Marine insurance works similarly to auto or home insurance, as it covers your vessel in case of loss or damage. However, insurance for your boat or personal watercraft (PWC) is not all-encompassing and may have exclusions or language that is unlike other types of policies. If you’ve suffered a loss and your marine insurance company has denied your claim, or you feel you’ve received a settlement offer below what you are legally entitled to, contact our boat insurance claim attorneys to review your dispute.
Get Help with Boat & Watercraft Insurance Claims
While boat insurance isn’t required in Florida, many lenders require it in the terms of your loan. Some marinas also require insurance that includes liability coverage in the event you damage property or injure others.
What Does Marine Insurance Cover?
A boat insurance policy can provide coverage for:
- Damage to the vessel or personal property, whether on the water or on the trailer
- Liability, similar to auto coverage, in case you damage another boat, property, or person
- Medical payments coverage in the event that you or others on the boat are injured
- Uninsured coverage should your boat recieve damage or you are injured by another that is uninsured
- Towing coverage if you break down
- Many policies will cover a dinghy as part of your boat
What Is Not Covered by My Boat Insurance?
- Commercial boats or any endeavors defined as non-pleasure boating
- Damage or loss as a result of war or war-related incidents
- Damage as a result of normal wear and tear during use
- Damage or loss outside of your defined navigational territory
- If your boat has a jet ski or personal watercraft (PWC) on board, you will need a separate policy for coverage
Marine Insurance Policy Review
What Do I Need to Know Before Getting an Insurance Policy on My Boat?
There are a few concerns you should think about when getting marine insurance.
- Check with dedicated marine insurance companies first. Many boat owners contact their auto or home insurance companies for coverage, which may not be familiar with maritime or admiralty law — making it difficult should you ever have a claim.
- You need to have an insurable interest in your vessel at the time of a loss in order to have a claim.
- A marine insurance contract must be done in good faith — this is a part of admiralty law. You cannot misrepresent, commit fraud, or conceal any of the facts regarding your boat or vessel.
- Your policy can be voided should there be a breach of any of the warranties implied in law or under the contract — if your boat was not seaworthy at the time of loss, you will be denied.
What Is the Implied Warranty of Seaworthiness?
This means that you promise your insurer that your vessel is in seaworthy condition — that it is fit for service in all respects. Where it gets complicated is that a warranty of seaworthiness is silently implied into most hull insurance policies. This means that nothing needs to be spoken or even written. The insurance company may deny coverage by claiming your vessel was not seaworthy by appealing to “hidden” implied warranties of seaworthiness. Moreover, a condition of not being seaworthy may only need to be temporary and can even happen after you begin a voyage.
Why Was My Boat Claim Denied?
Here are some reasons a vessel could be found unseaworthy and your claim denied:
- No bilge pump
- Lack of, or broken, tools and equipment on board
- Defective gear
- Broken instruments or apparatus, or that they are in a state of disrepair (such as a fire extinguisher)
- Insufficient or unfit crew to operate or perform tasks on the vessel
- Improper storage or loading of cargo