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Old 10-05-2012, 04:30 PM   #1
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Boat Insurance Experience/Your thoughts

Time to renew on our Californian 34LRC here in Florida. Presently with Markel with named storm excluded, but at a low premium. $788.00 Everything eles on their policy is good including oil spill up to 854,000 dollars but they will not eliminate the named storm exclusion. .

I asked for quotes from BoatUS, IMIS, and Charter Lakes. Charter Lakes came back with Progressive and Foremost. Progressive way to high. Foremost a $1000 less than Progressive and $600 less than BoatUS, but their coverage leaves something to be desired. Oil spill, etc is only up to limits of their liability number which was 300,000--far less than the 850K offered by BoatUS, and Markel. Foremost (Charter Lakes) also wants me to hire a surveyor to check off on our corrections to the survey list when we bought the boat. All but three items have been corrected and they are planned as a winter project. None-the-less got to have them done and a surveyor to sign off. BoatUS accepted my efforts on the survey items. No surveyor needed. Haven't heard from IMIS. They seem to be dragging their feet.

Considering Progressive's cost and Foremost lesser coverage and hard ball with the survey items I have told Charter Lake, thanks but I will pass.

BoatUS plan and premium in the middle of the responses thus far but they are willing to work with me.

IMIS still an unknown.

Now need your thoughts. I can stay with Markel at $788 and buy a storm haul out and block for another $1000--(if not used, get a haul out in November or December free) or-go with BoatUS for $2000 and get named storm coverage with high deductible for named storm loss. We have to figure out what we do with the boat with storm approaching. We take the shrimp boat up river and would probably do the same with big boat, but not as good as haulout to high ground. Getting a slot for haulout with named storm approaching is probably impossible unless you bought the "hurricane plan" from the Marina before the season starts or they sell out their plan, so would take up river.

Your thoughts on either approach or maybe some other we didn't think of.

Also what are your thoughts on BoatUS insurance? Since I don't have any other company in the mix they are the next in line. If they are "bad" that could swing the vote to stay with Markel.

Thanks
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:39 PM   #2
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Have you tried talking to an insurance broker? They shop around for the best policy for your requirements. We have used a broker since we bought the boat in 1998 and they've been great in getting us the best coverage and price for a yacht policy for our boat. The policies have been from different companies over the years but the coverage has stayed the same and, just as important, so has the cost.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:00 PM   #3
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Call IMIS and maybe Jack Martin in Annapolis. Both are marine brokers. I wouldn't trust being hauled out with no coverage in a storm. But I know it is expensive to buy that coverage in Florida.

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Old 10-05-2012, 06:11 PM   #4
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Florida is the craziest area of the country to insure anything in- perhaps it's a trade off for that great weather
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:17 PM   #5
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Yes, it's a crap shoot with the issue of named storm damage being a real problem. We don't have that problem here in the PNW.

Other than being a policy holder I have no relationship to Boat US. But I've had Boat US Ins. for a number of years now, no claims and no issues with the coverage or rising premiums. What I really like, is Boat US doesn't demand a survey every couple of years. I've been with them about 9 years now and no new survey yet. Plus they have a very good monthly members magazine that is full of boating information, changes in laws and proposed legislation which might affect boaters. They also act as a boating advocate group who represents around 700,000 boaters nationwide. It's nice to have someone looking out for our welfare.

I have a marine insurance agent friend, who has been trying to get my policy for a number of years now. But when you compare the policies, coverage, and survey requirement, she doesn't have one gives the same comparisons. That really pisses her off !!

Larry B
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:33 PM   #6
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I have Boat/US and have been totally satisfied especially with claim service on a previous boat. Never had a claim with IMIS, but they didn't inspire the confidence/comfort that I get with Boat/US.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:42 PM   #7
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Call Pantaneus, nobody else in my personal or professional experience comes close.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments. I requested a quote from IMIS days ago and have had emails from their contact. She indicated I would here in two days, which was Thursday. I even sent them the survey and my action regarding recommendations. Still nothing today.

My impression is Charter Lakes is a broker since they hunted around and came up with the two companies I mentioned, Progressive and Foremost. I know Charter Lakes has been discussed before with positive comments, but if that is the best they can do as brokers, not very impressive.

I sent off for a quote from Pantaneus. Had to figure out dimensions in meters. Are they a foreign company?
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:15 AM   #9
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insurance

Try IMIS, Susan@imis.pro or call 443-569-3711

or IMIS customer service 410-827-3757 or 1800 541-4647.

Their rates have been low for me and service good although I have not had a claim to date.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:06 AM   #10
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I sent off for a quote from Pantaneus. Had to figure out dimensions in meters. Are they a foreign company?

Yes, they are based in Germany.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:15 AM   #11
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Yes, it's a crap shoot with the issue of named storm damage being a real problem. We don't have that problem here in the PNW.

Other than being a policy holder I have no relationship to Boat US. But I've had Boat US Ins. for a number of years now, no claims and no issues with the coverage or rising premiums. What I really like, is Boat US doesn't demand a survey every couple of years. I've been with them about 9 years now and no new survey yet. Plus they have a very good monthly members magazine that is full of boating information, changes in laws and proposed legislation which might affect boaters. They also act as a boating advocate group who represents around 700,000 boaters nationwide. It's nice to have someone looking out for our welfare.

I have a marine insurance agent friend, who has been trying to get my policy for a number of years now. But when you compare the policies, coverage, and survey requirement, she doesn't have one gives the same comparisons. That really pisses her off !!

Larry B
While I can see the attraction in not having to get your boat surveyed for insurance purposes, I can't agree with the practice. There are a number of reasons to have the survey done;
  • Checking the material condition of your vessel
  • Capturing the value of any hard additions that have been completed
  • Gives the owner the opportunity to catch small problems before they morph into big ones

The marine insuring companies I represent all have requirements for regular surveys every 5 years.

The BoatUS policy is decent, but has some holes in the wording that can leave an insured exposed.

Like anything else, the cost of the policy, while important, should not be the primary deciding factor; your policy should address and cover YOUR needs, not be skewed towards the insurer. Situations like pollution, salvage, wreck removal, Jones Act coverage, etc., IMO must be a part of the base policy and clearly defined in the policy language.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:29 AM   #12
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Freshalaska--if you note in my post I am trying IMIS. Working with Susan but it is taking them some time to come through.

Pau Hana--I don't disagree that one ought to have a survey to get the insurance. I can understand why a company would want that and I as an owner want that as well. However the requirement every 5 years is a deal breaker for me. In our case, considering the boat, our experience, the hull value, and the variability of the comptency of the surveyor, . I'll pass on that one. By the time we run 50 miles, haul out and block and line up a surveyor the cost will approach $1000. Appreciate the opinion however.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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Freshalaska--if you note in my post I am trying IMIS. Working with Susan but it is taking them some time to come through.

Pau Hana--I don't disagree that one ought to have a survey to get the insurance. I can understand why a company would want that and I as an owner want that as well. However the requirement every 5 years is a deal breaker for me. In our case, considering the boat, our experience, the hull value, and the variability of the comptency of the surveyor, . I'll pass on that one. By the time we run 50 miles, haul out and block and line up a surveyor the cost will approach $1000. Appreciate the opinion however.
Agree...especially the way some surveyors treat insurance surveys.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:33 AM   #14
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I've had Boat US insurance on both West Coast & East Coast over the past 20+ years and will probably stick with them primarily because of their service. While delivering my boat from New England to Chesapeake last year, Irene came along. Being new to the East Coast I needed advice (more reliable advice than I got on the docks!), I called Boat US, they arranged an immediate haul-out and paid 50%.

One has to be really anal to go over the policies from various insurers and compare the minor differences - it seems like there is no direct "apples to apples" policies to compare.

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Old 10-06-2012, 09:41 AM   #15
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If I was an insurer, and I'm not...

I'd require a survey every few years for any "all risk" policy.

The reason is simple. If your boat has a "loss" the insurer has to pay. They have a reasonable expectation that the boat does not have or had not developed over time an issue that could cause the boat to be at risk.

Failure to know and verify the risk of loss for a vessle puts the insurer at risk, and raises the rates for everybody.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:50 AM   #16
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If I was an insurer, and I'm not...

I'd require a survey every few years for any "all risk" policy.

The reason is simple. If your boat has a "loss" the insurer has to pay. They have a reasonable expectation that the boat does not have or had not developed over time an issue that could cause the boat to be at risk.

Failure to know and verify the risk of loss for a vessle puts the insurer at risk, and raises the rates for everybody.
I'm sure they are good at figuring that out to a point....there are so many variables and because some require surveys way less often...I think it's more about each underwriters understanding of boats/yachts and their operators.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:33 PM   #17
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Agree...especially the way some surveyors treat insurance surveys.
------------------------------------------------------
You're right many insurance surveys and the surveyor who prepare them are sadly lacking. One of the last insurance surveys I had, the surveyor was so incompetent, I was truly shocked. His lack of knowledge of my boats construction, stating that brass and bronze were the same metal and finally asking me the value of my boat for the survey. Amazing!!

If the insurance companies had to pay for the haul out and survey, do you think they would demand one every 5 years?? That would be a big NO!!
Holes in the policy wording? Yeah, that is what they all say about their competitions policies.

When was the last time your home insurance company wrote you a letter and said, "We would like you to hire a realestate appraiser to come and inspect and appraise your home at your expense every five years? Send us the inspection and appraisal in the next six months or we will cancel your insurance." It doesn't happen because there is too much market competition and they would lose their client base. Yes there are additional risks with boats, mainly sinking or theft. But all the other risks, fire, rot, flooding, wind and rain damage are all present and the value of my house is four or five times the value of my boat.

IMHO. . .If you don't want to pay high premiums and unreasonable requests for surveys every couple years, then "vote with your feet."

Larry B
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:06 PM   #18
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The insurance companies our broker has put us with for our yacht policy--- including Lloyds for awhile-- have all required periodic surveys. Usually about every five years. The surveyors we use do what they call an insurance survey. They check the stuff they know is important to the insurance companies but it's not anywhere near as comprehensive or time-consuming as a full or pre-purchase survey. So it costs about half as much.

The yard we use has a very low rate for pulling a boat, letting it hang in the slings for a bit, and putting it back in. So we make arrangements with the surveyor and the yard to have the boat at the Travelift at a certain time, they pull it, the surveyor does the out-of-water portion of the survey and the boat goes back in the water. The surveyor does the rest of the survey at our slip, either that same day or later in the week.

So other than the time involved it's a pretty painless and inexpensive proposition.

If in the course of his survey the surveyor finds something that he feels should be dealt with but is not such that it affects the integrity or safety of the boat, he notes it down for us but he doesn't put it on the survey report that goes to the insurance company. This has proven very helpful to us in the past.

I'm not sure the comparison with home insurance is valid. Homes don't float, they don't sit in a hostile environment that is doing its best to corrode, rust, delaminate, and rot it and everything in it away, they are not driven around by people with varying degrees of competence, they are unlikely to hit a rock or reef or go around, they don't run out of fuel and drift into something with the current, and other houses are unlikely to run into them.

From the insurance company's point of view, I would want any vessel I was insuring checked out at some interval. Boats can deteriorate fast with neglect, and problems have a way of cropping up in a hurry. I would be somewhat suspicious of an insurance company that didn't require periodic surveys. If they are that unconcerned about the condition of what they are insuring, one could wonder how good that insurance actually is. Like those third-party extended warranties on cars that cover everything except what will actually go wrong, the time to find out that your insurance company is less than cooperative is not when you suddenly need the insurance.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:12 PM   #19
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I'm not sure what's happening with IMIS. We have used them for years but are about to switch. I never get phone calls or emails returned anymore and it take me calling 3 or 4 times before I get to talk to anyone or get any questions answered. I used to recommend them a lot, but not so much any more. Be very careful with progressive. They will lowball you to get you signed on then raise the crap out of your rates each year for no apparent reason. Chuck
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:21 PM   #20
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------------------------------------------------------
If the insurance companies had to pay for the haul out and survey, do you think they would demand one every 5 years?? That would be a big NO!!

Larry B
Our insurance company has done a survey every 5 years for the last 10 years now. The best part is that they use a great surveyor, one I would personal chose for a buy survey and they pay all cost to have it done. They do this because the surveyor is now reporting directly to them but he tells me verbally of anything that needs attention. So far so good, saves us from paying for a survey and my rate went down as did the value, after all she is now 17 years older that when we bought her.
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