You’ve decided life on land isn’t for you, so you’ve gotten yourself a houseboat. But whether you’re planning to set sail on the Seven Seas or drop anchor and just bob about in place, your houseboat is still at risk of many common hazards. Houseboat owners are up against the elements of nature, vandalism, and more. That’s why finding the right houseboat insurance for your unique needs is so crucial. But first, here’s a breakdown of this important coverage.
What Is Houseboat Insurance?
Regardless of the style of your houseboat or where it’s docked, houseboat insurance is essentially an agreement between the homeowner and an insurance company in which the insurer agrees to cover financial losses relating to damages and liabilities. Thing is, only the specific perils stated in the policy will be covered by the insurance company. Houseboat insurance helps protect homeowners from losing their houseboat following a disaster.
Houseboat insurance packages are essentially a hybrid of watercraft/yacht insurance policies and mobile home insurance. While your houseboat is obviously a boat first and foremost, it also needs extra elements of protection added for the home aspect of it. This includes coverage for personal property like extra furniture and clothing that wouldn’t otherwise be stored on a watercraft.
Houseboat insurance blends coverages together to give you an all-encompassing package of the coverages you need. Working together with an independent insurance agent is the best way to ensure you walk away with a policy that meets all your unique lifestyle needs.
Why Do I Need Houseboat Insurance?
While many states don’t require you by law to purchase insurance for your personal watercraft or even your home if you own it outright, you’ll likely still want to have coverage. Also, if you’re leasing your houseboat, your mortgage lender may even require you to have insurance coverage. Otherwise, you’ll still want protection for the watercraft itself, as well as the personal property you store within it.
Say there’s a bad storm, like a hurricane, that totally destroys your houseboat. Without the proper coverage, you’d be stuck paying out of pocket to replace not only the watercraft, but everything you had stored inside of it. With a houseboat insurance policy, your insurance company will help reimburse for damages caused by covered perils. Basically, it’s the best way to ensure you won’t have to lose your stuff AND your money.
What Does Houseboat Insurance Cover?
Houseboat insurance packages combine watercraft/yacht policies with mobile home policies into a unique hybrid designed to give you all the coverage you need. So if the coverages included in your houseboat insurance policy look a lot like a blending of two different types of insurances, that’s because they are.
Houseboat insurance may include the following coverages:
- Property coverage: This coverage aspect protects the watercraft and its physical structure from common perils like fire, certain natural disasters, theft/vandalism, and more.
- Liability coverage: This coverage aspect protects the houseboat owner from third-party claims for property damage or bodily injury that occur on your property. Coverage reimburses for court and legal fees.
- Contents coverage: This aspect of a houseboat insurance policy offers protection for your personal belongings like furniture, clothing, tools, boating supplies, etc., from common perils like fire and theft.
- Towing coverage: This coverage aspect takes care of the financial side when your boat becomes immobile and needs to be towed.
- Uninsured/underinsured boaters’ coverage: This aspect of coverage protects you in the event you’re involved in an accident with another boater who lacks any/sufficient insurance coverage to reimburse you for damages.
- Medical expenses: This coverage aspect takes care of doctors’/hospital fees and/or funeral expenses in the event you or your passengers get critically injured.
- Pollution coverage: This aspect of coverage protects you in the event you’re held accountable for pollution, such as if your houseboat leaks fuel into the sea.
- Wreckage coverage: This coverage protects you from the ultimate disaster, an accident that results in your houseboat sinking. Coverage takes care of fees for recovering and towing the watercraft, as well as the destruction/disposal of a totaled watercraft.
An independent insurance agent can help you get set up with all the coverage you need in every category of houseboat insurance.
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What Are the Benefits of Houseboat Insurance?
Unless you inherited your houseboat from a rich family member you’d never met, it likely wasn’t cheap. When you’ve worked hard to afford a home you love, it deserves protection. Having adequate coverage for your houseboat can prevent you from facing financial ruin following a particularly costly disaster.
Houseboat insurance provides the following benefits for owners:
- Protection for the watercraft itself
- Protection for your personal belongings
- Protection for you, your family members, and your guests
- Protection against theft and vandalism
- Protection against explosion
- Protection against fire/smoke damage
- Protection against excessive water damage
- Protection against aircraft or other watercraft damage
- Protection against riots
- Protection against falling objects
- Protection against certain natural disasters (i.e., windstorms and hail, lightning, and blizzards)
Your independent insurance agent can help you review your houseboat insurance policy to answer any remaining questions about your coverage. They’ll also be able to help you figure out whether you’ve got enough coverage, or if you should purchase more.
What Questions Should I Ask about My Policy?
When shopping for a houseboat insurance policy, it’s best to go in with a list of questions to help you find the right coverage for your needs. You may want to ask your independent insurance agent the following questions while hunting for coverage:
- What (if any) navigation limits are dictated in the policy?
- Does the policy include coverage for layup periods and/or winter docking?
- Do I need to undergo a marine survey before being approved for coverage?
- How much is the policy’s deductible? Is it a dollar amount or a percentage?
- How high are the coverage limits in every category?
Your independent insurance agent can work with you to find not only the right coverage for your needs, but also a policy at an affordable rate. Together, the two of you can determine which policy is right for you while considering factors like the deductible amount and coverage limits. If you have any other concerns in mind about your unique houseboat that aren’t included on this list, feel free to bring them along to your initial meeting as well.
Which Carriers Offer Houseboat Insurance?
Since houseboat insurance is one of the more unique types of homeowners coverage, it may be a bit more challenging to find. Fortunately an independent insurance agent can do all the hard work for you by shopping multiple carriers to find the best coverage for you. However, there are a handful of houseboat insurance providers that can help start off your search:
- American Family Insurance
- Global Marine Insurance
- United Marine Underwriters
- OnGuard Insurance
- RV America Insurance
- D’Agostino Agency Insurance
An independent insurance agent will help you find a houseboat insurance policy for you from a reputable insurance company. All you have to do is call.
How Much Does Houseboat Insurance Cost?
It’s difficult to offer an exact figure without knowing the specs of your particular houseboat, but houseboat insurance policies may cost in the mid to high hundreds, or over $1,000 annually. The more risks involved in your unique houseboat, the higher the cost of your premium is likely to be.
Really, the cost of your houseboat insurance depends on a number of factors, like:
- How often you use your houseboat: The more you use it, the more your premium is likely to cost.
- Your personal driving record: Your driving record on land often correlates to your driving record on water.
- Your boat insurance claims history: As with all other types of insurances, your provider wants to see little-to-no claims history.
- If your houseboat has any safety features installed: The more you’ve got, the more of a break you’re likely to get on your premium.
- The horsepower of your houseboat: The faster it is, the more of a risk it is to the insurance company, and therefore the higher your premium is likely to be.
- The size and specs of your houseboat: Just like with car insurance, your houseboat’s particular make and model will influence the cost of your premium.
- Your age and gender: These factors influence the cost of your premium just like with car insurance.
- The location where your houseboat will be docked and driven: Certain areas of the country come with an increased risk of hazards in the natural disaster category. If you use your houseboat in an area prone to hurricanes, for example, such as along the Atlantic coast, you’ll probably have a higher premium.
- Your credit score: Like with auto insurance, credit score is found to correlate to driving behavior. The worse your credit score is, the higher your premium is likely to be.
An independent insurance agent can help find multiple quotes for you with close-to-exact figures.
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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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