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Old 20-03-2011, 19:49   #1
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Boat US, Liability Only?

So my tub is a cheap old trailer sailor, and I'm happy and qualified to fix whatever dings come its way over time. But working with my Scouts on board, and being in a fairly rich area (Washington DC), I certainly want to protect myself against lawsuit from damage that might someday come to another boat, or God forbid, a person.

Would a cheaper liability only policy be wise in this case? Does anyone have personal experience with such an arrangement? I have no fancy do-dads on board, no electronics to speak of (camera and hand-held gps), and don't plan to use a mooring or marina long-term, since it's a short swing-keel on a trailer.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 20-03-2011, 19:58   #2
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Get Liability... if nothing else it'll give you representation if someone smashes into you... happened to me without... luckily I had good relations with an Ins Co and they advised me through the 'back door'... life would have been easier if I'd had the basic...
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Old 20-03-2011, 20:31   #3
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

Considering the size of your boat you should be able to roll coverage for it into your home or auto insurance policies. This is the least cost method for small boats. Gosh knows, how many millions of small run-abouts and "jon" boats and bass boats, etc. all are handled under your basic auto/home policies.
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Old 20-03-2011, 20:41   #4
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

osirissail is right, a rider with on our home owners policy cost us only $40 a year, and was more than just liability coverage. If you don't have a home owners policy get the Boatus, but check their prices. The last time I checked with them, liability was about $100 a year and full coverage was only about $20 more (for a $3,500 boat).
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Old 20-03-2011, 22:02   #5
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

The quote for complete coverage from BoatUS wasn't bad, $116/annual, which included 100k per person liability/300k aggregate, with 850k+ fuel spill liability, supplimental medical, trailer, sporting equipment, uninsured boater, and towing coverage.

I'm not sure State Farm will come close to that, but I'll call tomorrow and ask. It hadn't occured to me to ask them about it. Like I said, I'm far less worried about repair/replacement of my own boat, it's the "other" stuff that can go wrong that concerns me.

I appreciate all the input. Thank you.
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Old 20-03-2011, 22:36   #6
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

I had a similar policy to Smithy on our ancient Pearson 35 though we had much higher liability coverage. Can't remember the cost, probably because it was so reasonable, but peace of mind knowing we would be covered if we did something stupid or had someone injured on board. Unfortunately, Boat US doesn't insure in Hawaii so had to find another carrier when I sailed home. Got a Markle policy with hull insurance as well as liability for not a lot more money so went with that. With a good survey, there's full coverage insurance even for old girls like mine. If the insurance goes up, will go back to just liability.
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Old 20-03-2011, 22:45   #7
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Post Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

Simple version: For liability only, get it from homeowner's, Geico, whatever.

About the early-to-mid 90's, I had a Newport 27 which I'd purchased in Chicago. I got an amazing deal on her, simply because her owner had developed MS and was bedridden. She had the boat insured with Boat U.S., so I just phoned them up to transfer coverage. After asking about my experience, they lowered the premium a good bit. Regarding coverage, I said to just keep everything the same as it was, including the agreed value of $15,300 which is what she paid for the vessel a year or two before. (Mind you, none could be found in the papers for anything under $12,500, and this one was in excellent condition, full compliment of sails, etc.) So they send me a bunch of pages, as promised, having told me to just sign 'em and return 'em with a check for the premium. I noticed that they said the engine was 10 years older than the boat, but shrugged it off. Such are details, right? Yes, but that's where the Devil is often found.

Three weeks later, while tied off on a seawall I'd rented (as the Mississippi was flooded and They weren't allowing anyone through,) a drunk barge pilot came the 200' across the Chicago River, slicing a 12' long gash into the Newport's hull, crushing both bulkheads, and kept on going. I wasn't on board at that moment, but was nearby. I came out, saw the damage and, as luck would have it, caught the vessel still waiting for a draw bridge to open. The Coasties would take 4 hours to get the pilot to answer. One can reasonably presume they were waiting for him to sober up first. Shortening up, CG report showed that they were primarily at fault, with me contributing by the fact that she was tied off there (even though it had been used for that purpose for years, including a 50' sailboat that had come in all the way from Italy.) But I don't have to worry, right, because Boat U.S. is YOUR advocate. What if your advocate is also your adversary. They didn't want to pay. Even their own surveyor said she was worth 12,500, and only got halfway through his inspection before agreeing that she'd been totaled. When they got to hunting up the Devil, they required proof that I'd paid $15,300 for her. I pointed out that I had never said that, that I had simply said to keep the same coverages. Blah, blah, blah, long story short? Since I hadn't PAID $15,300, they didn't want to pay for it... at all. Claiming that it was null and void from inception, they sent me back the premium (which my attorney said not to cash.) In short, I was screwed. Yes, I could file against them, and in a decaade or so when it got before an Illinois judge, I'd be awarded triple damages because of bad faith on their part. But who has money and time for all of that?

And what of the barge owner and pilot? Turns out the barge was owned by an ex state senator who has contracts with the city for the fireworks on the 4th of July, etc. Yet again, after jerking my chain for months, he finally admitted he wouldn't pay either.

I ended up selling her for just about what I'd paid, to some guy who thought he'd fix her back up. The sails and engine were worth that much or more... but if I'd sold her parts, I'd have had to pay for removal of hazardous waste (fiberglass hull). Was I burned? I think so, and it ended plans of a fantastic voyage.

That the politician didn't pay isn't surprising. It's Chicago. I hope somebody fixed his kneecaps for him over something like that on one day or another. But still... sucks but he wasn't the worst villain.

Boat US, on the other hand, was PAID to cover me. At the very least, they should have cut a check for what their surveyor said she was worth. Moreover, all that hyperbole about them being their members' advocate, and then they themselves put the screws to me?

No way will I EVER give them another red cent, let alone my trust.

Fair winds,

JT
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Old 20-03-2011, 22:53   #8
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smithy View Post
The quote for complete coverage from BoatUS wasn't bad, $116/annual, which included 100k per person liability/300k aggregate, with 850k+ fuel spill liability, supplimental medical, trailer, sporting equipment, uninsured boater, and towing coverage.

I'm not sure State Farm will come close to that, ...
Been searching for insurance for my next boat. The BoatUS quote was about half of State Farm's even though I have had blanket liability, car, and home insurance with SF for decades.
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Old 20-03-2011, 23:09   #9
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Been searching for insurance for my next boat. The BoatUS quote was about half of State Farm's even though I have had blanket liability, car, and home insurance with SF for decades.
Easy enough for the to offer low rates if they don't intend to pay.
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Old 20-03-2011, 23:27   #10
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

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Easy enough for the to offer low rates if they don't intend to pay.
What has been your personal experience with BoatUS?
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Old 20-03-2011, 23:32   #11
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

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What has been your personal experience with BoatUS?
Look at the post just above yours. I gave the long and short of it there.
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Old 21-03-2011, 07:07   #12
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

PTO, Yours is the first bad story about Boatus I have ever heard. You obviously didn't have an "agreed upon value" policy. There are two types of policies, agreed and depreciated. As to why they wouldn't pay anything, maybe they felt you put the boat in a barge fleeting area on purpose to get it totaled for profit. I am an insurance adjuster (not for Boatus), if you buy a boat real cheap, insure it for a lot, file a claim shortly thereafter, especially under questionably circumstances as docking where you did, you have raised about ever red flag possible.
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Old 21-03-2011, 07:15   #13
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

I had a liability only coverage from boat U.S. several years ago on a 26-foot boat I owned at the time. It was substantially less expensive. When I needed insurance for my current boat about 1.5 years ago, I was told that at that time, they still offered liability only for U.S. waters but not for the Bahamas which was what I needed.
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Old 21-03-2011, 10:00   #14
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

Actually, Ready2Go, it was supposedly an Agreed Value policy. They said they wouldn't pay anything because I hadn't paid the $15,300 that she had it covered for -- even though their own surveyor said it was worth $12,500 before the wreck. As to the rest of that justification, all I care to say is "Yeah, right. I bought a perfectly good boat, put it on an established spot on a seawall at a spot where the Chicago River is 200 feet wide, in HOPES that the Mississippi would flood and some barge pilot would happen to be drunk, happen to cross the whole freakin' river and lay into my vessel. Cuz it's so obvious that would happen to happen." I wasn't even on board at the time. If I'd had her out and some suspicious accident had her capsize, maybe. If I'd had an accident with her while under way, maybe (though that makes even less sense.)

This is the first time you've ever heard of a complaint. I just must be the least lucky person on the planet. First all of those little details collide, and THEN I'm the only one Boat US screwed over? Yet, (think about it) that happened over 15 years ago, and you're just now hearing about it for the first time. So how many others got burned by them that you just haven't heard about?

Mind you, while we're at it, that I only came to them because she was currently insured with them when I bought her. It should also be noted that I told the adjuster's supervisor that I would be happy to accept another identical vessel, with the caveat that I got to inspect her, not just take some unmaintained POS. Still no go. Dunno why, don't much CARE why. Bottom line is that they screwed me out of the vessel, and even got to keep the premium.

It obviously WAS an Agreed Value policy, as that's the only kind they wrote (at the time.)
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Old 08-12-2013, 14:47   #15
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Re: Boat US, Liability Only?

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Originally Posted by READY2GO View Post
PTO, Yours is the first bad story about Boatus I have ever heard. You obviously didn't have an "agreed upon value" policy. There are two types of policies, agreed and depreciated. As to why they wouldn't pay anything, maybe they felt you put the boat in a barge fleeting area on purpose to get it totaled for profit. I am an insurance adjuster (not for Boatus), if you buy a boat real cheap, insure it for a lot, file a claim shortly thereafter, especially under questionably circumstances as docking where you did, you have raised about ever red flag possible.
Why would you think tying up along a seawall is "questionable"? I see nothing questionable about what he did or this story. Really, what it brings into question is the integrity of BoatsUS, but I don't think the problem is confined to them.
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