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January 15, 2023
Jason McLaurin

How to File a Boat Insurance Claim in Texas. An Experienced Maritime and Marine Insurance Claims Attorney Explains

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If you are involved with boats or shipping over the water in or near Houston as an individual or business, you must prepare to make the proper boat insurance claim. Knowing the types of claims you may need to make will inform you regarding the insurance coverage you should carry.

Injuries, deaths, and loss or damage to a boat or cargo are common due to inherent risks on the water, but there are often steps you can take to protect your interests both before and after an unfortunate incident. Read below to learn how to make a maritime or marine insurance policy claim, and schedule a consultation with our experienced Houston insurance claim attorneys at (713) 461-6500 today.

Boat Insurance Claims May Involve Weather Incidents, Theft, Injuries, Damage to Goods, Lightning, Fire, Explosions, or Striking Submerged Objects, But Not All Policies Are Equal

While boat insurance claims can be made for many incidents, boat insurance policies vary, so it’s vital to understand your policy, which will usually specify the time limit to file a claim.

The three common types of maritime and marine insurance policies for individuals or businesses are hull insurance, cargo insurance, and protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance:

  • Hull Insurance – Covers many types of physical losses or damage to a vessel, either on an “all-risk” or “named perils” basis.
  • Cargo Insurance – Covers many physical losses or damage to goods while cargo is in transit, either for a single shipment of goods or multiple shipments during a specified period.
  • Protection and Indemnity Insurance (P&I) – Covers the vessel owner’s liability due to ownership of the insured vessel and for bodily injury, death, or damages to building structures.

You will need to check for exclusions in a given policy’s terms. Common exclusions include ordinary leakage, contamination from radioactive rays, insufficient/improper/unsuitable packing, riots, war, delay, insolvency of owners, inherent vice, civil commotion, and willful misconduct. Discuss policies with a Houston maritime attorney to ensure you carry the right coverage for your needs.

Take Steps to Reduce the Damage or Loss from a Marine Accident or Incident

While you will soon be noting all the damage or losses, you should first identify any possible steps limiting the amount of damage to the vessel, cargo, people, or surroundings. Always act with a “safety first” approach. Coordinate with the appropriate people as necessary to take any such reasonable actions.

Report the Incident to the Insurance Company As Soon As You Can

Your next step is to report the incident to the insurance company. Your policy may specify how quickly you must report the incident. Generally, you will need to report the incident as soon as possible.

This will not only give them a heads-up regarding the problem, but it will help to show that you did not delay in reporting or addressing the incident. You’re not filing a claim yet; you’re just letting them know the incident happened. You should also contact your boat insurance claims attorney to coordinate your upcoming claim.

Gather Documentation Regarding Your Marine or Maritime Accident or Incident

Consult your attorney in preparation for making a claim on your insurance policy. Gather the following documents and supporting evidence as they apply to your unique claim while retaining and safeguarding copies for later reference:

  • Your Marine Insurance Policy
  • Paperwork pertaining to the vessel and the claim:
    • Bill of Lading
    • Original Invoice
    • Declaration of Consignment
    • Packing List
    • Certificate of Survey
    • The Copy of Protest
    • Letter of Subrogation
  • Photographs of damage to the vessel, equipment, and cargo
  • Photographs of incomplete cargo, as applicable
  • Correspondence with the carriers
  • Shortage or Damage Certificate issued by the carriers
  • Other communications about the incident or related losses
  • Additional photographs, documentation, or other evidence deemed relevant

Arrange For a Comprehensive Joint Port or Ship Survey, As Applicable

If the damage occurs when your shipment is on a ship or when the vessel is at a port, you should arrange for a comprehensive joint port or ship survey. Discuss the specific needs for your claim with an experienced Houston maritime attorney.

File Your Insurance Claim Within The Specified Time Limit In Your Policy

Remain mindful of the time limit to file a claim on your policy. Work with an experienced boat insurance claims attorney to meet applicable deadlines and complete steps for your claim. If you need to appeal or litigate, your attorney can also help you to complete the appropriate steps in a timely manner.

What To Expect From Investigators and Insurance Adjusters When You File a Boat Insurance Claim

Understand that the investigators and insurance adjusters will seek to protect the insurance company's bottom line. They look for ways to limit or deny claims like yours every day. Our founder previously worked on the side of the insurance companies and learned how they operate before starting McLaurin Law to protect the interests of policyholders. We sue insurance companies that deny valid claims.

Work with an Experienced Houston Maritime Attorney to Pursue Your Marine or Maritime Insurance Claim

Are you preparing to file a claim? Has your insurance company denied your claim? If you want to appeal or litigate, our Houston insurance claim attorneys at McLaurin Law can assist you by leveraging insider knowledge of the insurance companies’ strategies and tactics.

Don’t search for an attorney for “boat insurance near me” in Houston because our team at McLaurin Law is ready to guide you and protect your interests—not the interests of the insurance companies. Call our experienced boat insurance claim legal team today at (713) 461-6500 to schedule a strategy session with our firm in Houston, TX.

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© Copyrights 2023. McLaurin Law PLLC. All Rights Reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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