If you live on the water in South Florida and own a boat dock, making sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your dock can be crucial to minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses after a damaging storm. Many waterfront homeowners are surprised to learn that homeowner’s insurance does not necessarily cover boat docks, and unfortunately some only find out after their insurance company denies their storm damage claim.
In order to determine whether you have coverage for storm damage to your boat dock, you need to ascertain both (i) whether your dock is considered a covered structure, and (ii) if it is, what types of “perils” are covered. As we have previously discussed, all homeowner’s insurance policies are not created equal; and, even if you have coverage for your boat dock, like the coverage for your home, this coverage may exclude losses due to certain specified or unspecified causes. Also, remember that standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage, and your insurer may attempt to deny coverage on the basis that the damage is water (not wind) related.
Is Your Boat Dock Covered?
When reviewing your insurance policy to determine whether your boat dock is covered, the first place to look is your declarations page. This should be at the front of your policy, and it should summarize the coverage provided by your policy. If your boat dock is not specifically listed, it will be necessary to determine whether the general description of your property is sufficient (or at least arguably sufficient) to cover your dock. Insurance policies can be surprisingly ambiguous; and, while the insurance companies often seek to use this to their advantage, it can provide homeowners with grounds to seek coverage when their policies are silent on particular issues as well. Does your policy cover all “buildings” on your property? Is your dock considered a “building”? These are the types of questions you will need to have answered if coverage isn’t clear.
Does Your Policy Cover Storm Damage?
Let’s assume that your policy covers your boat dock. Now, the question is: Covered for what? As we mentioned above, homeowners’ policies do not cover all losses, and home insurance policies generally do not cover flood-related losses. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies generally take one of two forms. They either:
- List certain “named perils” for which coverage is provided; or,
- Provide comprehensive coverage with carve-outs for certain specifically-excluded perils.
Regardless of the type of policy you have, if the damage to your boat dock is substantial, you can expect your insurance company to try to minimize its liability as much as possible. After storms and other catastrophic events, bad-faith denials are common, and homeowners will often need to take legal action in order to enforce the terms of their policies.
Speak with a Fort Lauderdale Insurance Claim Lawyer
If your boat dock was damaged in Hurricane Irma or as a result of any other storm, we encourage you to contact our law firm for an initial consultation. To speak with an attorney about your insurance claim in confidence, please call (954) 767-6333 or request an appointment online today.