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Preparing for boat ownership

For many, boat ownership is a truly enriching aspect of Bermuda life. No matter how careful you are, events beyond your control can damage your boat. In this article though, we outline a few of the things you can do to minimize your claims from season to season.

Why marine insurance is important
Marine insurance covers your boat in case of collision, fire, theft, sinking at the mooring, weather, and liability. On average, a boat claim costs approximately $12,000. That’s not money most just have on-hand for boat repairs. In 2014, Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo caused the average boat claim costs to double. Without insurance, you are faced with paying for damage on your own, and costs can be extensive. Insurance provides you with the funds to make the necessary repairs, or buy a replacement should the boat be destroyed.

Advice once you have insurance
Before purchasing a policy, make sure you review it closely so that you know what is covered and what is not. For example, with a BF&M policy there are certain mooring areas where weather damage is excluded. Many policies also impose requirements if a watch or warning is posted for a named storm. As well, the mooring for your boat needs to be inspected every year and if you have to make a claim, you must bring evidence of a recent inspection. And don’t forget check your sum insured regularly to make sure that your coverage is correct (so that everything is covered).

The best advice of all is to take care your boat in the same way that you would if you didn’t have insurance. That includes:
- Checking it at least once per week
- Running the engine(s) and allowing batteries to recharge
- Checking bilge pumps and clearing drains
- Securing your boat with extra mooring lines and storing loose gear when severe weather is on the way
- Removing the boat from the water often if it is practical or appropriate

What to do if your boat gets damaged
If your boat gets damaged it’s your responsibility to minimize the extent of that damage. First, call your insurance company as soon as possible. If your boat sinks, make sure a mechanic is able to work on the engine as soon as the boat is hauled up. This will reduce the costs significantly. As well, it is your responsibility to have the boat salvaged if it's required.

BF&M has knowledgeable staff with years of experience in boating. Whether your boat is always on the water, or spends most of the time on land, give us a call at 295-5566 and we will write a policy that is suited to your needs. We’re always ready to help.

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