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Is My Dock or Marina Covered by Insurance?

Is My Dock or Marina Covered by Insurance?

Like many waterfront structures, docks are at the mercy of the elements. Gales, torrential rains, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, and storms are some of the weather-related perils your dock must endure each year. In the face of mounting risks, are docks and marinas eligible for insurance?

Different types of insurance policies cover private docks and marinas. Deeded docks may be covered by homeowner's insurance, while detached docks may require Other Structures endorsement on the policy. You need a commercial General Liability cover if you hire out your dock or run a commercial wharf. Some insurers bundle boat and dock insurance.

Most dock insurance policies have plenty of exclusions that may leave you exposed. Simply put, insuring your boat dock can be a tricky affair. What's covered, and what's excluded? What type of cover should you take?

Dig in as we explore this subject and help you get the best insurance coverage for your dock or marina.

What Kinds of Damage are Docks Subjected to?

Docks battle inclement weather and take a pounding all year round. The type of risks and damages docks are subjected to depends on usage. A commercial dock is exposed to more dangers than a privately held one since they come in contact with more people, cars, and boats.

Damage from Users

People using the marina will often tow their boats in and out of the water with their cars. Sometimes, the vehicles and the boats lose control and ram into your dock infrastructure.

Even the most seasoned boaters might have a problem docking, casting off, or keeping the boat under control when approaching a marina. A watercraft may ram into the marina in such cases, causing extensive physical damage. Or it may crash into docked boats and compound the property damage.

The risk of damage is magnified in a commercial marina with more than one employee. A slight oversight could put the entire marina at risk of extensive damage. That may include improperly tethering a boat or overlooking routine maintenance and safety protocols.

Environmental Damage

Improper waste management poses a significant threat to a marina. Accumulating trash and boat waste may compromise the integrity of the dock infrastructure. It may interfere with maritime safety and increase the number of boats ramming into the marina. The garbage may harbor destructive animals, including termites and mice, weakening the dock's wooden parts, saddling you with expensive replacement costs.

Shorelines are under constant attack from seawater. The waves constantly crash into the dock and your seawalls. The daily assault steadily chips away at your dock's infrastructure, leaving it susceptible to additional damage. Such damage magnifies during severe storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

What Damages to Your Dock Are Excluded from Homeowners Insurance?

It's essential to read the fine print when taking out dock insurance under your homeowner's policy. Your home's insurance policy will have many exclusions even when using the Other Structures rider.

Most home insurance won't cover specific forms of water damage. Losses and damages resulting from freezing, thawing, or the weight and pressure of water and ice, wind-driven or not, are generally excluded. That's despite wind-driven rain, flood, and the weight of water crashing into a marina being the leading cause of dock damage.

Since constant exposure to the elements takes a toll on a dock, most policies don't cover dock collapse. An exception might include damage to the dock after a building collapses into it. High winds pose a severe hazard to your dock because they cause extreme wave action that can tear it apart and flip and ram boats into the marina.

Supplemental insurance, including boat or commercial insurance, may be necessary to bridge this gap and avoid incurring financial losses. However, the increased liability coverage will increase the cost of your insurance premiums.

Are Seawalls Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Most seawalls are complex engineered structures that protect your property from flooding. Sometimes these safeguards sustain extensive damages after a hurricane or a severe storm. Without insurance coverage, repairing extensively damaged seawalls can be prohibitively expensive.

Some insurers classify private seawalls and retaining walls as detached structures. As a result, they may be eligible for coverage under the Other Structures coverage on your homeowner's policies.

Like many detached structures, seawalls are mostly covered for loss or damage resulting from windstorms, fire, lightning, vehicle, and hail. Most homeowners’ insurance policies don't cover water-related damages, including flooding, thawing, or freezing. Other exclusion seawall exclusions include animal damage, settling foundation, and lack of maintenance.

Does Flood Insurance Cover Docks?

Dock insurance is an excellent investment for people who own boat launches or docks. It affords you the peace of mind and financial protection you need to run your marina business seamlessly.

Besides inclement weather, commercial docks must head off multifaceted risks. You're on the hook if vessels belonging to your renters sustain damage while docked on your marina. You're also responsible for the health and well-being of everyone using your marina.

Taking out a Commercial General Liability insurance policy protects you and your business from any liabilities. A CGL policy may protect your rental business from flood-related losses and damages. Like any property insurance, a CGL covers you against liabilities resulting from personal injury claims and property damages.

How Are Boat Docks Insured in Florida?

The type of insurance coverage available for your dock in Florida depends on its location. Typically, there are three options when insuring a dock or marina in Florida.

Homeowner's Policy

If your boat dock is on the same property and deeded to your primary residence, you can include it under your homeowner's policy. The policy covers your dock against wind, fire, theft, lightning, and vandalism. If the dock isn't attached to the main dwelling, you need supplemental insurance to increase your coverage limits.

Homeowner's Policy with the Other Structures Endorsement 

The "Other Structures" rider lets you insure a detached boat dock under your homeowner's policy. However, it's somewhat limiting since it only covers you for losses of up to 10% of your primary dwelling’s insured value. A removable dock is insured as personal property.

Boat Owner's Policy Coverage 

Some insurance companies offer dock insurance as a supplemental cover alongside your boat insurance. In most cases, they provide attractive discounts to make this bundled coverage appealing to boat owners who own private docks.

Commercial General Liability Policy

You need commercial coverage if you rent out your dock to other boaters. The CGL policy insures your dock for commercial uses and provides coverage against personal injury and property damage.

How Much Does Dock Insurance Cost?

Dock insurance is a tricky subject because it has multiple moving parts. Therefore, it's impossible to estimate how much insurance is adequate for a marina. You'd need to account for its location, usage, material, construction, size, and more. Contacting a certified dock insurance agency eliminates the guesswork. An insurance agent can provide you with an accurate quote customized to meet your specific needs and circumstances.

Typically, a CGL is more expensive, but it provides comprehensive coverage. The policy protects your business from financial liabilities and financial loss. You can save some money on your marine insurance by shopping around. Get quotations from at least three insurance carriers and compare their prices. Leverage the lowest quotes to get better offers and signup with the best company placed to meet your specific insurance needs.

Disclaimer: Haven Dock & Marine is not an insurance company. Statements are general and broad. Individuals should consult with a qualified insurance agent for their coverage. 

Please reach out to your local Haven Dock & Marine dealer today for any of your dock equipment needs.