Lightning is the only real claim that you cannot prepare for. A lightning strike usually affects the navigational electronics, motors, entertainment electronics, etc. Be prepared to test all electrical equipment as often as possible for a month or so to determine which components were affected. If only the navigational electronics were damaged under some policies you may only have a small or no deductible, however, if the strike affected other things then your hull deductible will apply. Whenever an event involves two deductibles, the claim will usually refer to the larger of the two.

Tornado/Water Spout

Tornado or water spouts are also impossible to prepare for, that’s why boats need to be tied-up properly when any storms may be around. These are not too common on the coasts or in the Islands, but ... you never know.


For a hurricane you have time to move the vessel and prepare. Lack of preparation, flying debris and other unprepared vessels cause most claims. When there is a storm warning, take down your Ison glass, outriggers and tape up your hatches and electronic covers.  Most companies warrant a 2% to a 15% named windstorm deductible.


Turbo fires, poor and old wiring and overloaded circuits are the cause of these problems.

Engine Failure

Some engine failures are covered and some are not: it depends on the policy and reason for failure.

Underwater Collision

Hitting something while running is one of the most widespread problems we encounter. The most common things hit are coral heads, sand bars, logs, etc. - but these types of claims are usually reported as hitting a “mysterious submerged object.” Don’t forgot that these days you are responsible for the coral or sea grass damage too.

Surface Collision

There’s not much to do but; does the other boat have insurance? If not, you might have to make a claim against your own policy. Always get a police report. This document is usually written by a reliable source and shows which party was at fault.

Crew Injury

“What do you mean we don’t have coverage for a paid crew? We only hired him to fish one day and to wash the boat.” If you have hired a crew, even for one day, make sure you have the proper crew coverage. You can never have enough P&I insurance when it comes down to a liability claim. Most agents will (should) recommend that your P&I limit be equal to or greater than your hull value. This includes even if you have an umbrella policy. Umbrella policies almost always exclude any Workers Comp or Jones Act exposure and this would apply to a paid Captain or crew.

Guest Injury

Slips and falls can happen very easily on a vessel. These claims are usually covered under Medical Payments. If that limit is exhausted then any excess would be paid for by the P&I (liability) coverage in the policy.