Owning a boat made of wood can be frustrating when it comes to finding boat insurance for it. That's because the vast majority of boat insurance companies will not insure a wooden boat.
What makes it particularly frustrating is the fact that not even liability coverage is offered by many companies. When some companies are scared of insuring a vehicle, whether it be an auto, motorcycle, RV ..... whatever.... if they have a problem with insuring that type of vehicle. They simply don't offer comprehensive and collision coverage. They will in most cases insure the vehicle with just liability coverage.
However, that's not the case when it comes to wooden boats. Many companies won't even insure a boat with liability only coverage. Why is this? I have no clue. But most insurance companies avoid wooden boats like the plague! And if you own a wooden boat, you've probably already found that out.
Liability coverage only applies when your boat crashes into another boater and/or another object, person, etc. A wooden boat is not going to do any more damage than any other boat of the same size, weight, etc. So it really makes no sense. But whether we like it or not, that's the way it is. Many insurance companies who insure boats simply stay far away from wooden boats.
Despite the frustration you may feel from making several calls and having no luck, there are boat insurance companies who can help you. There are a few boat insurance companies who are willing to cover your boat with excellent coverage and .... at a decent rate to boot. Some of them may only offer liability coverage, but that's the complaint I hear from most people who own wooden boats. They only want liability coverage in the first place and can not find it.
But there are companies that will even insure the boat with physical damage coverage. These are mostly specialty companies that can be harder to find. But an independent insurance agent is a great place to start your search. Many of these insurance companies are not your more common brands as far as insurance companies are concerned. Some of these boat insurance companies are very small and to a large degree unheard of.
However, many independent agents carry these type of companies mostly for occasions in which the customer has trouble finding insurance with other companies. The same thing applies to boat insurance for wooden boats. There are some companies out there who will take care of you.
What about insuring my boat under a homeowners policy?
As long as your homeowners policy will insure your wooden boat, there's nothing wrong with that. But understand that if your boat has market value any higher than say thousand or $1500, chances are this boat coverage will not insure your boat for it's full value. For more information on that, see my blog article titled 5 reasons why you should not ensure your boat under a homeowners policy.
Many wooden boat owners do not have adequate boat insurance coverage simply because it's very hard to find. But my advice is to just check with the some of the specialty companies who are more lenient about insuring wooden boats. An independent agent is probably the most efficient way to search because they already are somewhat familiar with these companies.
And the most surprising thing about this is that what you pay in premium for inadequate coverage on a wooden boat, you may end up paying the same or just a little bit extra premium for much better coverage. So don't be afraid to shop around. Chances are there's always a boat insurance company out there that's going to offer you better coverage and/or a better rate.
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Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..