Owning a houseboat can be expensive. From paying marina fees to fueling up for travel and cleaning the hull, they absolutely live up to the old saying that “a boat is a hole in the water you throw money into.” Houseboats offer a lot in terms of luxury and freedom versus other types of accommodations, but with that freedom comes the need to protect it. And an independent insurance agent is the key to finding the right houseboat insurance for you.
Independent insurance agents are experts in insurance of all kinds who can help answer all your questions. They'll get to know you and understand your big houseboat dreams to help you find the perfect blend of protection and price that's right in line with your financial goals. But first, here's a bit of background on houseboat insurance and its costs to get you started.
Why Do I Need Houseboat Insurance?
In truth, having houseboat insurance isn’t mandatory. But not having houseboat insurance can limit your options of travel and mooring. Legally speaking, most states don't require boat insurance for any type of watercraft. But if you're financing your houseboat, the lender may require proof of insurance for you to operate it out of storage. Similarly, most marinas require houseboats to be properly insured in order to park at their locations to help protect their property as well.
There are a few risk factors that come with owning a houseboat, like:
- Asset protection: Houseboats are notorious for constant repairs and upkeep, but having insurance in place can avoid catastrophic outcomes from damage, like finding temporary lodging until it's repaired.
- Liability: If a guest is injured by your houseboat, you can be sued and held liable for any damages.
- Airbnb rentals: While Airbnb does have its own brand of insurance for guests, there are exemptions that may hold the landlord of the houseboat accountable.
Anticipating each of these risk factors can help you avoid higher premiums, more expensive deductibles, and significant financial loss. That’s why speaking with an independent insurance agent can help in figuring out your houseboat’s needs and the right amount of coverage for you to make the most of your time on the water.
How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Houseboat?
It completely depends. Factors like the boat's cost, the condition, and your history all come into play. Generally speaking though, the typical houseboat insurance coverage can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000 dollars per year for basic coverage. Amounts can be higher, as houseboats vary substantially in their design and insurable amenities.
Pricing isn’t as standardized as, say, automobile insurance. But that’s because of the variety of houseboats, their usage, location, and all the other factors that affect the pricing of your premiums. Speaking with an independent insurance agent can inform your decision-making between insurers and how they underwrite your houseboat policy.
How Can I Lower the Cost of Insuring My Houseboat?
Insurers decide the amount of your houseboat insurance premiums based on the value of its hull and other factors including the current condition of the houseboat, its primary location, horsepower, age, length, and usage.
That being said, here are a few ways you can help lower your houseboat insurance premiums:
|Increase your deductible||This works as a trade-off, where your insurer is rewarding you for sharing more of the risk but a claim will result in higher out-of-pocket expenses.|
|Limit your cruising area||Insurers will charge you less if you limit your travel in your boat to local waterways versus more extensive ones.|
|Take a boating safety course||By attending a safe boating course approved by your insurers, you can typically earn a 10% discount on your insurance premium.|
|Membership-based discounts||Membership in either the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the United States Power Squadrons can typically earn members a 10% discount on their insurance premium.|
|Update your hull value||Houseboats typically depreciate over time, which lowers the overall hull value of your houseboat. Many insurance policies are based on an "agreed hull value," the specific dollar amount that your insurer and you agree that your boat is worth at the time the policy is written. If you want to lower your premiums, have a professional assessment of your houseboat to get reduced coverage based on a lowered hull value.|
|Consider liability coverage only||If you own your houseboat and its value is relatively modest, you can consider a liability only policy. This will cover you in the event of third-party damages, but will not reimburse you for the loss of or damage to your boat.|
For more ways to reduce your premiums, speak with an independent insurance agent. For example, you may only want liability coverage, but should make sure that you have coverage if your houseboat sinks and has to be recovered. Independent insurance agents can help you understand your policy and how to get the coverage you deserve.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Independent Insurance Agent About The Policy?
If you’re going to get houseboat insurance, it helps to get the right information by discussing important questions with an independent insurance agent. These include:
- What are the coverage limits of my policy?
- Am I eligible for discounts? (i.e., bundling policies)
- What are the minimum amounts of coverage?
- How much are additional riders on the policy?
- Will my houseboat have to undergo a marine survey?
- What are the minimum usage requirements for cheaper policies?
- How long can I live aboard the houseboat and stay insured?
The Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent
Independent insurance agents have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you. Find an independent insurance agent in your community here.
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