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Damage to a Boat Can Leave Owners Confused About Their Insurance Coverage

Pay careful attention to your boat insurance policy to determine what property damage it coversImagine that your boat has been damaged by hail or severe weather. Although you may think that you’re covered for any kind of storm damage, the reality is that your policy may exclude damage in some situations, such as losses that happened while the boat was on the water, at the marina, in your driveway, overwintered, or sitting on an unmaintained trailer. Are you convinced yet that you should take another look at the insurance policies that cover your boat?

Unfortunately, questions about the coverage for your boat aren’t easy to answer. How you are covered is very dependent on your situation and what caused your loss, and you may actually have insurance coverage under several policies, such as your homeowner’s insurance, your auto insurance, or specific boat and watercraft policy. If you own a boat and want to be prepared, here are some things you should know about property insurance for boats and watercraft.

How Is Damage to My Boat Covered by Insurance?

Like all forms of insurance coverage, the coverage you carry for your boat can be surprisingly difficult to understand when it’s time to actually file a claim for losses. Boat insurance policies vary quite a bit, and there may also be coverage under your homeowner’s policy or auto insurance policy. How your coverage kicks in and what it actually covers can heavily depend on:

  • The type of boat you own. If you rely on your homeowners or auto insurance to cover your boat, make sure that your specific watercraft is really covered. Unless you have a separate policy that specifically covers your boat, you can expect limits on length, the size of the engine, the type of craft, and more.
  • What went wrong. Even marine insurance policies that cover a wide range of perils may include important exclusions. For example, while your individual policy may cover hail, wind, and fire, it may not cover accidents at the marina or flooding.
  • Where your boat is at the time. Many insurance policies place limits on exactly where your boat is covered. For example, your homeowners insurance probably doesn’t cover a boat that is kept at a marina. Whether you have coverage through your home insurance, auto insurance, or another policy, you should be aware that it may only apply in certain geographic locations, when your boat is in or out of the water, if it is hitched to your car or truck, etc.
  • How your boat is stored. Insurance policies often exclude weather damage to boats that are kept outside of a covered garage when not in use. So, for example, your coverage may not extend to a boat that was damaged while it was tied up at the marina or parked in your driveway.

The best way to be prepared for damage to your boat is to review your policies, talk with your insurance agent, ask questions about exclusions, and make sure you have the kinds of coverage you need for the way you use your boat. If you use a marina, you should also review the marina agreement you signed and look for clauses that explain, for example, what happens if an employee damages your boat accidentally. Remember, too, that your boating insurance coverage may not offer coverage for trailers, equipment, personal belongings, and other losses related to the boat. If you have a significant amount invested in these kinds of items, it’s worth taking the time to check your policy and consider extending your coverage.

Are you having trouble resolving an insurance claim for damage to a boat or yacht? While there are many reasons marine insurance claims are denied, policyholders aren’t always being treated fairly by their insurance companies or being told the truth about their rights. Call the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730. We help policyholders across the nation understand their rights and fight unfairly denied, delayed, or underpaid insurance claims, and we would be happy to answer your questions.

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