builders insurance

john hupfield

fire starter/wood burner
Has anyone got a solution to the extreme hig cost of business liability insurance?I'm required as a morgagee.No real choice unless I'm invisible.
Commercial Liability Insurance has left most small business compromised or uninsured.
Would a Co-op work?
Others who are more closely involved can probably advise, but I think the Wooden Canoe Builders Guild was established for this type of thing. I dont know how active they are; in terms of forum activity, WCHA is far and away the more productive organization.
HI John and Mike
The Wooden Canoe Builders Guild is still in its infancy and working at growing. Besides being a meeting place for canoe builders to share ideas, it was also set up as a place to buy materials cooperatively, as well as to advertize coooperatively. One of our agenda items has been to look at the feasibility of group insurance. To this date, unfotrunately we haven't been successful .
I, like John have been unable to renew my insurance. After taking my money for 16 years, the insurance company has decided I'm a bad risk. And there seems to be a growing number of us out there. For me, I am not as worried about liability insurance as building insurance. I,m not worth anything to sue anyway!!!
Now that I have been without it for 6 months I have kind of gotten used to it and can sleep at nights again. In fact, it sometimes seems like this whole insurance thing is just another way of keeping us living in fear all the time.
Bearwood CAnoes,
Parry Sound ON CAN
I have the same problem as Pam metioned and also told what a bad risk I would be. I fell into the home based shop category with the other non insurables.


I have spent many hours researching, talking to brokers and agents. I have to admit after you talk to enough different people in a industry (insurance) you realize how they all sound the same.

I eventually gave up I was just spending to much time and energy looking and waiting for calls backs that never came. I was told that the best way to insure my business would be to insure our property and business as a commercial policy and then to carry seperate insurance for personal items. Totally in reverse of what we had been used to. It was going to be a very very expensive way to do things.

Like i said I gave up and also felt that having to build 2 or 3 canoes just to pay for insurance would be insane. I also feel as Pam does about not having the coverage. After you are denied it and dont have it what else can you do but learn to live with out it. :)

Though I agree that ignoring the problem is a fascinating concept,I'm having some problem convincing my Broker that it's not an issue.
I'm wondering if I incorperate or delist myself as a builder and just say I'm a woodworker or boat refinisher if that may change things.
I was hoping someone would have a reasonable insurance company.Not building the Titanic here.
Thanks guys(and ladys) for the feedback.
Keep me informed on the Builders Guild.
Guys and Pam,

Just curious, what make you folks a high risk, that you're a small business, or a wood worker or that the product is a small boat or??

Hi Dan,
I asked that same question to the brokers. The answer is yes to all of the above, watercraft, small business and woodworker. In John's other post about delisting,, i asked the same sort of question. If I was just a home woodworker with the same tools doing odd things ,, no questions asked everything is okay. (I am not putting down the do it yourself or hobbist) I was one of those guys at one time too. :) As soon as you hang out your shingle everything changes.

I did talk to another boat builder in town who had the same problem. He got insurance after his broker seen his new sign by the road. He got new insurance through a Menonite co-op in Ontario. I had not looked into , but he said the one catch was that you attend there church. :confused:
Liability Ins.

One of the options small business operators use to limit business liability is to form an LLC or Corp. It does not really cost all that much, but there is a good deal of on going paper work.

The home based business if very difficult to insure, as someone mentioned. If you have a separate business location, you add liability to your property coverage. That liability coverage protects you against business activities except for Products(like is someone falls in your shop or our shop burns down and takes the build next to you with it).

The subject of Product Liability is completely separate and people would be surprised how many business do not have it.

Merry Christmas,

A cautionary tale folks: I'm in the same boat as Pam and Larry. After my Insurance being canceled, I eventualy gave up looking for a new outfit and as with everybody else, soon said the hell with it. Not long after I moved out of my commercial space (which would have required said insurance to re-lease anyway) and moved to a home based shop. I discovered some time later that my home insurer requires notification of home based business activities or the insurance is void. I dutifully informed them of said activities to which they replied "Cease all operations untill you have full commercial coverage including product liability." They went on to say that they were not interested to provide a policy to such a high risk activity.
I've since found a few outfits that will provide that coverage but the lowest was still $3500. Not a huge sum but a big chunk to give away when you build small boats for a living.
I've stopped doing boatwork for the time being while I renovate my house but I'm eventually going to have to bite the bullet it seems.
All you home businesses better check your home policies or it may come back to bite you if you ever have to collect.
Mark,I tried to communicate direct through you website email address but it bounced.
You summarized my problem and I Do Not look foreward to a cease and desist order.
Any leads would be useful.You could contact me through this forum or through my email link at (my website).
Much Thanks,John
Hi Folks, We're having the same problems getting coverage...after contacting at least ten different companies, we'd given up trying to get insurance for our shop.Sure would appreciate being kept current with regard to purchasing insurance a reasonable cost. Might benefit all of us to keep our discussion on this board... or if not...please use the link on our website www. to e-mail.Thanks, Dale & Lynne.
Hobbiest wonders

I consider myself a hobbiest but where do the insurance companys draw the line ? My shop is full of wooden canoes in various stages . Being retired and morgage free I have to wonder about those that have a morgage and no insurance . I would have thought that to have a morgage you would also have to have insurance .
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Hi Dave,
I asked my agent the same question where the line was drawn. They told me that if you were doing it as a hobby and it was part of your lifestyle no problem. As soon as you hang out a sign or become a registered business then thats how they view you and everything changes. As far as I know you are required to have mortage insurance.
The mortgage/insurance bind is exactly what I'm in. I'm not sure why it's dangerous for a customer to drop of thier canoe or come visit it while it's being fixed but I can throw a BBQ with flaming appliances, feed alcohol to friends and strangers and have kids running around with flaming marshmallows on sharp sticks and not be considerd a liability risk is beyond me.
Does anybody here have experience with starting a group policy?
I was on on one with the BC Crafts Assosiation but that's the policy that all the woodworkers got kicked off of.
I've just made an inquiry to an agent about creating a group policy.
We'll see what she has to say. I'll keep you posted.
Flaming Barbeques,,,alcohol, I want to go to one of mark's parties. I promise not to sue if i get a sharp stick coated with marshmallow in the eye,,,, :p
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So Dale;Where's Halls Lake and are you coming to Marks party?
Seriously,we are all in the same canoe shop on this issue,and a number of us are trying to find accomadation.
I know Dick Persson is working on seeing what the CMMA can do for us.I believe some kind of group policy is the only way to go,but don't yet have all the answers.
This forum is working!
Another thought

Is this insurance problem the same in Canada and the USA or are we Canucks getting the usual shaft ?
Another thought.... The wife, who is from Ohio, says we need a consumer advocate like Ralph Nader up here to help with issues like this.Anybody know one?? John; Hall's Lake is on Hwy.#35 about half way between Minden and Dorset. We'd love go to Mark's party...sit around the fire...pick a little guitar& long as the flaming sticks are kept away from the instruments & at least 50 ft. from Mark's shop!! All that aside... this IS a very serious issue ,and we're very concerned about not having the mean time , I'm going to the shop to make some "ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK" signs ....for all the good that might do.....
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