Hurricane Boat Insurance
If you own a boat and live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, you may be wondering if your boat insurance covers the wind and water damage caused by these powerful storms. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear which types of losses are covered under a given plan — and insurance companies may use this confusion to their advantage.
Keep reading to learn more about how boat insurance can work for you after a storm, and what you should do if an insurance company fails to hold up their end of the bargain.
Does Boat Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?
Many boat insurance policies do include coverage for wind and flood damage, the two main components of hurricane damage. That said, in areas that are at a higher risk of hurricanes, insurance policies are less likely to offer reimbursement for these losses. Why? Because insurance companies want to make money, and paying for everyone’s hurricane damage in a hurricane-prone area is not a great way to do it.
If your area is vulnerable to tropical storms, it’s absolutely essential that you check your policy to see what it does and does not cover. Speak with an agent if necessary. If wind and flood damage aren’t part of your policy, you most likely can purchase a rider that covers them.
Some insurance companies also offer an option to reimburse you for some of the cost of towing your boat away from an area before it’s hit by a storm. These policies may also compensate you for some of the cost of strapping your boat down, or relaunching it after the storm.
Make sure you have a policy that safeguards your boat in the event of a catastrophe, and always have a plan in place for what you’re going to do if/when a hurricane strikes.
How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?
The cost of boat insurance varies depending on where you live, as well as the size and value of your boat. For example, insuring a yacht will cost a lot more than insuring a small fishing boat.
The annual cost can range from under $200 to over $1,000 per year. For at least one insurance company, Florida had the highest average annual rate in 2017, at $495, while Wisconsin had the lowest, at $188.
Do Any States Require Boat Insurance?
Yes. In Arkansas, Hawaii, and Utah, you must purchase boat insurance if you own a boat.
When Should I Buy Boat Insurance?
For most boat insurance policies, to be reimbursed for damage that occurred during a hurricane, you must have purchased the policy at least 30 days prior to the storm. This is to prevent last-minute buys that occur after a storm is already on its way.
If you think there is a sizable risk of your boat being totaled by a tropical storm, it’s probably worth buying comprehensive boat insurance early on. As long as the damage is caused by a hurricane, and you purchased the insurance well in advance of a storm warning being issued, the losses should be covered (after you hit your deductible).
As with most insurance policies, though, getting reimbursed can be trickier than you’d hope.
What Should I Do if My Insurance Company Won’t Pay?
If an insurance company has denied, delayed, or underpaid your hurricane damage claim, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Having a hurricane claim lawyer in your corner can mean the difference between financial ruin and a speedy recovery. Even if the insurance company said “No,” you may still be able to recover the money you need to fix your boat and get back out on the water.
Morgan & Morgan has attorneys nationwide with the experience, reputation, and resources necessary to take on Big Insurance. Over the past 30 years, we’ve recovered more than $9 billion and become America’s largest personal injury law firm. Best of all, it costs nothing up front to hire us, and we get paid only if you win.
To see if we can help you, fill out a case review form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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