Customs Busted Up My Boat! Who Pays?

Sport Fish 2

Any coastal boat owner who’s been on the water for a decent length of time knows the power of the Coast Guard. Essentially operating as a federal police agency in both American and international waters, the Coast Guard has a tremendous amount of power in its role of protecting the country’s water borders. And that gives the agency the authority to stop boats and board them if necessary to search for contraband. Unfortunately, the coastal areas have been plagued with a rising number of entry attempts by those trying to bring drugs into the U.S. No surprise then, the Coast Guard has been ramping up its efforts to arrest and stop violations. That can also mean more folks who are entirely innocent get stopped and searched.

The Coast Guard search process isn’t always a gentle one. If there’s enough to raise suspicions, a search could involve opening up cabinets and containers of the boat, which usually ends up in some damage. While a general coverage policy can take care of boat damage caused by another party, damage caused a law enforcement search can be problematic. If there was indeed a viable reason for a search, all bets for coverage are off; most polices are voided by illegal activity. If there was no reason for a search, an insurer is going to want some kind of documentation from the Coast Guard stating the search was in error, and that’s very unlikely. Instead, the best one might get is a brief letter stating a boat owner is no longer under investigation, and these often take the help of an attorney to get.

The best approach is to find out how a boat policy will work on a law enforcement search before the trip happens. Those in the Fort Myers, FL area can drop in and ask SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. how boat coverage would work, getting a clear answer for planning purposes.

Call SWFL Insurance Agency for the best Boat and Yacht Coverage…..239-265-9577