If you sail for work or pleasure, then you’re going to need maritime insurance to cover your boat. Coverage varies considerably depending on the insurance policy you have, but most of them cover the same basic elements that you might be wondering about. Your maritime lawyer can advise you further if you need to make a claim on your insurance, and we’re going to talk about what most insurance policies typically take care of.
Ask a Maritime Lawyer: Will Maritime Insurance Cover Your Boat From Hurricane Damage?
Generally speaking, most boat insurance policies cover storm damage. This means that if your vessel is damaged in a hurricane, then your insurance company can cover it. However, be careful about what kind of insurance policy you have, as, if it’s liability-only maritime insurance, then you may not be fully covered if your boat is damaged in a hurricane or another storm.
Maritime and offshore injury lawyers in Houston will be happy to go through your insurance policy with you before you sign. This will ensure you get the best insurance policy possible.
Why Might I Not Be Covered in a Hurricane?
Another reason your maritime insurance may not cover hurricane damage is if you frequently sail somewhere hurricanes are a regular occurrence. Texas is highly prone to hurricanes, so this may be an issue you face when looking at insurance policies. Make sure you look for a policy that covers you in the event of a hurricane. Consult an attorney to help you read through your contract if you’re not sure what it covers.
How Will I Know If I’m Covered in the Case of a Hurricane?
Going over your maritime insurance policy carefully with a maritime attorney will help you determine specifically what your insurance policy covers. You may be covered by wind and hail caused by hurricanes, but you may not be covered by injuries and boat damage caused by flying debris. It varies, so sitting down and figuring out what your policy takes care of is your best bet.
What If My Vessel Sinks During a Hurricane?
Most maritime insurance policies cover you if your vessel sinks. They’ll cover the cost of removing the boat from the water and fixing it up if it’s salvageable. Some insurance policies may also pay you the market or the agreed value of your watercraft if it can’t be repaired. Others might even cover belongings that were on the boat at the time of the sinking.
Does Maritime Insurance Cover Me If I’m Liable for Damaging Someone Else’s Vessel During a Storm?
If your insurance policy has property damage liability, then you’re covered if you accidentally damage another vessel, someone’s dock, someone’s property, or another structure during a storm. This coverage also applies if you damage them outside of a storm or hurricane.
What Happens If the Insurance Company Won’t Pay Out for Hurricane Damage?
If your insurance company won’t pay out for hurricane damage even if it’s in your policy, then you should contact your maritime attorney immediately. Tell them what happened to your boat in as much detail as possible, and go over your insurance policy with them. Your attorney will be able to read between the lines and look for any loopholes in the policy that gets your insurance company out of paying.
If there are none of these loopholes, then your attorney will begin to make a case to prove the insurance company is obligated to pay for your damages based on your policy.
Steps to Take If Your Insurance Company Won’t Pay
1. Ensure You’re Working with an Experienced Lawyer
As we said above, you’ll need to contact your attorney if your insurance company refuses to pay for damages you’re certain you are entitled to. Having a lawyer on your side will give you a better chance of winning your case from the very start.
2. Keep As Many Records As Possible
Dig up records. This includes maintenance records, correspondence with your insurance company about your claim, and records of the damage the storm did to your vessel. Record all interactions with your insurance company; save screenshots of and print out emails and text messages. Make sure the names of the employees within the insurance company are visible in all screenshots and printed records.
You can even record audio correspondence with the company. Texas is a one-party consent state, so as long as one party (you) consents to the call being recorded, then you have the right to do it.
3. Be Persistent
You can’t give up when you’re fighting to get compensation for a damaged water vessel. You’re entitled to have these damages covered and the value of your vehicle paid if it was lost or sunk in the storm. Let your attorney follow up with the insurance company regularly, and document the entire process.
In short, if your insurance policy states it covers hurricane damage, then the company has to pay out if your boat is damaged during a hurricane or storm. There are exceptions to this, but most insurance policies cover this type of damage. If your insurance company refuses to pay out, then contact your lawyer.
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