Homeowners’ guide to boat dock insurance

Thu Jul 06 2023

Two chairs on a wooden dock overlooking the blue water of a lake; a red canoe is tied to the pier and life jackets are visible near the chairs

If you’re lucky enough to live on a body of water and have a boat dock (and a boat!), then you may be wondering if your homeowners insurance covers damage to the dock structure. After all, your boat dock is susceptible to all kinds of damage from rain, wind, hail, and other types of perils. 

In many cases, your boat dock is likely covered by your home insurance. But how and under what circumstances it’s covered varies depending on your policy and the characteristics of your dock. 

Is my boat dock covered by insurance? 

Boat dock insurance is usually included in your homeowners insurance. But in order for your home insurance policy to cover damage to your dock, it must be on your own property. Your homeowners policy doesn’t cover a boat dock you rent at a marina or that’s on someone else’s property. It’s typically the property owner’s responsibility to insure those docks.

Damage to a boat dock on your property is usually covered when it’s caused by perils that your specific home insurance policy covers. Hazards that are typically covered include fire, lightning, windstorms, and hail. 

The same can be said for exclusions. Damage caused by perils that aren’t covered by your homeowners policy, like regular wear and tear or earth movement, won’t trigger your boat dock coverage either. 

Which home insurance coverage applies to my boat dock? 

For many people, other structures coverage kicks in for boat dock damage. This is the portion of your home insurance that protects structures on your property other than your house, such as:

  • Sheds.

  • Detached garages.

  • Greenhouses.

  • Driveways.

  • Guest cottages.

  • Gazebos.

  • Barns.

However, if your pier or boat dock can be removed seasonally, it may be considered personal property, which means it’s protected by your personal property coverage instead. Your personal property coverage protects your possessions, including furniture, clothing, electronics, jewelry, recreational gear, and more, when they’re damaged by fire, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils.

Both our standard HO-3 policies and our House & Property insurance provide open perils coverage for your home and other structures on your property. This means that damage caused by anything not specifically excluded in the policy is covered. 

Personal property, however, is typically protected on a named-perils basis, meaning it only covers damages caused by events listed in your policy. Your policy should specify when your personal property is covered and what types of losses are excluded.

No matter where you get your homeowners insurance, be sure you understand what your policy covers and what it doesn’t so you’re not surprised if you have to file a claim. 

What type of boat dock damage is not covered? 

Homeowners insurance does not cover every type of boat dock damage. Most insurance companies exclude coverage for the following:

  • Freeze or ice damage 

  • Boat dock collapse 

  • Flood damage

  • Severe wave damage as a result of high winds 

Conversely, you can expect that your boat dock or pier will be covered for the same perils outlined in your homeowners policy, depending on your policy type. 

Does flood insurance cover boat docks?

If a flood damages your boat dock, chances are it won't be covered by your flood insurance if you purchased a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP considers boat docks to be detached structures, which its flood insurance policies do not cover. The same is true for most private flood insurance, including ours. It doesn’t cover boat docks either, albeit for different reasons than the NFIP.


Related Posts:Keep exploring