What coverage should you have for your boat dock? What if you rent your boat dock to another party? Well that is a good question and the answer is…it depends. It depends on what happens and if there was negligence who was negligent. Here are a few things to consider.
Coverage under a Boat Policy
Common, but not all, policy language for liability under a boat policy is “We will pay all sums which an insured person becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of the boat or boat motor described in the Declarations”. Most insurance companies would consider getting into and out of a boat from a dock as part of the “use” of the boat. So an injury that occurred on the dock may be covered under a Boat Insurance policy. Note though, only the Named Insured would be covered. Check with your agent or one of ours.
Coverage under a Condominium Owners Policy
Common policy language that might apply to the docks is “any structures or grounds you use in connection with your residence premises” so, most companies would consider your dock to be used in connection with your residence premises for your own use. However, if you rent it to others, it could fall under an exclusion for business under your policy. Some companies may be able to offer you liability coverage with what they call an “Incidental Business Endorsement”. Check with your agent or one of ours.
Coverage under a Commercial Liability Policy
Commercial General polices are readily available for the rental of a boat dock to another person. They will cost about $300 - $700 or so per year.
What is your relationship with the dock? Do you own it or merely have certain rights to it? Who is responsible for the maintenance of it? If there is an uncorrected unsafe condition on the dock, who is responsible for that? If another party (like a Marina) owns the dock and is responsible for the maintenance of the dock and or adjourning properties where an injury occurs, would you be liable? (You may want to see what responsibility your agreement with the Marina places on you regarding upkeep and maintenance).
If you wish to insure this exposure, the best way to insure the risk of renting a dock to others is to purchase the Commercial General Liability policy. Even if you are not responsible and feel you have no liability, if you are named in a legal action the defense costs you would incur would be covered under the Commercial General Liability. And if you are found liable, the costs of those damages would likely be covered under that policy as well.
Give us a call at 419-732-3171 for more information or to get your boat dock insured. We are happy to answer any questions but we only write in Ohio, Michigan and Florida at this time.