Severe storms can cause major damage to boats in New Jersey. It’s not unusual for violent thunderstorms with 70 mph winds to tear through the Jersey Shore, toppling trees onto boats, ripping canvas covers, and tearing vessels from their moorings, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
If this happened to your boat, would you have the insurance coverage needed to repair or replace it? Boat insurance in NJ can provide essential financial protection when unpredictable severe weather strikes.
Severe Weather Risks to Boats in New Jersey
New Jersey’s coastal location makes boats vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms traveling up the Atlantic coast. While marinas may require boats to be secured, storm surges can still lift boats from the water, tossing them onto land or repeatedly slamming them against docks.
Rigging, motors, hulls, and rudders can be damaged. Boats left on trailers may be blown over as well. Inland, sudden thunderstorms and lightning strikes also endanger boats on New Jersey’s lakes and rivers.
Bolts of lightning can destroy electrical systems and start fires by igniting fuel vapors. Blasts of wind can snap mooring lines and bend or break masts, while hail can shatter glass windshields.
Boat owners who fail to properly winterize their boats may return in spring to find cracked blocks or burst plumbing from freezing temperatures.
Melting snow and torrential rains leave boats vulnerable to flooding, too. Marinas and yards can be inundated, floating boats into each other and onto land. Fast-moving debris in floodwaters can puncture hulls. Engines submerged under water often overheat, seize up, and are ruined.
Boat Insurance in NJ – Coverages That Can Help
So, how can boat insurance in New Jersey protect you in the event of severe weather? There are several types of coverage that can offset repair bills, replacement costs, and other losses.
Liability coverage will pay for damage your boat causes to other boats or property during a storm.
For example, if your boat breaks free and crashes into a dock or neighboring boats, liability insurance covers the cost of repairs. It also covers any injuries passengers may suffer on your boat as well as people on other vessels. This provides essential financial protection if you are sued.
Collision coverage will pay to have damage to your own boat fixed after an accident, regardless of fault. So, if your boat slams into the dock after its mooring line snaps in a storm, collision coverage will pay for repairs such as patching holes, fixing the rudder, or replacing the drive unit.
Comprehensive coverage is critical for weather-related damage. It will cover repairs if your boat is swamped, struck by lightning, damaged by hail, or otherwise harmed by the elements themselves. Comprehensive insurance also covers theft, vandalism, and explosions.
Emergency service/towing coverage pays for a tow boat to come to rescue you if your boat breaks down or is disabled by a storm. This keeps you from getting stranded at sea and protects your boat from further damage.
The Claims Process After a Storm
If your boat suffers severe weather damage, act quickly to document it and file a claim. Take photos and videos showing the boat’s condition from all angles before moving or repairing it, and make sure to inventory all damaged parts and equipment.
Call your insurance company promptly to start the claim process, and make sure to provide all the relevant information, including how, when, and where your boat was damaged. You also want to work closely with the claims adjuster assigned to your case to evaluate the damage and be prepared to show them the boat in person upon request.
Obtain repair estimates from reputable marine contractors. Your adjuster will review the estimates to determine fair costs for parts, materials, and labor. This may require some negotiation to reach an agreed repair amount. Once approved, your insurance company will issue payment minus your deductible.
If your boat is declared a total loss, the claims adjuster will determine the actual cash value at the time of loss, which is generally the depreciated market value. Your insurer will issue a payment up to your boat’s insured amount.
Tips for Navigating the Claims Process
To avoid disputes and delays, be reasonable but persistent with the claims adjuster. Ask questions and keep notes of all conversations. Document the exchange of any paperwork. Having a paper trail protects you if problems arise.
If you feel the insurer is unreasonably delaying your claim or failing to cover all legitimate damages, consider hiring a public adjuster to advocate for you. Their expertise can be helpful for complex claims.
Be aware of your policy limits, including amounts for the boat itself, contents/equipment, liability coverage, and deductibles. Also, make sure that you know what your policy covers and doesn’t cover. Getting less than you deserve can be avoided with an in-depth understanding of your boat insurance coverage.
Get the Best Boat Insurance in NJ with Assistance from JMG Insurance Agency
Boat insurance in New Jersey provides valuable protection that can mean the difference between recovering fully from a severe weather loss or paying thousands out of pocket for repairs or replacement costs.
Taking time to understand the claims process and properly documenting losses helps ensure you receive fair compensation. While navigating insurance after a catastrophe can be stressful, staying organized and collaborating with your adjuster facilitates smooth repairs or replacement.
JMG Insurance Agency has extensive expertise in boat insurance in NJ. Contact us today at 1-844-304-7332 or online so our expert agents can help you get the proper coverage to ensure your prized vessel is protected no matter what severe weather blows through the Garden State.