How to File a Yacht Insurance Claim in Florida

Owning a yacht in the tropical state of Florida is a privilege but that doesn’t mean it comes with no challenges. Unforeseen events can occur that lead to the need to work with your insurance company to file a claim. In this detailed guide, we’ll explain what you need to know about filing yacht insurance claims in Florida, including the unique considerations specific to the state.

One of the best things you can do when you need to file a yacht insurance claim is to bring an expert in to help. Certified public adjusters are professionals with a great deal of experience in this facet of boat ownership. We’ll explain how they can help you move through the claims process quickly and effectively to ensure a smooth journey toward financial recovery.

What to Know About Yacht Insurance Coverage

Yacht insurance is a must for anyone who wants to experience a series of maritime adventures. Before we get into the claims process itself, you need to have a full understanding of the different components of your insurance coverage. Below, we’ll share some of the basics you should know.

  • Hull Insurance – Hull insurance is in place to cover any damages to the hull and machinery of your yacht. This includes navigation equipment, the engine, and other essential vessel parts. It’s a mandatory part of yacht insurance since it protects you from various perils including storms, collisions, and many more.
  • Liability Coverage – Liability coverage is designed to protect you as a yacht owner from any third-party injuries or property damage caused by your boat. This is an important type of coverage for financial responsibility and legal protection if your vessel causes an accident.
  • Personal Property and Belongings – Some forms of yacht insurance also cover your property located on the boat, such as electronics, furnishings, and other items. Make sure you are aware of the limits of this coverage, especially if you plan to keep valuable items on your yacht. 
  • Navigation Area – Some insurance policies will only be available within certain locations. You need to have a full understanding of these limits, especially if you want to go beyond typical cruising areas. You may need to purchase additional coverage if you plan to head out deeper into the sea.

How to Start a Yacht Insurance Claim

If an unexpected situation comes up, you need to have the details at hand to start the claims process quickly. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to meet all deadlines and receive compensation. Below, we’ll share the steps you should follow to file a yacht insurance claim in Florida.

  1. Ensure Safety – While there are many steps involved in this process, the first and most important is to ensure the safety of everyone on the yacht. If there are injuries, take care of those first. Medical assistance should also be engaged as needed. The vessel should be secured to avoid additional damage before requiring emergency measures.
  2. Document the Incident – Take videos and photographs of the situation to collect evidence of damages. Record any pertinent details about the incident, such as time, date, and unique circumstances. Documenting now will give you important evidence for the later stages of the claim process.
  3. Promptly Notify Your Insurance – As soon as possible, report what happened to your insurance provider. Notifying them promptly is mandatory to speed up the claims process. This can be a serious consideration as you want to comply with any requirements of your policy.
  4. Gather Information – When you contact the insurance provider, make sure you have everything they might need. This includes your boat details, policy number, and details about the incident. At this time, you may be asked to share any documentation you have already collected.
  5. Attend Adjuster Visit – In many cases, the insurance company will send out a claims adjuster. They are there to assess any damages to the yacht. Make sure you cooperate throughout the process. If the adjuster needs extra documentation or information, go ahead and provide that to them.
  6. Document Any Damage – Work with the claims adjuster closely to ensure the damages are comprehensively assessed. You can point out areas of concern and give this person extra evidence that may support your claim.

The Role of Certified Public Adjusters in Yacht Insurance Claims

Certified public adjusters (CPAs) play a huge role in the yacht insurance claims process. These individuals are experts who advocate for people like you to ensure you get an equitable and fair settlement. Their unique expertise can be essential in situations where maritime insurance is involved.

Expert Assessments

Certified public adjusters will do their own assessment of yacht damages. They will put their expertise to work to uncover any additional damage and give a valuation on your case. Their knowledge of maritime insurance details ensures that all needed factors are considered in the claim.

Advocacy and Negotiation

In addition, CPAs can engage with insurance companies for you and act as advocates. They have excellent negotiation skills that are honed toward getting you an optimal and fair settlement that covers all of your damages.

CPAs also work throughout the entire claims process so there is always someone at your side. Whether you’re negotiating with the insurance company or filing initial paperwork, you’ll have assistance at your side. This leaves you with fewer tedious tasks to take on so you can focus on yacht recovery and restoration.

Documentation Expertise

Certified public adjusters are very careful about their approach to documentation. This ensures that every aspect of the boat’s damage is captured and used in the claim. An impeccable eye for detail helps strengthen your claim and supports getting the outcome you hope for.

Considerations for Florida Yacht Owners

Florida’s dynamic weather patterns and coastal geography create unique challenges for yacht owners. This means you need to consider extra details if you are going to turn in an insurance claim. A few of the unique factors to be aware of include: 

  • Secure Dockage – Every yacht owner should have a hurricane preparedness plan in place. This means ensuring your vessel is in a protected and safe area long before a storm is expected. Different insurance policies have unique requirements related to preparing for hurricanes.
  • Hurricane Deductibles – Many yacht insurance policies have a separate deductible for damages related to hurricanes. You should be aware of all your deductibles and factor those into your overall hurricane preparedness strategy. 
  • Geographic Boundaries – As mentioned, some policies limit where you can navigate your boat. If you want to head out beyond those boundaries, review and adjust your insurance coverage as needed. 
  • Routine Maintenance – Regular inspections and maintenance are important for any Florida yacht owner. Adhering to industry best practices and manufacturer recommendations will ensure your yacht is seaworthy while also strengthening your position if you need to make an insurance claim.

Tips for Yacht Owners Filing Florida Insurance Claims

It takes a good deal of attention to detail and diligence to navigate the world of yacht insurance claims. Not everyone has the time or desire to do that. However, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you have the best possible claims experience. 

Keep Good Records

Make sure you have records of upgrades, repairs, and routine maintenance. By documenting these things, you show that you are a responsible boat owner, which can be a plus in the claims process.

You can also choose to conduct pre-loss surveys, which document the condition of the yacht before incidents. Proactively doing this can offer a baseline that makes it easier to assess damages and determine the value of your boat.

Communicate WIth the Claims Adjuster

Having open and transparent conversations with the claims adjuster can go a long way. Provide anything they need quickly and make sure you address any concerns or questions they raise in the process. However, you also want to advocate for yourself and make certain the adjuster is aware of all relevant considerations. A proactive approach can lead to a more favorable resolution.

Understand Policy Exclusions

It’s essential as a yacht owner to understand the limitations and exclusions of your insurance policy. This includes maintenance requirements, navigational boundaries, and specified perils. Look for any potential gaps in coverage so you can decide how to move forward safely and professionally.

Seek Legal Advice as Needed

If you are in a dispute with the insurance company or dealing with a complex case, it’s best to seek legal advice. A professional can interpret your policy and navigate the legal proceedings in the future. Choosing legal counsel with experience in yacht insurance can give you insights you won’t find elsewhere.

Work With On Target Claims for Your Yacht Insurance Claims

Yachts can experience damage or loss in many ways, such as vandalism, theft, collisions, fire, lightning, rough seas, wind, and more. Sometimes the entire yacht is lost, while in others, it might be damaged. Determining the extent of damage can be challenging and should not be navigated on your own. Instead, you should work with an experienced public adjuster before submitting your yacht insurance claim.

At On Target Claims, we have extensive experience representing clients in Florida and beyond in yacht insurance claims. We work on a contingency so you do not have to pay us unless we get you a settlement. In addition, we understand that disasters can happen at any time and are available around the clock every day of the year. Contact us today to talk to an adjuster and determine your options.

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