Part 3: Filing a Claim
by Ken Levitt
If your boat has a mishap, your first responsibility is to protect human life. After that, you are required to take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your boat and surrounding property. This includes minimizing the leakage of fuel into the surrounding environment. Rather than guess at the best course of action, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Tell them the situation and ask them what to do next. Most insurance companies have dedicated claim phone lines, many available 24/7. Make sure you carry this number with you on your boat. If you can not reach them right away, do what seems best in the meantime, but remember that the personal health and safety of you and your crew outweighs any possible loss or damage to property.
Another reason for contacting your carrier quickly is to lessen the time it takes to get your boat back on the water. Depending on the severity of the damage, the claim process may involve adjusters, marine surveyors, and repair people. The sooner you can start scheduling appointments, the sooner you'll be sailing again.