Here in Florida, we have a lot of sunshine and a lot of water. Those elements
combine to make us a boater’s paradise, as demonstrated by the
over 870,000 boats registered here. Florida is also a haven for visitors who come by boat or bring their
boat along. Although Florida law has strict registration policies, boat
insurance is optional. Most boaters elect coverage, knowing there are
many risks that come along with owning and operating a boat. Additionally,
insurance may be required to dock in certain marinas or harbors, or if
a boat is used by a buyer as collateral.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of boats are not covered under
homeowners’ policies. There may be minimal coverage for small boats
valued at less than $10,000 that have no engine or a small engine. Similar
to homeowners’ insurance, boat insurance offers liability coverage
if someone is hurt on your vessel. Similar to auto insurance, boat insurance
offers coverage for bodily injury caused to others, property damage inflicted
on other objects, and damage done to the boat itself resulting from hitting
an object. Unlike with those more common policies, insurance companies
often allow boat policies to be suspended for periods when the boat is
not in use. There may also be navigational limits dictated in the policy,
optional endorsements that help pay to move the boat out of harm's
way when a named storm is on its way, and coverage for consequential damage.
common boat maintenance-related failures by
- Inspecting the sterndrive bellows every year and replacing them every 3
to 5 years.
- Checking the stuffing box frequently and repacking it every spring.
- Inspecting the engine raw-water hoses and replacing them at least every 10 years.
- Replacing the impeller every other year.
- Regularly inspecting cockpit plumbing, live-well plumbing, and all below
While no boat owner likes to think about it, boats sink – a lot.
In fact, sinking is the No. 1 cause of major marine losses and one of
the factors in driving up insurance costs. Insurers define a sinking boat
as one that must be actively pumped out to remain afloat and undamaged.
Surveys have shown that leaks at through-hulls are estimated to be the cause in 18 percent of
sinkings while under way. Failures of fittings below the waterline account
for half of all sinkings at dock.
The most common parts that result in issues include hoses/hose clamps, stuffing boxes, outdrive
bellows, and sea strainers. Losses that start with a failed part are covered
by consequential damage protection, making it a crucial part of any boat
Bilge pumps should not be relied on to handle nuisance water in the long
term. If there is a gradual leak due to failing parts, it should be addressed
in a matter of a few days or weeks. Otherwise, it’s just a matter
of time until the pump fails, loses power, or is overwhelmed by the water.
Other reasons for sinking include improper docking, hitting something, failing to secure an otherwise
working fitting, and being swamped. Negotiating with an insurance company
after loss of your boat can be complicated. Talk with an attorney who
can shoulder the burden of the claim while ensuring that you are fairly
We Can Help
Insurance policies are legally binding contracts that lay out obligations
for each party. Policyholders who pay their premiums expect their insurance
companies to compensate them fairly in the event of a claim – and
rightly so. Unfortunately, insurance agencies are businesses; and to stay
in the black, they want to pay the claim for as little as they possibly can.
Here at Stabinski and Funt, P.A., we handle a wide range of insurance cases and we are prepared to fight
for you against insurance companies that have wrongfully denied or delayed
claims, or failed to adequately cover the damage. We are highly experienced
in handling boat loss claims and, in many cases, we can do so without
cost to you. Fees and expenses are frequently paid by the insurance company,
so nothing comes out of your recovery. If you wish to learn more about
how our firm can be of assistance to you, we encourage you to contact
us for a free consultation by calling 305-964-8644 or
filling out a free case evaluation form.