With hurricane Harvey having devastated the Gulf Coast, many insurance companies will be selling damaged boats to the public to recoup payouts. Some boat owners may also want to sell to cover repairs to their home or business or because they’re relocating away from the coast. For savvy boat operators who have the ability and money to invest in repairs, these damaged boats can potentially prove to be a good deal. However, they can easily become money pits. Here are a few things to look for if you’re evaluating whether to purchase a boat damaged by Harvey.

Insurance companies declare boats a Constructive Total Loss for two reasons: the cost to repair the damage to the boat would exceed its value or the owner did not insure it for much money, so it’s more cost-effective to pay off the policy. Owners selling directly may act in good faith and disclose any damage, or they may fail to disclose and perform patchy repairs that wouldn’t pass a closer inspection.

To determine whether purchasing a boat is worth it, hiring a marine surveyor to evaluate the boat is the best option. Close inspection can reveal repair work that wasn’t disclosed. Pay attention to variations in the exterior color since it’s hard to match after repairs, same with interior wood work. Signs of updating soft materials, such as new cushions or carpet, are also red flags.

If the boat sank, there will likely be rust on hinges and other interior hardware, as well as corrosion in the electrical system. New electronics can indicate a replacement to cover up sinking. Submerged engines can possibly be saved if dealt with immediately after the storm, but that isn’t likely after a hurricane.

If you choose to purchase a storm-damaged boat, or any used boat for that matter, careful inspection is key. Hiring an expert to evaluate the boat is well worth the money so you don’t get stuck with a bad investment.

Whether you’re storing your boat, RV, or other large items, Big Item Storage can accommodate your needs. Both our Rockport and Corpus Christi locations are clean and secure. For more information or to reserve your spot, check out our website here or call us at 361-937-2423 (Corpus) or 361-238-7177 (Rockport).