What Is A Damage Survey?
A Damage Survey is performed to access the extent of damage sustained, compile a list of recommended repairs and estimated cost to return the vessel to its condition prior to the incident. One is needed to determine the necessary repairs to maintain the vessel in safe and operating condition (and, if requested, the probable causes). One is always required by Insurance companies when an claim has been submitted.
This Survey is usually commissioned by a specific insurance company as part of a claim investigation. It's function is to establish the cause of and extent of the
damage to give an estimate of the cost of repairs.
Typically, the Insurance Claims person will assign one of the Marine Surveyor(s) they usually contract with to act as its agent in your claim.
That surveyor should work in liaison with the insured, the insured's surveyor if there is one, the repair facility and all of the relative participants. However it is still the owner's responsibility to make sure estimates are obtained and submitted for the repairs to be made and to interface with the assigned surveyor and the adjuster until the claim is settled.
In the majority of damage claims, the surveyor provided by your Claims
person will provide sufficient information to satisfy your claim without any major disputes and to your satisfaction. This is especially true on smaller claims with
clear cut damages.
Read The Fine Print
When all else fails, read your "contract". You insurance policy will spell out all the fine details of reporting, investigation and
resolution of any claim submitted on your vessel. For instance some marine underwriter's will cover restitution for damages at current replacement value, less deductible. Others pro-rate the current replacement value of the damages based on the age of the vessel. Some may even try to apply depreciation to the
labor associated with the repairs!
Before you accept a settlement from your Claims person make sure you've read your policy to insure it has been followed and that you are being compensated in accordance with the policies terms.
Why Hire Your Own Surveyor?
In damage claims resulting in major repairs to a vessel, it is in the owner's best interest to consider hiring their own
professional marine surveyor to do a Damage Survey. This can be done either in conjunction with or independent of the
survey done by the surveyor hired by the Claims person.
In many cases, such as in a sinking of a vessel there can, and usually are, sub-sequent damages which are often overlooked or not considered by the surveyor assigned by the Claims person .
These often can be more costly then the initial claim.
Why Hire Your Own Surveyor-Continued
The Claims person, in most cases, will not physically "see" your boat and will depend entirely on the Damage Report submitted by the surveyor they assigned to your claim.
On most claims, once the Claims Adjuster's and surveyor's report of damages is submitted to the insurance claims person, the owner has very little recourse to "dispute" that report without going through a lot of hassle. Most of the time the Claims person will not even provide you with a copy of that report to challenge it.
Hiring an independent professional marine surveyor to do a damage survey of your vessel can save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run.
The professional marine surveyor you hire will represent your boat, not the insurance companies interest! Their aim is to radically reduce your losses using their knowledge and experience in the marine and insurance fields which can ultimately
reduce your losses to the barest minimum.
Maritime Vessel Surveying, Inc.
We have represented both Underwriters and Owners for a very wide range of insurance claims and litigation. These have included sinking, stranding, dismasting, mechanical breakdown, fire, arson, theft, personal injury, third party damage, flooding whilst in storage, latent defect, warranty claims, product liability, heavy weather damage and of course hurricane damage ashore and afloat.
We are routinely appointed by Under-writers to survey vessels throughout the southeast to assist them with insurance claims. We have been involved with losses of an insured value of over
$1,000,000.00 on sail and power vessels of wood, fiber reinforced plastic,aluminum and steel hulls.
We also work for owners with damaged vessels, advising them of the nature
of the damages and as well as providing our recommendations for repairs. These damages have included warranty claims
on new vessels or damages to uninsured.
Please contact our office if we may be of service to you:
Captain Stanley G. Konz, A.M.S.
Maritime Vessel Surveying, Inc.
If you require immediate support on your vessel, please fill out the Auto-Responder located on the Contact Us page and we will get back to you as soon as possible.