Contributor, Benzinga
August 8, 2023

Many Americans with waterfront properties have the luxury of owning a boat dock or boat launch where they can store boats and access common waterways. Though structures like boat docks increase the value of your property, maintaining and repairing them if they are damaged can be expensive. Boat dock insurance protects the financial value of your dock in the event of damages or natural disasters. Whether you run a business with a dock or own a private dock, insuring your marina is one of the most prudent financial decisions you can make. 

What is Boat Dock Insurance?

If protecting your dock or launch is a priority, boat dock insurance can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll have financial assistance available if your dock is damaged. There is good news for homeowners with private docks. You may be able to add your boat dock to your existing homeowners insurance policy under the insurance category of Other Structures. Other Structures insurance is included under most homeowners insurance policies and insures structures like fences, sheds, detached garages and, in some instances, boat docks.

There is generally a maximum of 10% of your home’s dwelling coverage limit applied to Other Structures insurance. This means that your insurance provider will pay a maximum of 10% of your home’s value to rebuild your Other Structures considering current construction, materials and labor costs. For example, if your primary residence is insured at a value of $500,000, Other Structures coverage will have a maximum spend of $50,000. Increasing the maximum spend for your Other Structures policy will increase the premium you pay for your insurance package, but might be worth it if you’re looking to better protect your dock.

Other Structures insurance packages often cover fires, lightning, vandalism and a host of other types of damage. Notably, your Other Structures policy may not cover flooding, wear and tear, insect infestations and damage caused by collision. You may have to purchase a premium insurance package or take out a different personal insurance policy for protection against these types of damages. Make sure to meet with an insurance professional and consult the coverage details in your Other Structures policy before signing the contract.

Like any insurance application process, the insurance company you’re working with will ask you a few questions about the value and use of your boat dock to be sure you’ve got the correct coverage. Before you apply for boat dock insurance, be sure that you have the following information on-hand: 

The age and construction quality of your boat dock: No matter if the dock you’re insuring was an existing structure when the property was purchased or you built the dock by hand, the insurance company may complete an investigation of the structural integrity of the dock to understand the risks of insuring it. Be prepared to provide information about the materials used in building the dock and when the dock was last renovated. The materials and the construction quality will affect the rate that is applied to the policy, with materials that are more likely to be damaged raising your insurance cost. 

The primary use of your boat dock: The insurance company may adjust its coverage package and rates based on how you use your dock or marina. For example, if you own a busy restaurant with lots of boat traffic, the insurance company may conclude that your dock is subject to an increased amount of potential collision damage and injury. In this example, a higher rate would be applied for this dock insurance package. You may have to provide additional information about your business to be approved for insurance.

 Weather in your region: If you live in an area that is at a high risk of damage because of hurricanes, high water, freezing, tornadoes or other natural disasters, the insurance company may adjust your insurance package. Consider the chances of extreme weather in your location before you sign up for dock insurance, and be prepared to pay a higher monthly premium if you live in an at-risk area.  

Your dock’s layout, size and maintenance plan: Larger docks have more surface area that can be damaged and are more difficult to maintain. You may be required to provide a detailed description of a maintenance plan if you have a large dock that requires consistent upkeep.

Who Needs Boat Dock Insurance?

If you own a home on a waterfront and you have a dock, you should be sure that your homeowners insurance policy extends to your dock. Some additional property owners who should consider boat dock insurance include: 

Restaurants with public docks: Though restaurants with public docks are known for offering scenic views and relaxing atmospheres, boating accidents in their marinas are common and highly dangerous. Boat drivers can misjudge the navigation of their watercraft and cause collision damage to your dock and other vessels parked there. Dock insurance is an absolute must-have to protect both the structural integrity of your dock as well as the health and safety of your customers and staff. 

Commercial dock business operators: If you are operating a business from your boat dock or marina, you may want to consider a commercial general liability policy. This type of policy protects your business from financial loss resulting from damage caused to your dock. This includes bodily injury and property damage that occurs on your dock as well as costs associated with lawsuits. If you rely on income generated at your dock, you should have some level of commercial dock insurance in place to protect your business. 

Dock owners in at-risk areas: If you live in an area of the country that is at risk for extreme weather events, including hurricanes, tornadoes or high seas, consider marina insurance. Your dock’s proximity to the water and value can help you determine whether private extended dock insurance is worth the cost for your personal dock. 

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Docks?

If your dock is located directly on your property, it is likely covered under your homeowners insurance policy. However, if you own a removable dock, your insurance company might consider it to be personal property that does not qualify for protection under your Other Structures coverage. Your dock might also not be covered if the damage to the dock was caused by: 

  • Freezing, thawing or pressure from the water the dock is situated on
  • A collapse of the dock itself not caused by another object falling onto it
  • Flooding or hurricanes

Consult with your insurance agent to learn more about when you are and are not covered under your dock insurance policy. 

Compare Boat Dock Insurance 

If you’re a homeowner, you may be able to extend your policy to include additional coverage for your boat dock. Benzigna offers insights and reviews on the following insurance providers. Consider continuing your search for the right coverage with a few of the links below. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a dock considered an additional structure?

A boat dock is considered an additional structure under most homeowners insurance policies so long as the dock is located directly on the property and acts as a permanent installation. If the dock is removable, the homeowner’s insurance policy may consider it to be personal property not covered under the policy’s Other Structures inclusions. 

What are the two types of boat insurance?

There are multiple types of boat insurance you can purchase to protect your watercraft. Collision coverage that compensates you for damage done to your own boat and liability coverage, which covers damage done to others by your property, are two of the most common coverages boat owners purchase. 

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah Horvath is a highly respected freelance senior copywriter specializing in insurance content. With a wealth of experience, she is recognized as one of the top insurance copywriters in the industry. Sarah’s expertise encompasses various aspects of insurance, including home warranties, life insurance, health insurance, and more. Her insightful articles and guides are regularly featured on major finance sites, providing invaluable information to readers seeking to navigate the complexities of insurance policies. Known for her clear, concise writing style and comprehensive understanding of insurance products, Sarah is dedicated to empowering individuals with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their insurance coverage.