Please select your home edition
Edition
Maritimo 2019 HEADER

As weather wreaks havoc, better check your boat's insurance policy

by Scott Croft 8 Jul 07:06 PDT
Heavy rain events and subsequent flooding can sink a recreational boat. © Scott Croft

According to NOAA, the 12-month-period ending in April 2019 was the wettest in U.S. records dating back to 1895. As extreme weather events become more common, few are more affected than recreational boaters who store their vessels on the water at a marina, boat club or backyard dock. Flooding, hurricanes, tornados or heavy snows falling on boat shed roofs are just a few sound reasons to insure your boat.

As the frequency and severity of storm events increase, the nation's largest advocacy, services and safety group for recreational boaters, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), expects the impact on recreational boaters to grow, and has three tips to help deal with extreme weather and how your insurance policy addresses potential harm to your boat.

1. Focus on the big stuff. With extreme weather, boaters need to look at the biggest boat insurance risk - a sinking with partial/total loss of the boat. According to the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program claims files, the lion's share (69%) of boat sinking insurance claims occur while the boat is tied up at the dock, the owner absent. While these sinkings are often the result of striking a submerged object or equipment failure such as a bilge pump that doesn't work, cracked outdrive bellows or damaged thru-hulls, precipitation is a common underlying factor in dockside sinkings. Does rain easily shed off your boat, and do you have a reliable way to remove water that makes its way in?

2. Proceed with caution. In the springtime, boats sink for certain reasons such as when rains overwhelm a bilge pump and battery, ice pops a hose off its connection, or scuppers are clogged. Severe rain and thunderstorms, which can include hurricane-force winds, require ensuring decks and boat covers are watertight and the bilge pump is in good shape. With forceful currents and other navigational hazards, boats stored on rivers and creeks may also be more prone to damage from flood events and should be hauled before launch ramps are closed. Running a boat in floodwaters requires additional safety precautions. For the biggest storms, BoatUS.com/Hurricane-prep offers free hurricane preparation tools for boaters and clubs.

3. Know your policy's salvage coverage. As the last backstop to a potential weather-related sinking, having full salvage coverage included in your boat's insurance policy is important. Salvage comes into play when a boat sinks and needs to be recovered. A policy's salvage coverage will pay to recover your boat from under the collapsed shed, at its dock or stuck on a beach, and transport it safely to a repair facility. While many salvages are routine, some are not and can be costly. The question is, do you have enough of this coverage?

Many boaters assume the cost of raising or moving the boat to a safe location is included. That's not always the case. Some marine insurers, when processing your insurance policy claim and writing you a check, may subtract salvage costs from the insured value (hull value) of the boat, or put a very low limit on salvage coverage available. This could leave a boat owner potentially on the hook to pay for salvage expenses out of their own pocket, reduce the funds available to make repairs, and, in the case of a complete (total) loss, decrease the final claim amount paid to the owner.

Better policies, according to BoatUS, provide full salvage coverage that is separate but equal to the limit agreed to on the boat's hull value coverage, giving the boat owner a better value. This means if a boat has an agreed hull value of $30,000, there is a separate $30,000 limit available to pay salvage expenses. If extreme weather comes your way and something bad happens, you're ready for it.

For a free quote or to learn about the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program, go to BoatUS.com/Insurance.

Related Articles

Insurance guide from BoatUS
The most basic things new owners should know about buying a policy More first-time boat buyers are getting on the water this season than in summers past. Along with the boat, many new owners also find themselves shopping for boat insurance for the first time Posted on 6 Aug
East Coast Boaters need to prepare for Isaias
Free hurricane planning videos, guides from BoatUS Hurricane Isaias is forecast to run up the East Coast, likely bringing heavy rains, high winds and storm surge from South Florida to potentially as far north as New England through next week. Posted on 31 Jul
What can a boat's name tell you?
BoatUS issues annual Top 10 Boat Names list While a boat's name can be as varied as the owner at the helm, certain themes do stick out, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). Posted on 27 Jul
EPA isn't making it easier to choose right fuel
Only 22% of consumers know that regular 88 fuel has more engine-harming ethanol than 87 octane fuel With summer boating season in full swing, it's now common to see recreational boats being filled up at gas stations across the country. Posted on 15 Jul
TowBoatUS Beaufort, N.C., removes tons of debris
Partnership with N.C. Coastal Reserve, Town of Beaufort, N.C. The Town of Beaufort and the adjacent Rachel Carson Reserve knew they had a problem with abandoned vessels. For years, a pristine set of barrier islands had become an illegal dumping ground for old boats, tires and other debris. Posted on 7 Jul
Fourth of July holiday to be a busy one on water
TowBoatUS nationwide towing fleet expected to respond to 3500 requests for assistance At the nation's largest 24/7 on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters, TowBoatUS, it's all hands on deck. Posted on 2 Jul
Do you make these 3 boating safety mistakes?
A look at the data shows where you can improve safety aboard With the recent release of the U.S. Coast Guard's 2019 Recreational Boating Statistics, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water recommends avoiding these three common boating mistakes to increase safety for all aboard. Posted on 2 Jul
BoatUS says FCC's message to boaters: 'Tough Luck'
Controversial order threatens reliability of hundreds of millions of GPS units BoatUS, says an April 22 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to give mobile satellite services operator Ligado Networks, a private equity company, the green light to build and operate a land-based industrial 5G wireless network Posted on 26 Jun
Buying a boat?
Here's what they don't have to tell you Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has helped hundreds of thousands of boat owners make good boat-buying decisions. Posted on 24 Jun
A new boating safety concern this July 4
With COVID-19 it certainly won't be the same Celebrating America's birthday, thousands of boaters are expected to hit the water this Fourth of July holiday weekend, recreational boating's traditional busiest time of the year. Posted on 23 Jun
Marina Exchange FOOTER 1Maritimo 2019 Footer