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Old 22-01-2019, 20:45   #1
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Experience (and proof) for insurance?

Hey everyone,

I tend to over think and over plan. Paralysis by analysis. It is probably a non-issue, but...

Is there a point (measured in length, displacement, dollars, other) where an insurance company will ask for some documented form of experience before selling insurance to a new owner, or otherwise requiring a licensed captain be aboard for some period of time before I'm allowed on my own?

Similarly, is there an "acceptable" step size in moving from boat to bigger boat?

I started sailing with my dad at a young age and as I grew the boats did too. From a sunfish to a couple larger trailerables to a 23 footer with fixed keel to a 26 then to a 30 in my last years before heading off to college. As an adult I caught rides with friends when I could.

About 10 years ago I bought a very well used O'Day DS-II. (17 foot trailerable, 750 Lbs if you are not familiar.) Never thought to keep any sort of log book to prove my time.

Over the last couple of years the wife and I have been planning to get something bigger to cruise west Florida and possibly the Caribbean within the next year or so. Nothing huge or fancy. Production boat. Probably 5 to 15 years old, probably 30-35 feet, probably $50K to $75K.

Recently when discussing this in public, Mr. LoudAndOpinionated told me to expect to have to hire a captain for some period of time before we were allowed to sail on our own.

Is he full of hot air?

Should I start keeping a log book of my time? What is an insurance company going to ask for as proof?

As a practical matter, should we take smaller steps, maybe pick up an old Catalina 22 or something and sail her for a year to get fixed keel experience? Then a 27 then the 30?

Thanks.
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Old 22-01-2019, 21:29   #2
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

I have always been asked for what boats I have owned in the past and for how long. Occasionaly been asked for a sailing resume. While none of it needed to be documented, it makes no sense to lie on an insurance application. If it comes time for a multi hundred thousand dollar claim the company might do a little background checking and then nullify the insurance if you fraudulently applied.
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Old 22-01-2019, 21:34   #3
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

I would never want to deal with an insurance company that did not want proof of competence to operate the vessel in question.
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Old 22-01-2019, 23:13   #4
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

I have been a boat owner since 1984 and have never been asked for any sort of resume or certificate of competence by an insurance company however I tend to recall that some policy wordings require that I have appropriate licenses if required by regulatory authorities.

In Australia we have a number of state and federal regulatory regimes however they tend to only apply to boats with an engine over around 5 HP so it appears that whilst I am required to have a boat license if I have a 5.5 HP outboard on an 8' dingy I can quiet legally sail the "Cutty Sark" clipper ship all over the place without.
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Old 23-01-2019, 04:49   #5
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

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I have always been asked for what boats I have owned in the past and for how long. Occasionaly been asked for a sailing resume. While none of it needed to be documented, it makes no sense to lie on an insurance application. If it comes time for a multi hundred thousand dollar claim the company might do a little background checking and then nullify the insurance if you fraudulently applied.
I never intended nor expected to misrepresent anything. Only wanting to have "my ducks in a row" when purchase time came.
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Old 23-01-2019, 04:57   #6
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

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I would never want to deal with an insurance company that did not want proof of competence to operate the vessel in question.

That is fine, but how does one prove to an insurer that they are competent to operate, say, a Catalina 30 or a Hunter 33?

How many years does one own, for example, a Catalina 27 to "be ready" to step up to the 30 or 33?
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Old 23-01-2019, 05:05   #7
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

It really depends on the insurance company. My last years I was with BoatsUS/Geico. I do remember getting asked of what boat's I've owned in the past. But other then that they just wanted a recent survey. It was just for liability. Bluewater insurance they do want more info, like some qualifications and certain conditions of the boat like age of rigging. But again it depends on the company.
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Old 23-01-2019, 05:09   #8
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pirate Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

I have quals but I did not get them for insurance more for the freedom to travel beyond my shores.
Insurance forms if memory serves normally just ask for experience and/or any qualifications.
Like car insurance fees are affected by experience and lack of claims made.
You could go the liability only route the first year or two to create a history.
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Old 23-01-2019, 07:06   #9
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

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Originally Posted by RayRodriguez View Post
That is fine, but how does one prove to an insurer that they are competent to operate, say, a Catalina 30 or a Hunter 33?

How many years does one own, for example, a Catalina 27 to "be ready" to step up to the 30 or 33?
Its likely to vary by insurer...call up a broker and ask.

Ive never seen the specifics you are asking for listed. The underwriters likely have some standard they follow, but thats not published.

I had lots of documentable experience before ever buying my first mid-sized boat so never was an issue....hey, theres a novel ideal...build some experience first.
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Old 23-01-2019, 07:17   #10
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pirate Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

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Originally Posted by RayRodriguez View Post
That is fine, but how does one prove to an insurer that they are competent to operate, say, a Catalina 30 or a Hunter 33?

How many years does one own, for example, a Catalina 27 to "be ready" to step up to the 30 or 33?
Have you actually contacted/applied to an insurer yet for a quote for a hypothetical boat to see 1st hand the forms/questionnaire.???
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Old 23-01-2019, 08:21   #11
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

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Originally Posted by RayRodriguez View Post
Recently when discussing this in public, Mr. LoudAndOpinionated told me to expect to have to hire a captain for some period of time before we were allowed to sail on our own.

Is he full of hot air?
He is full of something all right. Does he have brown eyes?

This is total nonsense.
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Old 23-01-2019, 08:27   #12
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

You can document your experience if you wish but in 50 years no one has ever asked for it, not insurers, harbormasters etc. some companies offer a small discount for a safe boating course.
It would be helpful to have some one teach you how to handle a larger boat under power docking. I learned to motor on a 43' boat, after which a 30' boat feels like driving a Honda.
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Old 23-01-2019, 08:59   #13
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

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Have you actually contacted/applied to an insurer yet for a quote for a hypothetical boat to see 1st hand the forms/questionnaire.???
Actually, did just that with this a.m. We'll see what they come back with.

Since there are a lot of open variables yet, I didn't want to waste several agent's time with too many hypotheticals. That is why I was asking if there may be specific limits.

For example, if I told them 32 feet and liked the answers I got, then when I found the boat she was 35 feet 1 inch that this changed everything because the limit was 35 feet.

Yes, one might hope an agent would disclose that sort of thing at the start, but they may assume that "everyone knows..."

The US Coast Guard, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, have specific minimum safety equipment lists for boats of certain lengths and certain ages. It made sense to me that those cutoffs, or maybe others, were used by insurance companies in some manner.

The consensus on this board seems to be that if there are any such limits that they will be (insurance) company specific.

I'm trying to be prepared both on the questions to ask them and the questions that they will ask of me. The deer in the headlights look doesn't suit me nor inspire confidence in others.
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Old 23-01-2019, 09:23   #14
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pirate Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayRodriguez View Post
Actually, did just that with this a.m. We'll see what they come back with.

Since there are a lot of open variables yet, I didn't want to waste several agent's time with too many hypotheticals. That is why I was asking if there may be specific limits.

For example, if I told them 32 feet and liked the answers I got, then when I found the boat she was 35 feet 1 inch that this changed everything because the limit was 35 feet.

Yes, one might hope an agent would disclose that sort of thing at the start, but they may assume that "everyone knows..."

The US Coast Guard, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, have specific minimum safety equipment lists for boats of certain lengths and certain ages. It made sense to me that those cutoffs, or maybe others, were used by insurance companies in some manner.

The consensus on this board seems to be that if there are any such limits that they will be (insurance) company specific.

I'm trying to be prepared both on the questions to ask them and the questions that they will ask of me. The deer in the headlights look doesn't suit me nor inspire confidence in others.
I think they-re more interested in the value of the boat and the quality of the survey than the length.. some wont consider insuring boats less than a certain value.
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Old 23-01-2019, 10:48   #15
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Re: Experience (and proof) for insurance?

We were asked by a prospective insurer for a "resume'" when we bought our present boat.

I sent thumbnail sketches of our previous boats and the mileage and areas covered when sailing them along with a week old survey.

I received an email from the insurer stating that she had never seen such a great resume' - it was exactly what she needed.

Then declined to insure our (ferro) boat...

That's what they're looking for if you're asked. What you've owned previously, time, distance and area in which you sailed.
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