If you own a boat of any kind, it’s essential to make sure that you and your boat are protected by insurance. While some homeowners insurance policies may offer limited coverage for boats, the protection is minimal. Here’s what you need to know.
Does My New Hampshire Homeowner's Insurance Cover My Boat?
Coverage for the Boat Itself:
A homeowner's insurance policy may cover some damage to a boat if the damage is caused by a covered event, such as wind damage, fire, or theft. However, in the event of hail, most policies require a boat to be sheltered indoors if it sustains hail damage, further limiting the coverage. On this list of covered events, you may notice that the more common causes of boat damage are not included, such as collision with another boat, dock, rock, etc.
Limited coverage for a boat on a homeowner's policy also extends to how much coverage would even be available in a covered loss. Most NH homeowner's insurance policies limit coverage to a maximum of $1,000.
Between limited covered perils and low coverage limits, you can see why a separate NH boat insurance policy is needed if you own more than a canoe or kayak.
Coverage for Your Liability:
Even if you can afford to repair or replace your boat if it is damaged, the less calculable expenses would be for injuries, death, or property damage you cause should you be found legally liable in a boating accident.
In this situation, your homeowner's insurance would very likely deny any coverage as many NH home policies have an exclusion for boats over a certain length and/or horsepower. An example of the standard language found in many homeowner's policies is:
"Personal Liability and Medical Payments to Others do not apply to bodily injury or property damage arising out of: ...the ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of a watercraft (as defined below):
- with inboard or inboard-outdrive motor power owned by an insured
- with inboard or inboard-outdrive motor power of more than 50 horsepower rented to an insured
- that is a sailing vessel, with or without auxiliary power, 26 feet or more in length owned by or rented by an insured; or
- powered by one or more outboard motors with more than 25 horsepower if the outboard motor is owned by and insured."
Please keep in mind that insurance companies can have their own endorsements and enhancements, so please check with your homeowner's insurer if you own a boat and want to see if there is any coverage for your specific situation.
On-water accidents involving multiple people can become extremely expensive, especially if someone passes away, which we have seen several claims for over the years.
Coverage for Your Personal Property: Possible Protection
Your homeowner's policy may cover the loss if your personal belongings are stolen from your boat (which is a real risk when docked somewhere). In fact, this is one boat-related risk that your homeowner's policy might provide sufficient protection for.
Whether your homeowners' policy covers personal belongings stolen from a boat depends mainly on what type of personal property coverage the policy provides. Personal property coverage is the portion of a homeowners policy that protects personal belongings.
To see whether your homeowners policy’s personal property coverage extends to belongings when they’re on your boat, check for “worldwide coverage” or similar protection. A worldwide coverage extends protection for belongings to most places globally, which almost certainly include your boat. The excluded areas are typically places such as war zones.
If your homeowners policy doesn’t have worldwide coverage or similar protection, belongings on your boat may not be covered by the policy. In addition, when such protection isn’t in place, personal property coverage may be limited to only when belongings are on your home’s property.
Additionally, personal property coverage commonly comes with other limitations that can influence how well your belongings are covered. However, limits for specific goods, usually apply regardless of where the affected belongings are.
Supplement Your New Hampshire Homeowners Insurance with Boat Insurance
To get more protection for your boat and boating, consider supplementing your New Hampshire homeowner’s policy with a boat insurance policy. A boat policy can protect your boat, belongings, and yourself.
An insurance agent specializing in these two insurance types can help you evaluate your homeowners policy and purchase an appropriate boat policy that adds needed coverage.
To speak with a New Hampshire insurance agent who’s familiar with both homeowners insurance and boat insurance, contact HPM Insurance. Our team of independent agents has helped many homeowners and boaters, and we’re ready to assist you.