Sometimes, Insurance companies make mistakes when denying or underpaying boat insurance claims.1 Since I practice insurance law and own more boats than a family of four can be on at the same time, I often get calls from frustrated friends and acquaintances complaining about the bad adjustment of their boat claim.

Boat claims are different. The nomenclature and law differ from other areas of property insurance law. Generally, coverage for a boat is considered marine insurance. Marine insurance contracts are governed by federal maritime law.2 In the absence of an established maritime rule, courts apply state law to interpret disagreements under maritime insurance policies. Most of you just want to get paid your claim to get your boat repaired and do not care about these maritime rules.

Maritime insurance policies are interpreted to a throwback of days when English common law applied rules. Thus, old English maritime common law insurance law rules may apply when disputes occur. I often explain this to owners of yachts and smaller boats when they are not being paid what they think is fair. For some reason, insurance company adjusters often think attorneys will not understand maritime law and challenge these wrongful denials and underpayment. The law is not that different from federal or state maritime law that unfair results should occur.

Do not accept denials of boat claims without getting second opinions. Merlin Law Group attorneys can provide maritime insurance law interpretation and help you obtain what you are owed.

Thought For The Day

There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.
—Lord Byron
1 For my more affluent friends with larger boats, you can substitute the word “yacht” for “boat.”
2 Geico Marine Ins. Co. v. Shackleford, 945 F.3d 1135, 1139 (11th Cir. 2019).