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Old 10-27-2019, 01:32 AM   #21
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Pau Hana has made the recommendation of regular surveys. I would love to hear any other recommendations he has for consumers and boat owners.

I've always felt loyalty to a carrier had benefit, but I'm not sure that's as much as I have believed. I'd love to hear his view on that.

I've also heard having multiple lines with one insurer is beneficial but I'm not sure that's very practical or beneficial on boats. One problem is that for most of us our boat insurance is our most expensive insurance. An interesting thing true in my case and I'd think in most cases though is that as a percentage of value, we pay more for auto insurance than for boat insurance. Then more for boat insurance than home insurance and more for home insurance than commercial insurance. So it looks like Auto>Boat>Home>Commercial.

I've always felt some protection over insuring through one of the largest insurers of that type insurance and hope that's still the case.
Other recommendations: as in real estate, location, location, location plays a huge part in the rating of a risk. Unfortunately, most of us cannot simply choose our mooring location, so a few other recommendations:
  • Make sure your credit is good. Many insurers are using credit history as a major rating factor.
  • USCG license- there is no requirement for vessel licensing. Obtaining your USCG ticket is not too easy, and takes time- and shows insurers that you take boating seriously. Generally, you will see a 10% premium reduction for having a USCG license.
  • Review your coverages- Is your vessel properly insured? Are you carrying too much personal effects coverage, or endorsements that expired long ago?


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How do home built boats fit into the insurance scheme? I'm building to USCG standards as outlined in their home builders guide and AYBC. The boat will be USCG documented and registered in my state, SC. The boat will be USCG inspected and also surveyed. I'd like more than just liability but I will go with that to get on the water.
My experience is that you should be OK with a home built vessel as long as the plans were completed by a naval architect, and the vessel receives a comprehensive Condition and Valuation survey. You mention the vessel will be USCG inspected- is it being built to Subchapter T standards?
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:37 AM   #22
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My experience is that you should be OK with a home built vessel as long as the plans were completed by a naval architect, and the vessel receives a comprehensive Condition and Valuation survey. You mention the vessel will be USCG inspected- is it being built to Subchapter T standards?
Thanks. I would have to look into that. I'm not sure if my USCG home builders guide has that. Thanks for mentioning. The boat will be recreational use only.
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:03 AM   #23
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Thanks. I would have to look into that. I'm not sure if my USCG home builders guide has that. Thanks for mentioning. The boat will be recreational use only.
As an added hedge, you should be documenting your build process (photos, blog write up, etc) so any questions that come up as to build quality/methodology can be easily answered.
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:52 PM   #24
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Peter, you talk about keeping surveys current, 5 years or less. Over the last few months I've surveyed 5 boats and had access to 2 other surveys. Seems like there is a big difference in price and quality of surveys. Good ones run $1200 or more and cheap ones $500 and don't include the mechanical stuff like engines and generator, etc. Does it make a difference on which type of Survey we should have ?

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Old 10-27-2019, 01:21 PM   #25
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Peter, you talk about keeping surveys current, 5 years or less. Over the last few months I've surveyed 5 boats and had access to 2 other surveys. Seems like there is a big difference in price and quality of surveys. Good ones run $1200 or more and cheap ones $500 and don't include the mechanical stuff like engines and generator, etc. Does it make a difference on which type of Survey we should have ?

The Brockerts
So true, Joe.

Unfortunately, there are no mandatory standards for surveyor- hence, there are many out there that simply hang a shingle and declare themselves a surveyor, regardless of their expertise or affiliation. The public at large is not aware of this, and too often select a surveyor based on price alone.

The best surveyors have affiliation with either NAMS or SAMS, in my opinion. I believe this because of the ongoing education requirements, accountability, and strict adherence to ABYC, NFPA, and USCG requirements. From my underwriting background, my fellow underwriters held the same viewpoint, and many insurers will only accept NAMS or SAMS surveys.

The survey type should be a Condition and Valuation survey (prepurchase surveys are usually C&V). This type documents the material condition and valuation of the vessel. If the vessel is of metal construction, the survey must be hauled and include an ultrasound/audiogauge report of the hull plate thickness. If of wood construction, the survey must be hauled, with a random sampling of fasteners removed and their condition (wastage and pinking) documented in the survey report.
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Old 10-27-2019, 02:29 PM   #26
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This isn't something new or unique to the marine market. We've seen property insurance carriers do this in the Caribbean before, then a hurricane came through and none of them would re-insure.

We've just extended our normal navigation limits. Oddly, the carrier's next option from our typical Chesapeake coverage area is (usually) almost the whole eastern hemisphere... i.e., from Maine to Florida to Bahamas, etc. Would have thought they'd offer smaller selectable increments, but no...

And then this time there's also an additional endorsement: NO BAHAMAS, owing to Hurricane Dorian damage.

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Old 10-27-2019, 03:03 PM   #27
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Other recommendations: as in real estate, location, location, location plays a huge part in the rating of a risk. Unfortunately, most of us cannot simply choose our mooring location, so a few other recommendations:

[*]Make sure your credit is good. Many insurers are using credit history as a major rating factor.[*]USCG license- there is no requirement for vessel licensing. Obtaining your USCG ticket is not too easy, and takes time- and shows insurers that you take boating seriously. Generally, you will see a 10% premium reduction for having a USCG license.[*]Review your coverages- Is your vessel properly insured? Are you carrying too much personal effects coverage, or endorsements that expired long ago?
I was told as you indicate that USCG license and experience are being looked at more closely. I'm shocked frankly that our premiums are as low as they are but the fact there is always a licensed Captain on board helps, I'm sure.

You mention coverages and that first came up on our auto insurance that with our umbrella policy we didn't really gain by increasing the limits on our auto policy so I think looking at all coverage together is important. Similarly, we have a VPP policy to cover jewelry and art so don't depend on our homeowners or boat insurance to cover them.

We employ a risk manager so it's easy for us. How do you suggest most people make sure not just their boat coverage but all insurance makes sense for them?
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Old 10-27-2019, 03:07 PM   #28
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We've just extended our normal navigation limits. Oddly, the carrier's next option from our typical Chesapeake coverage area is (usually) almost the whole eastern hemisphere... i.e., from Maine to Florida to Bahamas, etc. Would have thought they'd offer smaller selectable increments, but no...

And then this time there's also an additional endorsement: NO BAHAMAS, owing to Hurricane Dorian damage.

-Chris
I wonder if your insurer realizes the futility of excluding areas the year after they get hit?

Certainly, a hurricane like Dorian is enough to change the historic numbers. Even if you're going on a long history, adding it in has an affect and increases the odds of loss. However, you still have to apply it as one year out of many, not as the norm.
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Old 10-27-2019, 03:53 PM   #29
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I wonder if your insurer realizes the futility of excluding areas the year after they get hit?

Certainly, a hurricane like Dorian is enough to change the historic numbers. Even if you're going on a long history, adding it in has an affect and increases the odds of loss. However, you still have to apply it as one year out of many, not as the norm.
Increasing exclusions for previously hard hit locales and/or adding cruising season caveats for hurricane areas seems logical for the insurers. As has been debated for the past few months on TF, owners make choices on hurricane acceptance or avoidance. As the hurricane area marine losses mount up, insurers make choices too.
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:00 PM   #30
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Increasing exclusions for previously hard hit locales and/or adding cruising season caveats for hurricane areas seems logical for the insurers. As has been debated for the past few months on TF, owners make choices on hurricane acceptance or avoidance. As the hurricane area marine losses mount up, insurers make choices too.
But following them is an exercise in futility. You're increasing your prices and eliminating areas always one year too late. Yes, more will come eventually. I understand raising prices to pay for last year's losses but you raise company wide. Their system only really works if a hurricane returns to the same locale very soon.

Yes, the decision for some insurers has been not to insure boats.
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:11 PM   #31
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And why should those who aren't in hurricane hit areas, not even on the same side of the planet have to pay for those who choose to leave their vessel in those areas?

It should be rape those who choose to remain
Reward those who choose not to put vessels at risk.
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:22 PM   #32
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And why should those who aren't in hurricane hit areas, not even on the same side of the planet have to pay for those who choose to leave their vessel in those areas?

It should be rape those who choose to remain
Reward those who choose not to put vessels at risk.
You shouldn't. You should just pay a premium based on piracy. lol.
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:45 PM   #33
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We just received our new policy due for renewal on 12/22/2019 with GEICO Marine. We have been with GEICO for four years. They have not required a survey beyond the purchase survey we had in Feb. 2014. Cost increased $600 and $1,000 more than two years ago. However, our deductible is now zero as opposed to $1,145 last year and $2,290 two years ago. Also, we have no prohibition against travel below a certain parallel on a certain date. However, if our boat is damaged in a named storm at any time in the states of Texas, Miss, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina we have a deductible of 5% of Agreed Value.

As for getting a new survey "just because", I don't perceive much value in that. We live aboard and I maintain the boat to a very high standard. It is highly doubtful that a survey would reveal anything beyond minors. Besides, at some point a survey will be required by the insurer.
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:52 PM   #34
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2019 has seen lots of changes in the stateside marine insurance arena- some good, some challenging. Programs are tightening up their underwriting criteria or simply electing to no longer offer marine coverage. Most of these changes can put the insured in tough situations, as companies are non-renewing customers on short notice or requiring navigation changes that limit the insurerís risk- and itís tough to insure an older vessel with a 5+ year old survey, or larger vessels with owner/operators.
Itís always a good practice to have your vessel surveyed regularly, especially if the boat is over 10 years of age. Iíve always recommended that a boat be surveyed every other regular haulout (here in Seattle, we haul out every 2-2.5 years) so the survey remains relatively fresh.
  • Companies exiting the market completely- Brit RE, American Reliable, Ironshore, Tradewinds. If youíre insured with one of these companies, expect to receive a non-renewal notice.
  • Premier Marine has severely curtailed their appetite to vessels no older than 25 years of age as of 11/01 (I believe). If youíre with Premier, I strongly recommend you get your vessel surveyed soon so you can have the policy shopped.
  • various London syndicates have pulled back on their Caribbean/offshore navigation offerings.

Just food for thought- I know insurance isnít sexy or high tech, but it is an important component or our pastime to consider.

Pete
Thanks Pete for the update. My policy is with Travelers - A "Yachtlux" product. The nav limits are expansive and the cost seems very reasonable - around 1% of value - for a 55 year old boat. One thing I do is group a number of different policies with the same company - personal home, auto, liability, investment properties, etc. Not sure it helps, but my hope is that they would be less likely to give me problems if they have a larger overall book of business with me. Is that valid?
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:56 PM   #35
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Must admit I've never understood the logic behind 100% coverage for a named storm loss. There just doesn't seem to be any motivation for some boat owners to think. It always amazes me how many boat owners make no additional storm preparations or even bother to check on their boats before a hurricane. It seems to me that a 25% deduction on named storm coverage might motivate some people to do a better job of avoiding leaving their boats in harm's way or without additional preparation.

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Old 10-27-2019, 05:01 PM   #36
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Lightbulb

One other point most don't realize, you price a policy with say Gieco USBoat insurance.
You assume that's the carriers rate right?


Nope due to commission the broker wants to build into the quote they can vary a lot.


My policy was quoted by 5 brokers between 2750-3600 ( Gieco direct was 3200)


Same on all other insurance, auto, home etc

I think the key is to have an umbrella of $1-$3 million on all your insured assets, cost is low.
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Old 10-27-2019, 05:07 PM   #37
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As Pau Hana, B&B and others have indicated, underwriters assess premiums based on risk for the location (including berthing), boat age, construction and condition (5 year surveys at least) and various factors relating to the owner.

I have just renewed my boat insurance. Coverage is for all of Australia and New Zealand, and up to 250 nm offshore. My home marina berth location is listed on the policy, but there is no time requirement for being there, and I do not have to notify any times that I'm away from that berth. There are no seasonal or other area restrictions. My premium increased by 3%. The previous year it increased by 3.4%. I don't see any 'other side of the planet' or far away hurricane hit areas having much influence on my premiums!
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:30 PM   #38
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As an added hedge, you should be documenting your build process (photos, blog write up, etc) so any questions that come up as to build quality/methodology can be easily answered.



Of course and I'm also including a video series. No, that's not a joke even though it kind of reads that way. I'll be a youtube sensation. OK that was.
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:57 PM   #39
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don't see any 'other side of the planet' or far away hurricane hit areas having much influence on my premiums!
Who are you with?
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:40 PM   #40
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One other point most don't realize, you price a policy with say Gieco USBoat insurance.
You assume that's the carriers rate right?


Nope due to commission the broker wants to build into the quote they can vary a lot.


My policy was quoted by 5 brokers between 2750-3600 ( Gieco direct was 3200)


Same on all other insurance, auto, home etc

I think the key is to have an umbrella of $1-$3 million on all your insured assets, cost is low.
Absolutely false.

No broker or agency has the ability to ďbuild commissionsĒ into the quotes rate. Each vessel/owner is rated on the merits of the risk (vessel age, vessel speed, location, value, experience, etc.).

I cannot comment on your specific GEICO quotes, but I can say that itís not hard to obtain different quotes from GEICO whether from a broker or calling in direct.
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