Marine Damage Attorneys in Florida
Homes aren’t the only expensive pieces of property damaged during hurricanes, tropical storms and other major natural disaster events. Some of the most frequently overlooked high-ticket losses are those of a nautical nature, especially boats.
If you are a Florida boat owner and you had your vessel moored in the path of a hurricane, chances are good it didn’t escape unscathed, or even floating at all.
Common Marine Hurricane Insurance Rules
Most marine insurance policies have some important requirements boat owners should be aware of prior to a storm making landfall.
- A specific hurricane plan coverage addon is sometimes required for boat owners to get coverage in areas prone to hurricanes
- Hurricane coverage may also be required if you want your policy to cover wind-related damages
- Similar to hurricane deductibles for homeowners policies, most yacht and some boat policies have a specific Named Storm Deductible of 10 percent of the vessel’s value
- You may be able to reduce your Named Storm Deductible by putting in place a Hurricane Plan for your boat and implementing it to prevent as much damage as possible
Making a Hurricane Plan for Your Watercraft
There are some basic rules you should follow, if possible, whenever a hurricane is forecast to hit your boat:
Salvage and Retrieval Claims
Hurricanes frequently scatter boats all over the coastal area, including on land. A series of cranes and flatbed trucks are often required to get the boat back to its proper mooring. These salvage services are not cheap and can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars per foot length of boat. Different polices treat salvage costs in different ways. Some lump repair costs and salvage costs into one bucket, meaning your salvage costs reduce the amount of repair dollars you have left. Others separate salvage and repair.
Some policies also limit the amount of money you can get for salvage based on the valuation of your boat, so for example 25 percent of the boats value.
Wreck Removal Claims
If your boat is wrecked in a hurricane, the type of insurance policy you have will dictate how much money you’ll be given for cleanup and replacement. More expensive policies that include liability limits upwards of $100,000 will pay for clean up out of that category, since as an owner your wrecked boat is considered a liability from the environmental and safety perspective. Other policies may just pay you the value of the boat and leave the removal arrangements and payments up to you to figure out.
Another aspect of liability for boat owners is the potential for a fuel-spill in the event of a hurricane. In many situations its harder to prove or identify your boat’s specific fuel spill, but it does come up in other marine damage claims relatively frequently. This category is usually lumped in with liability coverage. Top of the line coverage often provides up to $845,000 for fuel-spill liability because that is the maximum amount you as a private boat owner can be charged under federal regulations for cleanup costs.
Get Help with Your Marine Damage Claim
Boats are a huge investment, and no one wants to face a total loss of their vessel without coverage. Marine insurance companies can be just as bad as home, auto or business insurance when it comes to denying or undervaluing claims. Although the policies often have different details and peril exclusions, the excuses or rationale the insurance company may use to deny your claim will be similar.
Insurance companies may say you didn’t take adequate precautions, so the damage is on you, or your boat wasn’t properly maintained, or they’ll tell you this particular peril wasn’t covered by your policy.
If you believe your marine insurance company is going to leave you high and dry on your hurricane boat damage claim, contact Kanner & Pintaluga at 800-586-5555 to schedule a free case evaluation.
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