A carrier is saying an electric surfboard is a hovercraft, but the the agent argues that an electric surfboard would be a watercraft, less than 50 horsepower, and therefore would be covered under the homeowners liability.
A carrier is saying an electric surfboard is a hovercraft and therefore it says the homeowners policy excludes coverage. However, the wings of the surfboard don't leave the water, so the agent argues that an electric surfboard would be a watercraft, less than 50 horsepower, and therefore would be covered under the homeowners liability.
Q: Is an electric surfboard a hovercraft or watercraft?
Response 1: At first, I wanted to agree with you. But then I looked at online videos that show electric surfboards hovering above the water, no waves necessary. There's a difference between an actual electric surfboard, sometimes called a jetboard that travels across the water's surface, and an electric hydrofoil (efoil), which flies above the water on a hydrodynamic wing and mast, according to E-surfer.
From your description, it does sound like your client has the type which has wings that don't leave the water's surface. Perhaps you need to educate the underwriter on the difference between an electric surfboard and an efoil. Dig down and present the manufactures specs. If the underwriter declines coverage, arrange a watercraft policy.
Response 2: Even an efoil uses some contact with water, but a true hovercraft “floats" on a bed of air. It's definitely a watercraft, but until the person in the black robe comes back to tell us what the jury decides, I'm not sure we know exactly what it is.
Response 3: If the carrier is unwilling to insure the craft, that's that. Either market it to another of your carriers or look to the surplus market. Appetite and coverage are two different things. It's not worth the hassle at the time of loss to argue with the adjuster. Strongly consider an excess liability policy if there's not one already in force.
Response 4: I would say that an insurance carrier can either exclude from coverage or withhold specifically writing coverage for anything that they wish to avoid. I would hope that you have other carriers available that might have a different approach. Please be very careful to describe accurately and in sufficient detail the electric surfboard exposure to any and all underwriters.
We live in a time where new electric, electronic, autonomous and hybrid devices are emerging every day. Carriers have been scrambling to keep up. As always, agents depend on them to develop and offer coverage solutions and clarifications.
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