No houseboat insurance, how do we get insured?

by Nancy M
(Garner, NC)

Steel Hull Lazy Days Houseboat Helm

Steel Hull Lazy Days Houseboat Helm

We have a problem getting houseboat insurance for our Lazy Days Houseboat.

We spent 3 years totally rebuilding our 1966 steel hull Lazy Days Houseboat. It is a beautiful house boat, all newly refurbished, and equipped with all the necessary safety equipment.

The problem is, we can't get houseboat insurance for it. No one will insure it, even for only liability.

Help, does anyone else have insurance for an older steel houseboat, and with who????

We are ready to take it to the marina we have been paying for, and now we are landlocked.

Thanks, Nancy.




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Reply - Answer
Well Nancy, I can understand how you feel, since getting turned down for houseboat insurance, especially after spending 3 years totally refurbishing it, can be really frustrating.

Now let's take this one step at a time:

1) Does the houseboat have a current survey, either before the renovations, or since completing all the refurbishing work? Insurance companies generally need a current marine survey.

2) Are all of the "recommended repairs" from the survey been completed or taken care of? In other words, does it get a clean bill of health, survey wise?

3) Some of the insurance companies are giving older steel houseboats a bad rap. They see them as "end of life" models with a large liability attached to them. However there are hundreds, if not thousands of older steel houseboats presently insured.

4) You can have a look at our houseboat insurance page to get the names and sources for some of the better insurance companies.

5) This one is a "personal note" from me:
I'm sure all houseboater's will agree that there's some unnecessary negative labeling going one in the houseboat insurance industry regarding older houseboats, especially when they pass a marine survey.

Lastly, I'm sure some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat insurance experiences and companies for you.

IAN - from www.all-about-houseboats.com


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Comments for No houseboat insurance, how do we get insured?

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London Company for Houseboat Insurance
by: Dianna

We will probably have to go with a Surplus Lines company (e.g. Lloyds of London). You have to find a licensed SL broker in your state (we are not SL brokers in your state otherwise I'd offer to get you a quote). Just ensure the SL company is well rated and review the policy first to see what type of depreciation they will apply to a loss.

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Steel Pontoon Houseboat Insurance
by: Anonymous

I bought a steel pontoon MasterFab about 5 years ago. The insurance companies would not touch it. I can't even get an out of water survey because the lake is too low to launch or remove the vessels. The prior owner's insurance company won't handle it either.

If you have insurance and have had it for a long period of time the insurance companies will continue it. If you cancel it you are doomed. I've tried them all through a broker. I did find a liability only for $500 per year through Markel Insurance. Good Luck.

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Not a houseboat, but a boat house
by: George

I have a boat house, not a house boat. In other words, I won't live there (though it would be possible to stay overnight). It is movable if I hook up my speedboat inside, but except to turn the thing around once a year, that will not happen. It is on the Columbia River, so no salt water. I have tried Ski Safe, Progressive, Safeco, many others. Any suggestions?

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Houseboat Insurance - where to get boats insured
by: Anonymous

I have a 1971 steel hull 50 foot Stardust Cruiser houseboat that I insured with American National Insurance in Oklahoma City, Ok. with full coverage for $563.00 a year, that also includes contents if she sinks.

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Steel hull houseboat insurance
by: Linda M. Bagley

I have a 1989 dual stern paddle wheel custom houseboat, liveaboard and we are the third owners. We are insured through State Farm Insurance.

I suspect she will require a current survey and may or may not ask you to do items on the survey. It needs to be clearly a vessel, but ok to look like a houseboat too.

They will probably require it be your primary residence. What I don't know is - will this agent be able to help you if you are not from Washington State. If not maybe they can refer you.

Now, I am in need help- I need to have insurance for my wood hull with fiberglass overlay custom houseboat Vessels in Washingtion State, specifically Seattle.

I am a real estate broker who specializes in houseboat vessels and Red Shield Underwriters has sent out a NOTICE OF NON RENEWAL OF INSURANCE TO ALL MY CO-LIVEABOARDS ON AND AROUND THE LAKE. That is hundreds of liveaboards in custom houseboats.

Thank you, Linda

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1967 60' Custom Houseboat - no power
by: Reneaux

We are in the midst of purchasing a 60x25 Custom Houseboat to be used as a principal residence. It was built in 1967 and renovated in 2007. Can anyone suggest a marine insurance company that might insure us? Thanks, Reneaux Ruiz

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I feel your pain!
by: Amelia

I've called many companies,- nearly all the biggies like BoatUS, Progressive, etc, and still haven't found anybody willing to sell us anything - not even simple liability insurance.

The main sticking points seem to be

(1) houseboat
(2) mostly wood (though the copper clad hull seems to be another problem)
(3)coastal NC, and worst of all,
(4) home-built, nevermind how sturdily.

What galls me is that a house trailer built of 1x2s and vinyl siding, screwed to flimsy aluminum pontoons, is just fine and dandy- because some fly-by-night outfit up in the hills called a 'manufacturer' stuck their label on it. arggggghhhh!

I suppose we could always ring up Lloyd's of London... but then, we'd be in the same (uninsured!) boat as our friends above.

Still hoping to hear of some insurer who wants our business.

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Older houseboat insurance
by: Anonymous

Hi, I am in Raleigh, and have a 1974 Steel hull Stardust Cruiser houseboat that I could not get insured. Brant Baker (from Nationwide) finally found insurance for me.

I did have to change all of my auto and home insurance to him though. We have been happy with his service for years now.

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Insurance on a 1968 Nautaline houseboat
by: jypseygal

I insured my 1968 fiberglass hull Nautaline houseboat with Progressive, liability insurance only for $100.00 per year

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Insured at last
by: Anonymous

State Farm wrote a decent policy for our 1980 MasterFab Summit houseboat (Inland waters - California)

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We got steel houseboat insurance
by: Anonymous

We insured our 1966 Lazy Days, Steel hull houseboat with Progressive. The boat is located in VA, and don't know if the state you are in makes a difference or not.

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We can't insure our houseboat either
by: Anonymous

We own a 1980 MasterFab Summit houseboat and just did a survey - passed with flying colors. No one will insure our boat - problem? Age of the houseboat and steel hulls.

Progressive won't touch steel hulls - and neither will anyone else. Anyone get insurance with their steel hulled boat recently? Oh, we did get one company that said they would insure us - for less than market value for $2000.00+ per year with a $1000.00 deductible.

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Houseboat Insurance from State Farm
by: nmorgart

I wrote to several people who have steel hull vintage houseboats for sale etc....

One nice lady told me she has used State Farm. We had only gotten one company to write us for $1500, then we found State Farm, they wrote liability and property damage for $500.

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Houseboat Insurance
by: Anonymous

Did you try Progressive?

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No Houseboat Insurance
by: ric moore

We bought a 1971 houseboat, had it surveyed and tried to get insurance...no go..turned down by over 100 companies...told to old..told not in salt water...told not in hurricane areas...

We beat our heads against against wall, because marinas and storage places demand insurance...only 1 in 10 boats in this state have insurance...had to go with port risk insurance, which only covers liability....#*~#*....

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More on our houseboat insurance plight.
by: Nancy

We did have a survey done, and it proves our houseboat is in great condition.

There's no safety issues, everything is done right, so why won't anyone insure us????

Nancy...



Here's 3 years of hard work.

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Houseboat Insurance solutions
by: Anonymous

Perhaps if all houseboat owners would unite and form a cooperative, they would have the muscle to force insurance companies to behave more appropriately, or even better yet, collect funds, invest them, apply for club insurance license and create an insurance entity that targets river and lake crafts such as houseboats.

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