NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
BoatU.S. List of Top Insurance Claims
While you may never expect to file an insurance claim on your boat, knowing why and how damages occur can help you reduce your chances. The January 2006 issue of Seaworthy, the damage avoidance newsletter from BoatU.S. Marine Insurance, reviewed five years of its own claim files to find the most common causes for insurance claims. Both the individual number of claims, as well as insurance claim dollar amounts, were factored in to compile the list.
#9: Theft of equipment: Make time-consuming “work” for a thief, and they will likely go elsewhere. The theft of outdrives can be prevented by adding hefty locking nuts; the same goes for outboards and trailers. If they can be removed, expensive electronics should be stored under lock and key – and at home in winter. Well-lighted storage or marina facilities with security measures are the best deterrence.
#8: Theft of boat: When thieves steal boats, they often strip everything of value leaving only a shell. Ninety percent of the boats stolen were on trailers, so removing tires, installing a coupler lock and parking in a well lit, secure area can help.
#7: Lightning: Since there isn’t anything you can do to prevent a lightning strike, the best measure to mitigate damage is to ensure your boat has a proper bonding system that will direct the strike to ground.
#6: Grounding: What you do after you’ve hit bottom – such as attempting to power through – often causes more damage than the initial impact. It’s best to stop, carefully evaluate the situation, wait for the tide or call for help if you need a gentle pull. Also, knowing the exact depth beneath your depthsounder’s transducer and its exact position relative to the bottom or your boat or running gear is very important.
#5: Collisions: Collisions with docks or pilings are common but collisions with other boats are more serious. Inattention, blind spots and too much speed most often are the culprit. Out on the water, misunderstandings of the rules of the road are most often cited, but know that it takes two skippers to be in one bad spot at the same time.
#4: Wind and weather: Sloppy weather happens everywhere. Minimizing windage, tying up securely, guarding against chafe and staying protected help reduce storm damage.
#3: Fire and explosion: The number one reason for boat fires is DC wiring faults, with the most common fault being chafed wires, usually as the result of poor support or insecure attachment. AC shorepower cord inlets are another prime area as wear and corrosion cause resistance, which creates a lot of heat. Corroded, overheated exhaust manifolds and fuel leaks bring up the bottom of the list.
#2: Sinking: Lesser fittings like hoses and clamps only last a few years and often fail long before the beefy seacock they are attached to. Outdrive bellows over five years old are on borrowed time and rainwater improperly drained into the bilge by clogged scuppers kills your battery and bilge pump.
#1: Striking submerged objects: Nationwide, striking a submerged object is the most common incident that leads to filing a claim. The amount of floating debris increases after major storms or extreme tides so be extra vigilant after these events. Unfortunately, striking an object sometimes leads to a sunken boat claim; check the bilge immediately after a strike and frequently thereafter.
If you live in a hurricane prone state, hurricane damage also ranks high when you factor the dollar amount of each individual claim – hurricanes cause significant salvage and repair bills. Before the 2006 season starts, have a hurricane plan in place that spells out every precaution. You can go to http://www.BoatUS.com/hurricanes to get started with a free hurricane preparation worksheet.
You can get your own copy of the quarterly Seaworthy by becoming a BoatU.S. Marine Insurance customer. For a free insurance quote go to http://www.BoatUS.com/insurance or call 800-283-2883. BoatU.S. – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 640,000 members with a wide array of consumer services.