Boat Damage "Claims 101" - SaltwaterCentral.Com

Register for FREE to Use our Offshore Fishing Resources
Select State -»
Staff Online:
Boat Damage "Claims 101" - SaltwaterCentral.Com
Boat Damage "Claims 101" - SaltwaterCentral.Com
Boat Damage "Claims 101" - SaltwaterCentral.Com
October 15, 2018 2:50 am EST
Location: 33.436N 77.743W
Wind Dir: SSE (150°)
Wind Speed: 10 knots
Wind Gust: 12 knots
Sig Wave Height: 2 ft
Dom Wave Period: 4 sec
Average Period: 4.3 sec
Mean Wave Dir: E (95°)
AT Ps: 30.16 in (1021.4 mb)
Air Temp: 79°F (26.0°C)
Dew Point: 66°F (19.1°C)
Water Temp: 81°F (27.2°C)

Boat Damage "Claims 101" - SaltwaterCentral.Com

 Forum FAQForum FAQ   SearchSearch  SearchNew Forum Posts 

Boat Damage "Claims 101"
Post new topic   Reply to topic    SaltwaterCentral.Com Forum Index -> Marine Insurance
Author Message

Joined: Feb 26, 2016
Posts: 13
Location: Wrightsville Beach

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:35 pm    Post subject: Boat Damage "Claims 101" Reply with quote

So you’ve done your homework, found your dream ride, worked your deal out and have her on the trailer taking her home. And you did the right thing and bought good insurance on her, hoping you’ll never have to use it. Then you have a claim. Time to put your policy, and your agent, to the test. Liability claims (personal injury or damage to another person’s boat or dock) are going to be handled differently, so I’m going to focus on a “physical damage” claim – one where your boat has been damaged. A physical damage claim can include hitting something and damaging the vessel, hitting the bottom, hitting a dock, slipping her mooring and drifting onto the rocks, lightning strikes, and the like. So physical damage has occurred--what do you do?

1) First and foremost, make sure your passengers are safe. Boats are replaceable, lives are not.
2) Second, secure the vessel. You have a duty under the policy contract to “mitigate damage.” If she’s taking on water, part of your duty is to get her ashore to prevent her from sinking (“further damage”).
3) Third, CALL YOUR AGENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. You have a duty under the policy contract to provide “timely reporting” of any claim or incident that could give rise to a claim (someone fell, said they were fine, but you felt maybe they could have broken a bone…or you hit something offshore, didn’t notice any vibration thereafter but it was a strong strike – and maybe you should have her checked out by your mechanic).
a. Some carriers allow online reporting, or toll free claims # - that’s all fine and good, but your agent should be the one “quarterbacking” the claim for you. Having your agent involved from the start helps that agent help you throughout the claim process. Trust us on this….

Your agent will file your claim with your insurance carrier, who in turn appoints an adjustor, who will run the claim for you on the company’s end. They will call you to gather details of the incident – what happened, when, where, etc.. The Adjustor may then appoint a Surveyor to come and inspect your damage. Per the policy language, the insurance company maintains the right to inspect the damage. If they are denied that right, the claim may be in jeopardy. Example – you hit something offshore and tear up your lower unit. Get her back to dock, repair or replace the lower unit so you can get back on the fish, and your mechanic mistakenly disposes of the damaged unit/parts. If the insurance company cannot inspect the damaged parts, they will likely deny the claim (this tracks with your “timely reporting” duty – if you don’t give them timely notice, they could deny the claim). So save ALL your parts (no matter how small). Better yet—DON’T authorize or begin any repairs until you have spoken with your adjustor! Finally, TAKE PICTURES of the damage.

Once the surveyor’s inspection report is submitted, the Adjustor will determine if you have coverage for the loss or not, by applying the situation to the actual policy language. He or she will advise if you have a covered loss, or if the loss falls under one of the policy exclusions. If the latter, get on the horn with your agent to discuss. We have seen, on occasion, a carrier initially deny coverage when we, as the agent, believe there’s coverage for the loss in the policy. Your agent should then step up and work with your Adjustor to discuss coverage, sometimes pulling in the Underwriter. Most denials of coverage are pretty straightforward (“we recognize you had a loss but the clamp that held the cooling hose on was severely corroded, and fell apart due to this corrosion, and “corrosion” is excluded in the policy language per section so-and-so….”), but some can fall into a gray area, and that’s where your agent can step in and help find that coverage for you.

Once it’s determined that the loss is covered, it’s time to get estimates. You have the right to choose who you want to do your repairs, and have them provide estimates. Get these to the Surveyor, who will review, and send it on to the Adjustor with notes. If the estimate is fair and reasonable, Surveyor will endorse it and the Adjustor will use that to settle your claim. If it’s disputed, Surveyor will work to provide reasonable comparison estimates to the Adjustor, and the Adjustor will then negotiate with you to arrive on a settlement amount. Your deductible is applied, and the insurer will mail you a check for the balance. (If you have a loss payee on your policy, the check will be payable to you and them.) Insurers do not, normally, pay third party providers (your repair guys) directly. YOU are responsible for paying them, and the insurance carrier is simply reimbursing you. (They will often pay third party towers or salvage operators directly, but they also do the direct negotiation with those guys on your behalf. )

That’s how a standard physical damage claim on your vessel “should” go. Of course there are a myriad of variations that can affect this process, and if you wish to discuss those, please get up with us. This is in no way a 100% complete picture of what goes on in a claim, and again, not all losses will always be covered. You’ll need to review your policy for exclusions and refer any questions about those to your agent. Your key to a successful claims experience is having a knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy agent to guide you through the process. Your agent is not the one who determines whether you do, or do not, have coverage for your loss – that’s the responsibility of the Adjustor. The agent is there to smooth the way and work with the Adjustor and Surveyor for an efficient resolution.

Choose a GOOD, STRONG marine insurance carrier from the start, and you should be well taken care of in your time of need. And if you get in a jam, and need some guidance, feel free to call on us. Wells client or not, we are here to help all of the Saltwater Central members in any way we can!

Tight lines,

Boat, yacht, charter, guide and marine artisan insurance experts. You won’t find a better crew to protect your water lifestyle. Based in Wrightsville Beach, NC and insuring across the entire US. 910.208.9120
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: Jul 02, 2007
Posts: 375

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THAT is a good reminder to be sure to add insurance info and contact info into my phone.
Thanks Adam.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Post new topic   Reply to topic    SaltwaterCentral.Com Forum Index -> Marine Insurance All times are GMT
 Page 1 of 1


Jump to:   
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You cannot download files in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001-2008 phpBB Group
Forums ©