 

  1. The Size or surface area of your Boat Dock:

The larger the size of your boat dock, the less cost effective it will be maintaining, repairing or replacing any damages whatsoever. If you have a boat dock that covers a wide area & is made out of expensive materials, it is advisable you opt in for an insurance plan that offers coverage in terms of complete replacement and/or repairs after damages due to environmental or man made elements.

Other important factors that will be considered include:

4. The Support system of your Boat Dock.

5. The Age of your Boat Dock.

A sample form by Travellers Insurance to collect information for Dock and Piers insurance policy.
A sample form by Travellers Insurance to collect information for Dock and Piers insurance policy.

Coverage by insurance policies

Depending on the kinds of risks you want yourself to be insured against, your policy will cover a wide range of damages. Usually, all risks and damages that have not been clearly omitted from the policy guidelines are covered. So, you will be able to get marring, denting, natural disaster damage defects, wear and tear and such fixed through the insurance company. Even the injuries sustained by the people on board at the time of harm are, in some instances, covered –all this under a boat dock policy.

Condominium owners policy dictates that every part of the boat dock that you use for yourself will be insured. However, if you were to rent it out, it would fall outside the ambit of the coverage of the insurance policy.

According to Commercial liability policy, you are able to get your rental boat docks insured against damages caused. They are usually more expensive because of the added risk of a lack of ownership of the boat dock. You might also want to look for policies that relocate your boat if the dock has been damaged.

It is important to note that some boat owners insurance policies will not cover damages from things like ice, freezing, thawing, and total collapse. Property Coverage on the dwelling extension does not cover damage from wave action or ice movement so be aware of that.

A. Commercial General Liability Policy: the commercial general liability policy or CGL policy allow you to insure your boat docks against substantial damages & destruction incurred when it is used for business purposes such as rentals. The CGL policy is designed to protect your rental boat dock business from financial loss and liabilities due to property damages or personal injury claims caused by your boat dock during it’s use.

B. Condominium Owners Policy Coverage: standard condominium policies usually cover structures and shared amenities which could be the boat dock, that comes under the home owners association jurisdiction. However, this coverage excludes such structure if it should be rented out. Most condominium insurance policies pay for damages caused by lightning, wind/hail, vandalism etc, but will not pay for damages caused by insects, rodents, floods, wear/tear etc. The average condo insurance cost between $100 to $500 per annum although this normally depends on: where you live, the applicable deductible amount, coverage exclusions & limitations etc.

C. Boat Owners Policy Coverage: this is the most common type of water craft policy for boat owners as it fills in for the property coverage excluded in most homeowners policy. The boat owners policy integrates and covers liabilities, medical, property damage & uninsured boat vessels.

Common Dock Insurance Exclusions

Your Other Structures coverage also provides some exclusions specifically for docks, that your home property does not have. The first exclusion that impacts dock insurance is regarding collapse of a pier, wharf, or dock unless the loss was a result of the collapse of a building or any part of a building. This means if your dock collapses into the seawater, you will have to pay for a new dock out of our own pocket.

The second typical exclusion is for freezing. Most homeowner’s policies state that they do not insure for loss as a result of freezing, thawing, pressure or weight of water or ice (whether driven by wind or not) to a pier, wharf or dock.

Covering claims

Throughout the time that you own and use a boat dock, you will want to escape any chances of being in a position where you have to make a claim from an insurance company. You would not want to think about the possible damage that a hurricane, a rainstorm, electrocution and the like will cause to your dock and boat. However, there may be many instances where you will have to make the claim. In order to be able to go through the process efficiently, you should ensure that you are prepared beforehand.

While you are not required, by law, to carry the proof of insurance on the boat but it is good to keep that information anyway. Keeping it on the boat ensures that you have quick access to all of that information just in case you need it. Additionally, when you are looking for insurance policies, you should ask them about detailed information regarding making a claim so that, if need be, you can start the process without risking more damage.

You should also hire a representative or an agent who will help you with the proceedings after a claim has been made. The repairs that will be made, the information the insurance company requires to be communicated and through the process of inspection as well. You want to ensure that your claim is taken seriously and that you are getting a return on the investment you made in the insurance company by paying premiums.

The value of getting your boat dock insured against external harms and natural disaster damages is undeniable. You want to protect your boat by ensuring the dock is as stable, reliable and safe as possible. Make sure that you come to an informed decision about the kind of coverage you want to opt for after taking all this information into consideration.

Conclusion

As a boat and dock owner, it is important to assess & evaluate the pro’s & con’s of each insurance policy including the ambits of their coverage and/or exclusion, as this gives you an advantage in determining the policy that best suits you and provides sufficient financial support in replacing or repairing damages or destruction caused by various elements during the course of its use.

Max Francisco

Yet another website by Max Francisco - Digital marketer based out of Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Max Francisco
Summary
Article Name
How to Insure your Boat Dock against Hurricanes and Damage
Description
Homeowners and businesses benefit from a boat dock insurane as the cost to replace a dock can be around the cost of wasting a full size building. General estimates for a boat dock replacement run around U$D125 per linear foot for a dock and double that for bulkheads and the yearly insurance premiums run between 2% to 4% of insured value.
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Waterfront Gurus
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