When high winds cause damage to marine property, policyholders generally turn to their insurance companies to cover the costs of their losses. However, some are surprised to find that, after the assessments are completed, their claims have been denied because the insurance company has placed the blame for losses squarely on the policyholder. Whether it is accusations of an overlooked leak or poor engine maintenance, marine insurance companies can be quick to point fingers if it means avoiding paying the full value of a windstorm claim.
Why Maintenance and Repair Become an Issue in Marine Wind Damage Claims
If you’ve truly failed to keep your boat or vessel in proper repair, you may not be able to collect repair costs from your insurer after a windstorm—and that’s only fair, depending on the details of your policy. However, insurance companies often try to blame legitimate wind-related losses on marine policyholders, pointing to oversights on repairs or routine maintenance procedures, such as:
- Loose or unsecured features and equipment
- Improper preparation for the conditions
- Improper storage when a vessel is out of operation
- Damages from “normal” wear and tear
Although many policies do exclude these kinds of damages from payment under wind-damage claims, policyholders can be left with serious questions about the wording of their policies and damage assessments after a denial that’s blamed on maintenance. Unfortunately, many are unsure how to pursue these questions and hold insurance companies responsible for unfairly denying claims.
Maintenance Questions Can Affect Marine Insurance Claims of All Types and Sizes
Even with the best maintenance, marine insurance companies may try to shift the blame to policyholders and deny claims for wind and storm damage, and it isn’t limited to any particular types of policyholder. Unfair denials are a challenge for everyone from policyholders dealing with routine claims for minor damages to a personal craft to those who are dealing major commercial claims that involve extensive cargo and business losses. No matter what their size or focus, too many marine policyholders silently accept the blame for storm losses and don’t voice their concerns when they feel they’ve been treated unfairly by insurers who delay, deny, and undervalue claims.
However, policyholders don’t have to accept unfair excuses for marine claim denials. Request a free copy of our important book, Your Basic Guide to Marine Insurance, or contact our legal team directly for help with a policy dispute or denial.