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Liability Insurance and Lakefront Properties

Posted by Luke Bouman on Thursday, May 29th, 2014 at 5:02am.

 Owning a home on Lake Michigan or any lakefront property brings cool breezes, relaxing nights, and spectacular views.  However, lakefront properties and their accessories also pose potential injury or death situations which are not present for conventional dry land properties. These properties carry water risks such as drowning, diving into shallow water from a dock or swimming raft and similar situations. Boat propellers, high speed boating, water skiing, personal watercraft, water trampolines and other water ‘toys’ all increase the risk of injury or even death.

 Most people that own waterfront homes are underinsured when it comes to liability insurance. A standard homeowners limit of $100,000 or $300,000 would probably be inadequate for a lake home as most settlements and jury verdicts of $1,000,000 are not uncommon. Many property owners believe that they can only be sued if they are, in fact, at fault.  Even claims which are without merit often end up in litigation, for which the property owner will have to legally defend himself/herself.  Most liability insurance policies cover not only potential damages  and judgments against the insured, but also usually pay for the legal defense costs.  However, general liability insurance for lakefront property will generally not cover any damages, lawsuits or related matters arising out of use of a boat, personal watercraft, snowmobile or other vehicles. Normally, a person must purchase separate policies to cover the use of these items. 

 A minimum limit of $1,000,000 in liability coverage would be a good recommendation for a lakefront home.  If a lessor amount is chosen, it would be in the best interest of the insured to also purchase an umbrella policy that provides extended coverage above and beyond the limits on the home policy.  Liability coverage is usually one of the least expensive parts of an insurance policy and provides essential protection for your personal assets.  Be sure to speak with a trusted local insurance agent in West Michigan when purchasing your waterfront home.

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