Boat Damage and Marine Insurance Claim Attorneys Serving Louisiana and Texas
Our maritime and insurance attorneys are dedicated to recovering just compensation for insureds following Hurricane Laura.
On August 27, 2020, Category 4 Hurricane Laura struck Louisiana and Texas with a reported 20-foot storm surge. While the damage to local home and business owners was extensive, commercial vessels and recreational boats were largely destroyed. The hurricane boat damage attorneys at Johns Law Group fight so that vessel owners can recover the compensation boat owners deserve.
IS BOAT OR VESSEL INSURANCE REQUIRED?
Neither Louisiana nor Texas require boat owners to maintain insurance. If the boat was purchased through financing, the lender will likely require insurance to cover damage. In addition, most marinas require proof of insurance to allow a boat or vessel to dock at the marina.
TYPES OF COVERAGE
The most common types of coverages included in marine policies include:
- Comprehensive coverage
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Collision damage
Some policies include additional or supplemental coverages such as coverage for medical expenses, oil spills, pollution, and equipment. Similar to auto policies, a marine insurance policy may include additional coverage for damages caused by
OVERVIEW OF THE CLAIMS PROCESS
Hurricanes cause significant damage to boats and commercial vessels. In 2018, nearly 70,000 boats sustained damage due to hurricanes. As we have seen with Hurricane Laura, large commercial vessels broke from their moorings to cause significant damage to property. Numerous recreational vessels were also battered and badly damaged.
- Make a Claim
Following a hurricane, you should take pictures of your damaged boat and initiate a claim with your insurance company. Once you make a claim, the insurance company should schedule a time to inspect your boat. When making your claim provide as much detailed information as possible about your damage. Provide the insurance company with the pictures that you took and schedule an inspection as soon as possible.
- Limit Your Damages
Virtually all insurance policies contain a provision stating that you must mitigate your damages. In cases of boat damage this can sometimes be difficult especially where the boat is badly damaged and difficult to move. If the boat sinks, inform your insurance company as soon as possible and arrange for the boat to be salvaged. You may need to take protective measures to ensure that the engine can be spared. In many cases, simply placing a tarp over the boat is sufficient to mitigate additional damage to the boat.
- Estimate Your Damage
Marine insurance claims are very different from other types of property claims in that the cost of repair is not as uniform across the board. Many boats have complex features and instrumentation that are difficult to fully evaluate. Insurance adjusters bombarded with claims following a catastrophic event may not have the knowledge or expertise to comprehensively estimate your damage. This is why we recommend that you have your boat inspected by an independent professional who can provide a comprehensive estimate. You may even want to invite the insurance adjuster to the inspection so they can have a better idea of what is wrong with the property. Once you receive the estimate, present it to the insurance adjuster and request that payment be made.
WHEN TO GET HELP
An insurance company owes its insureds a duty of good faith and fair dealing. This means they need to actively attempt to resolve the insurance claim promptly and not unjustifiably delay the adjustment process. If your insurance claim has been delayed, denied or underpaid, you may want to consider consulting with an attorney about your legal options. In some cases, you may be entitled to recover attorney’s fees and penalties due to the mishandling of your claim.
The attorneys at Johns Law Group have handled numerous hurricane insurance and maritime claims. Several of our attorneys have advanced degrees and training in the field of maritime law. Call us at (866) 309-3499 if you would like to schedule a free consultation with a marine insurance attorney.