Insurance Claims for Damage to Boats and Watercraft

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
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Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

Many Florida boat owners enjoy the luxury of a runabout, cabin cruiser, yacht, fishing boat, pontoon boat or sail boats which permits maximum enjoyment of the vast waterways of Florida.  However, any type of boat is a substantial investment that can cost from tens of thousands to millions of dollars, so insurance coverage is important to protect against theft or other perils that can cause damage to your boat.  Because of the prevalence of watercrafts of all types in the Miami area, we have one of the highest rates of boat theft in the U.S.

There are many motivations for boat theft in Florida.  In some cases, boat theft is related to drug trafficking or human trafficking because of easy access to open waters.  Alternatively, boats often are stolen, so expensive equipment can be sold off, such as motors, engines, navigation systems and other equipment that will fetch a substantial price when sold elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas.

Whether your boat is damaged by a rock, log or vandals, boat insurance companies frequently deny claims based on tenuous or trumped up claims of insurance fraud.  One recent example involved allegations against Nicolas Estrella, who is ironically a local insurance mogul.  He is accused of conspiring with the former captain of his 80-foot yacht in trying to defraud his insurer.  The yacht was allegedly stolen by the former employee of Estrella and sunk off the coast of the Bahamas.  Estrella’s insurer denied his $3 million insurance claim based on the premise that Estrella collaborated with his former captain to defraud the insurer that provided coverage for the yacht.

When you own a watercraft which is stolen or damaged, the financial investment is substantial enough that it is critical that you are fully compensated for any lsuch loss by your insurance company.  As you add high end equipment to your boat, it becomes an even more significant target for vandals and thieves.  In addition, there are many other perils that can cause damage to your boat.  We have provided a list of some of the most common forms of damage and perils that form the basis of boat insurance claims:

  • Theft while a boat is moored or anchored
  • Collision with submerged objects that cause hull damage
  • Theft while a boat is in storage or dry dock.
  • Storm damage while moored
  • Boating accidents involving multiple vessels
  • Boats sinking while moored
  • Flooding of boat while moored

Of these hazards, damage caused by submerged objects is the most common reason for filing boat insurance claims because of the high number of objects floating in the water.  Further, these objects can be difficult to identify until they have already struck the hull or engine of the boat.

You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].

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