Miami is home to one of the highest boat theft rates in the nation. The illegal acquisition of vessels can be used for a variety of reasons. In most instances, boats are stolen, stripped down, and left abandoned on the side of the road. Put simply, boat theft is big business because the engines, navigational systems, motors, and trailers are sold off to both local and international consumers.
Boat theft is also linked to drug- and human-trafficking rings, especially with South Florida’s easy access to open waters. In these instances, professional criminals target powerful, high-end boats that give them the best chance of accomplishing their criminal goals.
Sometimes it’s as simple as insurance fraud, especially with the state of our economy. Here, the criminal is the owner, not a thief or an organized-criminal ring.
In Miami, Nicolas Estrella, the insurance mogul of Estrella Insurance, has been facing allegations by his insurance carrier of conspiring to commit insurance fraud in connection with his 80-foot yach that was stolen back in 2009.
The yacht, according to authorities, was stolen by the vessel’s former boat captain, Roberto Figueredo. The boat was then, allegedly, sunk off the coast of the Bahamas. After which, Estrella filed a $3 million dollar claim against his insurance carrier, Federal Insurance Co., which has refused to pay out because of its belief that Estrella and Figueredo worked in conjunction to cash in on the insurance payout.
Having insurance coverage is a necessity in South Florida for a personal-recreation vehicle such as a boat. Your boat is an important investment. Even more so when you add accessories, equipment, and a trailer. It is therefore critical to ensure that you have properly insured your boat.
Most boaters enjoy their boat without a problem. However, some do have an accident, whether it was at-fault or not.
Submerged objects are the most common boat insurance claim, mainly due to the high frequency of submerged logs or debris in water, and the fact they usually cannot be seen until they’ve already hit the engine. The following is a list of the most common boat insurance claims:
1. Hitting a submerged object while cruising
2. Theft while anchored
3. Collision with other boats while boating
4. Storm damage while moored
5. Theft while in storage
6. Accidental damage while cruising
7. Flooding while moored
8. Sinking while moored
9. Owner negligence while cruising
10. Accidental damage while moored
Boat theft is more likely to occur during the warmer summer boating months, so it is important to remember a few practical tips to prevent the theft of your boating equipment and supplies while the boat is anchored:
â€¢ Remove any expensive electronics from sight.
â€¢ Don’t leave anything of value on the deck.
â€¢ Properly secure the motors, tenders and life rafts to the boat.
â€¢ Secure all boating equipment, such as oars and anchors to the boat.
However, when its time to file a claim against your insurance company, call an attorney who has experience handling these matters. At Alvarez & Barbara, LLP, our attorneys handle a wide array of insurance claims, including home, auto, and boat loss. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call today.