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Old 02-01-2017, 11:34 AM   #1
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If during hurricane (Matthew) your boat damaged dock, does your liability insurance

ever cover that ? (someone else's dock, not mine). I have $500,000 liability coverage and figured that might pay for the dock damage but the claims adjuster's response was something like "in these named storm situations, we basically look out for our own....yes, maybe your boat damaged their dock but their dock damaged your boat"

To which I'm thinking...well yeah, but their dock didn't move into my boat..my boat broke free and may have moved into their dock. (I say "may have" as there was so little damage to the boat it's hard to believe it essentially destroyed the end of our community dock (a covered with metal roof end, no less)......but that's aproximately where it ended up after the hurricane (had two anchors out but it still dragged)
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:15 PM   #2
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I am no lawyer, but i have settled a number of liability claims, so here goes from a layman:

To be liable for damages, in general you have to have been negligent. Tying up your boat with twine is probably negligence. But tying it to your dock with good docklines and having a storm break it off and damaging a dock is not negligence.

Here is a real world example: Irene destroyed our community dock and pieces of it washed up against my house and damaged the siding. We talked to the agent who provided the insurance for the community dock. He said that it was an act of God (Irene) that destroyed the dock, not any negligence on the part of the community dock owners.

So it is similar to the claim adjuster's views above, but a little different. If some negligent act caused the community dock to come apart maybe there would be liablity. But a hurricane is a pretty good defense.

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Old 02-01-2017, 02:34 PM   #3
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ever cover that ? (someone else's dock, not mine). I have $500,000 liability coverage and figured that might pay for the dock damage but the claims adjuster's response was something like "in these named storm situations, we basically look out for our own....yes, maybe your boat damaged their dock but their dock damaged your boat"

To which I'm thinking...well yeah, but their dock didn't move into my boat..my boat broke free and may have moved into their dock. (I say "may have" as there was so little damage to the boat it's hard to believe it essentially destroyed the end of our community dock (a covered with metal roof end, no less)......but that's aproximately where it ended up after the hurricane (had two anchors out but it still dragged)
1-Don't listen to claim's adjusters for insurance rules or coverage. Talk to someone else representing the insurer (I'd start with your broker) and try to get an understanding. Also, read your policy. It should specify.

2-Is anyone making a claim or asserting your insurance should pay? What stance has the insurer for the community dock taken? In most cases I would expect their insurer to cover their damage and then to make a claim against your insurer if they feel there is some valid claim. Unless they feel there is some negligence on your part, I'd doubt they'd feel they had a claim.

3-On the surface, if I was the other party, I'd claim you were negligent as shown by the fact your boat broke free. Free from what? Two Anchors or a dock and two anchors? Where was your boat and how was it secured? Were there other boats broken free and against their dock or just yours? As the other party, I'd put the burden on you to then prove you weren't negligent.

4-Much depends on the amount of damage. Often times each insurer does just take care of their own in these situations and doesn't feel it's worthwhile to make claims against others.
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:20 PM   #4
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Did the marina request that you leave the dock for the storm? Is that part of your contract? Many marinas have a clause in the contract that requires boats to vacate should a storm approach. That could complicate things.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:23 AM   #5
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Did the marina request that you leave the dock for the storm? Is that part of your contract? Many marinas have a clause in the contract that requires boats to vacate should a storm approach. That could complicate things.
Yes, that is why we moved from the marina to our home dock for the hurricane. The boat was tied with 1" diameter lines and two anchors set via dinghy "just in case" (I took photos of the setup and of the dinghy with the anchors and chain in it prior to evacuating).

In spite of all that, three 1" diameter lines broke, and the 4th one pulled out a cleat from the float, and the anchors dragged !

There are 3 deep water docks in our neighborhood, and all 3 of them lost part or all the stringers and decking (250 feet long piers)...pilings ok. Ironically, we, nor neighbor lost the pier head or the floating docks...only the community dock lost the pier head. It's floating dock is fine (except the rather expensive aluminum ramp to it, is half under water and by now could be ruined from the salt)

So it was natural to assume our boat must have caused that pier head to be destroyed since that is near where it ended up after the storm. And yet not a scratch on the gel coat that wasn't self inflicted... nearly all damage was self inflicted (a heavy duty aft awning came loose and scratched a window, cabin gelcoat and bent a handrail)

One neighbor speculates a "micro-burst" might have happened, as most other piers on our creek had only minor damage. Amazingly, the boat didn't leak a drop of rain water during the torrential downpour...and that's with zero canvas on the flybridge.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:47 AM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. D. From your description, you did all that was possible to secure your vessel. 1" lines AND 2 anchors. I can't see how this could be considered negligence by anyone.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:24 AM   #7
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"If during hurricane (Matthew) your boat damaged dock, does your liability insurance ever cover that ?"

Well, you could ask on a boating forum but you'll get a more accurate and complete answer from your insurance company.

Is the dock owner asking you to pay for damage? Have they filed a claim or lawsuit? Do you want to voluntarily pay for the damage but using your insurance company's money?

Lots of unanswered questions here. Call your insurance company. Ask them.
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:21 AM   #8
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Slight thread drift warning.

You had 3 x 1" lines that broke.
This past year I replaced my cruising dock lines, as the older ones were looking their age. I have no evidence their strength was compromised. In the chandlery, my choices were limited to pre-cut, pre-spliced Samson Yacht Braid, or a spool of uncut line at 1/4 the price. I wanted 3/4" and the chandlery had 3/4" in only the uncut spool. That is what I bought. After making up all of the lines, we had a series of 3 storms come through. I moved my boat to a sheltered location at our YC docks, but I had to help re-secure a Bayliner 4588 that was tied with the same sort of lines as I had just made up for my own boat, and they were failing. They couldn't handle the shock loads being put on them by the wind and waves coming in from across the dock. There were parts of the line where the core had broken and only the black cover was holding. Fortunately, the boat had easy access to the owner's tow rope, a 100' length of 1" Samson Golden Braid, so once that was added to the ties to the dock, all was well through the stormy times.

So my question: Were your lines that broke the pretty, coloured cover double braid similar to the ones I saw that were not up to the job, and like the ones I so recently purchased for my own boat?

I use lines that I installed in my shelter 18 or so years ago, Samson Yacht Braid, that haven't seen any direct sun in all that time, that I still trust to have their original strength. I will watch my pretty, black cruising lines carefully, and if I see any signs of failure, they will be replaced by Samson Yacht Braid, despite the greater cost.
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:28 AM   #9
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I thought it obvious from my initial statement about the claims adjuster that I did ask them already.

Also Sea Tow told me pretty much the same thing... no way was my boat responsible in a hurricane situation like this.

So far, no hint of the community seeking compensation from my insurance or me, but I am considering request to be paid a lump sum for my boat damages in which case I would have to sign a waver releasing the insurance company from any future claims related to hurricane Matthew...thus the slight concern about an personal responsibility claims in the matter in the future.
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dune View Post
I thought it obvious from my initial statement about the claims adjuster that I did ask them already.

Also Sea Tow told me pretty much the same thing... no way was my boat responsible in a hurricane situation like this.

So far, no hint of the community seeking compensation from my insurance or me, but I am considering request to be paid a lump sum for my boat damages in which case I would have to sign a waver releasing the insurance company from any future claims related to hurricane Matthew...thus the slight concern about an personal responsibility claims in the matter in the future.
The claims adjuster isn't the one to ask though. He may not even be an employee of the insurance company. I might sign to wave any future claims on my behalf but not to wave the rights of others to claim. I'd be surprised that they'd ask you to sign such a waiver. Still, the fact of no hint from the community seems like you shouldn't have much worry.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:04 PM   #11
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I thought it obvious from my initial statement about the claims adjuster that I did ask them already.
You asked the Adjuster, which wouldn't be the correct party IMHO. The adjusters role is to verify the extent of the damage, put a monetary value on it, and approve payment.

The Insurance Underwriter is the person to ask about the scope and extent of coverage. The insurance Agent, typically works with the underwriter on your behalf.

To be honest, I had to read the post several times as it is unclear to me what you mean by "Marina" and "Home dock". These sound like two different docks, but then there are anchors involved.

The parties involved and the scope of the situation might need to be more clearly defined before you can arrive at a clearer answer.

IMHO if you were using the dock for its intended purpose, if you showed a reasonable effort to secure your boat and nobody asked you to move off the the dock, then any damage incurred is an act of god and would be between the dock owner and his insurance underwriter.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:40 PM   #12
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You asked the Adjuster, which wouldn't be the correct party IMHO. The adjusters role is to verify the extent of the damage, put a monetary value on it, and approve payment.

The Insurance Underwriter is the person to ask about the scope and extent of coverage. The insurance Agent, typically works with the underwriter on your behalf.

To be honest, I had to read the post several times as it is unclear to me what you mean by "Marina" and "Home dock". These sound like two different docks, but then there are anchors involved.

The parties involved and the scope of the situation might need to be more clearly defined before you can arrive at a clearer answer.

IMHO if you were using the dock for its intended purpose, if you showed a reasonable effort to secure your boat and nobody asked you to move off the the dock, then any damage incurred is an act of god and would be between the dock owner and his insurance underwriter.
Re the 'adjuster' not sure that is the right term for who I spoke with but she was reasonably high in the organization and seemed very confident of her answer regarding this.

RE marina vs home dock.... we have a house on deep water with a floating dock but rather keep it at a marina for social and logistics to waterway purposes... plus power...only 50 amps at home dock, when we actually need two 50 amp connections during the hot summer months.

The original plan was to move aboard the boat and sell the house..... but that hasn't worked out for complex reasons I'd rather not go into.
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