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Boat owners often do everything possible to protect their boats against predicable threats, but with major storms and hurricanes occurring more and more frequently, it’s important to make sure your boat is covered in case it experiences any hurricane damage. If you want to determine if your boat is protected against damage from these unpredictable storms, it’s important to know exactly what your maritime insurance policy covers.

What Is Maritime Insurance?

These insurance policies typically cover cargo losses or damage caused to ships, boats, or vessels which may occur between the origin and point of destination. Because weather damage is one factor that can cause significant hardship for boat owners (and one that’s completely out of your control), having comprehensive coverage can be a lifesaver when hurricanes or tropical storms hit.

Does Maritime Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?

Maritime insurance can cover hurricane damage if you have the right policy. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable broker to make sure your plan covers everything, including hurricane damage.

Do You Need Insurance for Your Boat?

While every state requires insurance for registered motor vehicles, rules and regulations vary around requiring insurance policies for boats. However, as there are many risks associated with owning a boat, it is highly recommended to have a good insurance policy in place. Some of the risks that you may encounter as a boat owner are:

What Different Types of Insurance for Your Boat Are Available?

Generally, “maritime insurance” is a broad term that covers a range of protection against different types of damages, and making sure your policy covers natural disasters like hurricanes can save you thousands of dollars after one strike. These policies can include comprehensive coverage, customization, and mark-up value, all things a good insurance broker will review with you to make sure you’re getting the best package possible.

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

When you’re purchasing insurance for your boat, you’ll be able to choose what your policy will cover. In general, most policies cover collision damage, property damage, bodily injury, and passenger liability.

Are There Additional Items Boat Insurance Will Cover?

If you’d like to extend your policy’s coverage, most insurance policies can cover some additional instances. These can include fuel spill liability, boat rentals, fishing equipment, and towing and wrecking coverage, among others. Working with a knowledgeable insurance broker is key to designing a package that fits all your needs.

What Doesn’t Boat Insurance Cover?

As you can see, you can insure your boat against a range of possibilities, both natural and unnatural. However, there are a couple of things your insurance package will never cover. These include things like defective parts and normal wear and tear on your boat. No matter your insurance provider, you shouldn’t expect these things to be covered.

How Much Does Maritime Insurance Cost?

Prices for different insurance packages can vary and depend on many factors. Things like the size of your boat, age of your boat, its current condition, value, where you’ll be using it, the size of your deductible, and coverage parameters all determine how much your package will cost.

Actual Cash Value vs Agreed Value

A good insurance broker will ask you whether you’d like to insure your boat on “actual cash value” or “agreed value.” This critical distinction will have an impact on your premium cost, so knowing the difference is important.

Actual Cash Value protection uses the market value of your boat at the time of a covered loss, deducting a certain amount from the original value to account for depreciation.

Agreed Value protection is based on the value you declare for the boat at the time of beginning your maritime insurance and doesn’t include any depreciation after that point. Premiums for Actual Cash Value plans tend to be lower than the premium for similarly comprehensive Agreed Value plans.

Are There Discounts Available?

Any savvy shopper knows to ask about discounts when looking for the perfect insurance package, and there are a couple of different instances where discounts are available. For instance, some providers may offer a discount on your maritime insurance if you have a good driving record. Others might offer a lower rate if you haven’t filed any boat claims in the past.

Another common discount may be available if the boat owner has completed a boating safety course, helping to lessen your liability of accidents occurring on the water.

When to File Your Insurance Claim After a Hurricane

It is important to file your insurance claim as soon as possible after a hurricane. Once your claim is filed, there are several things you can do to make sure your claim gets processed as quickly and efficiently.

Clean Your Boat

If you can access your boat, cleaning it after a hurricane can help prevent mildew and mold from growing. If your boat has taken on water, act as quickly as possible to remove all the water and dry every surface as thoroughly as possible.

Beyond mildew and mold, water damage can be extremely costly and any action you can take to mitigate the damage, the better off you’ll be in the long run. If you can effectively clean your boat, these actions will help free up funds to address costs from any other damage.

Remove Personal Items and Equipment

Assuming you can access your boat, it’s important to remove any personal belongings to prevent them from being stolen or looted by vandals. Take stock of your items and focus on removing the most valuable belongings or equipment first, as these could be targets for theft.

When you remove each item, take note of any damage incurred from the storm. Make sure you keep a detailed inventory list of everything stored on your boat so you will know if anything is missing after a big storm.

“Pickle” Your Engine or Other Machinery

If your engine or other machinery has been completely submerged in water, one thing to do right away is a process called “pickling.” This involves flushing it thoroughly with fresh water and then filling it back up again with kerosene or diesel fuel. A ruined engine can be expensive to replace, and pickling your engine or other machinery quickly after the storm will give you the best chance of saving it.

Contact Your Insurance Company Before Salvaging

If your boat is completely submerged in water, you’re going to need to have it salvaged. However, it’s important to contact your insurance company before you sign any contract to salvage your boat. By doing this, you’ll avoid having to foot the bill if any problems occur during the salvaging process. Hiring a service to salvage your boat can be expensive, so you’re going to want to make sure it is covered by your insurance company before you agree to any contract.

Find the Right Insurance Coverage for You

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to insurance for your boat. There are also many different factors that can affect your total cost in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane. These catastrophes can be a disaster for your boat, but ensuring you have the best coverage possible means they don’t have to be a disaster for your bank account.

To learn which policy is best for you or for help in filing your insurance claim, contact iInsure today.


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