Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Top Ten Boat Insurance Claims

I take care of my boat. What's the worst thing that can happen? What can possibly go wrong? 

Photo by Liz Roll/FEMA, Nov 2012. Location: Atlantic Highlands, NJ

We're not selling boat insurance here, but when you read this list, you'll probably have an urge to get on the phone with your agent and make sure your boat is covered. BoatU.S., which does sell boat insurance, analyzed five years of claims from 2008 through 2012, and ranked loss categories by the total dollar value of claims paid out over that time period.

Following are the top ten costliest claims from the analysis, along with a brief tip or two for each to keep your boat safe from these extreme events. 

The Top Ten Costliest Ways Boats Come To Grief

1.  Hurricane: A well thought out hurricane plan can keep your boat safe in all but the most extreme storms

2.  Sinking: Check, squeeze, and tug all fittings below the waterline at least once a season to make sure your boat stays afloat.

3.  Weather/wind: Keeping your boat in a well-protected location away from trees is the best way to protect it from non-hurricane weather damage.

4.  Striking a submerged object: If you hear a loud clunk from down under, stop and look in the bilge, and, if you find any water coming in, haul out the boat to check for structural damage as soon as possible.

5.  Fire/explosion: Faulty wiring causes most fires; most explosions result from fueling issues.

6.  Collision: Most collisions result from some combination of three factors: inattention, blind spots, and too much speed.

7.  Grounding: Accurate charts - whether paper, electronic, or on a mobile device - and a depth sounder are your best defense against grounding.

8.  Injury: Many injury claims involve inexperienced guests.  Be sure to warn your non-boating friends about wakes, waves, slippery surfaces, and other hazards.

9.  Theft: 90% of boat thefts occur with boats that are on their trailers. Make it as difficult as possible to simply hitch up and run.

10.  Lightning: Make sure to haul out your boat after a lightning strike to check for "exit wounds" that can compromise the hull's integrity.While the number of claims for lightning were small, the extent of the damage was typically large.

As you might have guessed, BoatU.S. has much more background behind this top ten list, and further tips to avoid getting yourself in a position to have to file a claim like any of these. The full story is available here: www.BoatUS.com/toptenclaims

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