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Will your insurance company pay you if your boat sinks?

Boat insurance is like all insurance – you don’t need it until you need it.

But when you do need it, you expect the claim to be handled in good faith and a fair amount paid.  Which begs the question – will your insurance company pay you if your boat sinks?

The first place to look when answering that question is at your insurance policy.  Please do not hesitate to contact our office should you wish to review your insurance coverage, or if an insurance company is giving you a hard time with your sunken boat insurance claim.

Now is the time to review your boat insurance.  If you do that today you may be surprised to learn how little your boat insurance actually covers.

The reason for that is unlike other forms of insurance, boat insurance policies range from very little coverage to too much coverage.  And the price swings are often just as dramatic.

Therefore, it is critical to understand the full scope of your boat insurance and understand what coverage you have available should your boat sink.

Consequential Damage:   After hurricane damage, the top boat related claim is for sinking.  Typically, most sinking occurs at the dock when some part on the boat below the water line fails.   But the insurance company will often deem that the part that failed that caused the sinking failed because of wear and tear.  So if an insurance company concludes that the loss was as a result of normal wear and tear, then the insurance company will not pay for the loss.  And that means that the insurance company won’t pay for the consequential damage for the rest of the boat sitting at ocean’s bottom unless you have purchased “consequential damage” coverage that covers losses that often start with a failed part.

Fuel Spill Liability: In the event your boat sinks you will likely be responsible for paying for the fuel spill clean up.  Therefore, be sure to ensure that your policy pays for the full cost of fuel spill liability and provides coverage up to the maximum amount you can be held responsible for under the law for the cost of the fuel clean up.  Don’t assume that this cost is included in your coverage.

Salvage: You should check your policy to ensure that your policy provides distinct salvage coverage up to the insured value of the boat.  You should also include that your coverage also provides coverage to fix your boat or replace equipment.  The reason these two distinct coverages are important is because in the event of a hurricane it is common that boats get scattered around South Florida.  They will then need to be salvaged and safely brought back to the storage area.  Therefore, don’t be surprised and learn after the fact that your insurance subtracts the amount paid to salvage the boat from the amount you get paid to fix the boat.  Make sure you have the separate and distinct coverage so that you can be afforded the most financial protection.

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