Global Marine Insurance: Hurricane Sandy Caused Record-Setting Boat Damage

Hurricane Sandy pounded the eastern coast of the United States this fall, the vicious superstorm reportedly causing record damage to recreational boats.

According to the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) damage to US recreational boats was in excess of $650 million, with losses recorded as follows:

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 8, 2012: Pile of debris and boat near flooded and damaged houses after Hurricane Sandy on Manhattan Beach on November 8, 2012, Brooklyn, NY

Number of Boats Damaged in Different Areas:

• New York – more than 32,000

• New Jersey – more than 25,000

• Connecticut – approximately 2,500

• Other states – 6,000

According to BoatUS the damages to recreational boats resulting from superstorm Sandy are the largest since it started keeping records in 1966. In terms of dollars, the damage estimates tally $324 million in New York, $242 million in New Jersey and $23 million in Connecticut.

This is comparable to the combined damages of nearly $700 million resulting from Hurricanes Wilma and Katrina in 2005. Until Sandy, the most marine damage resulting from a single storm was approximately $500 million by Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Unprecedented Losses

Boat owners across the Atlantic seaboard and inland to the Great Lakes were helpless to save their boats from Hurricane Sandy’s wrath, with an unprecedented number of boats ripped from their moorings or where they were kept ashore. The havoc wreaked by Sandy’s high winds – causing significant coastal and inland flooding – is expected to produce more than $6 billion in insurance claims.

Even the most prepared pleasure boaters cannot prevent the kind of damage inflicted by a hurricane such as Sandy or other natural disasters, indicating the importance of boat insurance coverage. As boat insurance claims are filed with insurance providers, damages range from minor scrapes to the topsides or hulls to boats that are now a complete write-off.

Not Enough Boat Owners Have Boat Insurance

The Boat Owner’s Association of the United States says that despite the damage to commercial and recreational boats by natural storms and disasters in past years, they estimate only half of all pleasure boat owners have insurance. That means that of the 65,000 recreational boats damaged by Hurricane Sandy only 32,500 will be insured losses.

Many recreational craft were pummeled so badly that there is extensive damage. Boats were flipped and sunk or carried inland. Others battered by the surging waters against other debris, resulting in significant structural damage that is beyond repair.

Unfortunately many owners are now facing out-of-pocket repair or replacement costs – on top of salvage fees to recover their damaged vessels. For the boat owners who had insurance but did experience damage during the storm the claim and repair process may take a little longer than in normal situations. Most insurance companies have reallocated adjusters from other parts of the country to help with the losses, but the large volume is taking some time to manage. Likewise, many of the local and regional repair shops were damaged themselves in the storm or are overwhelmed and backlogged with repairs. Marinas, repair shops, and insurance companies are all working together to coordinate efforts as quickly as possible.

If you need to submit a claim with Global Marine Insurance please call 800-748-0224. One of our customer service representatives will be happy to assist you. If you’re a boat owner interested in boat insurance coverage you can obtain an online boat insurance quote and take steps to protect your investment from future loss.

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