Of all the things that can go wrong on the water, boat fires are fairly rare—but that doesn’t mean that the insurance claims for marine fire damage are any easier for the policyholder. Insurance companies may be hesitant to pay for the full costs of fire-related losses, and they will investigate very thoroughly to rule out potential fraud. Policyholders need to be vigilant in organizing and maximizing their insurance claims in these situations, but they are often unprepared specifically because these events are so uncommon.
It’s Up to You to Take Action After a Marine Fire
If you are currently recovering from a fire, here are some steps you should take as soon as the blaze is out:
- Preserve. Whether you own a single recreational boat or a fleet of commercial vessels, it’s crucial that you document and preserve evidence of your fire losses. This means taking steps to photograph damages and avoid repairing or disturbing the scene of the fire until investigations are complete.
- Protect. Fire-affected vessels and property need to be appropriately maintained while out of service and protected from weather and vandals. Insurance claims can take longer than expected, and you don’t want to end up paying out of pocket for a lack of attention.
- Investigate. Local authorities and the insurance companies will probably send personnel to investigate after a major fire loss, as well as contractors and others needed for assessment of the damage. However, you should also consider an independent assessment and investigation of your losses to help you protect yourself.
Despite the best efforts of policyholders, marine fire claims are often unfairly denied or undervalued. Start learning more about how you can be more proactive with difficult marine insurance claims by requesting your free copy of our book, Your Basic Guide to Marine Insurance Claims.