Insuring a Boat on your Home Policy

Over the last 5 years I have partcipated in boat show seminars for new boaters and people thinking of buying their first boat.   It is a great opportunity for people to ask questions and share any concerns they may have.   The advice provided by a panel of boating industry experts has hopefully helped new boaters avoid the most common mistakes.   The mistakes I hear from first time are as follows

1. Buying the wrong type of boat – don’t buy a bass boat is water skiing is the goal etc.

2. Buying the wrong boat for a particular body of water – houseboats don’t fare well in large lakes like Lake Huron

3. Not getting a marine survey or mechanical inspection  – AKA buying other people’s problems

4. Placing too much trust in people met on Kijiji or Craig’s List – See # 3

5. Getting the wrong insurance and suffering a loss that is not covered

The question of whether one should insure their boat on their home policy comes up a lot in the boat show seminars.   The people we spoke to who had problems with a boat claim (See # 5 above) often insured the boat under their home owners insurance policy.    That option is ok for canoes and kayaks but any other type of boat is better off on a stand-alone boat policy.   Here are three reasons why you should avoid insuring a boat on your home policy*.

1. Policy wording not as good as stand-alone coverage.  The home policy is not designed to cover boats so it is often inferior coverage.  Beware of “named perils” wording and depreciated claims settlements.

Sail house

2. Claim Service.  If you have a problem and need claim service does your home insurance company have adjusters on staff who are experienced with boats repairs and knowledgable about local repair yards?  I bet they don’t.

It looks like it is sinking but this boat was designed to look this way

It appears to be sinking but it was designed to look this way

3. Pollution Exclusion.  Most home policies do not cover loss or expense related to pollution.  If your boat sinks and there is a fuel and oil spill to clean up it can cost you $ thousands out of pocket.  A proper boat policy covers spill clean up.

If you want to explore what a proper boat insurance policy can do do for you please contact me at 1-800-661-7211 or email

Happy Boating

Happy Boaters, Happy Boating. That’s what it’s all about

*boat coverage can vary between home insurance companies. Check with your broker to confirm what your particular policy says about boat coverage.