Insuring a boat for long range cruising is not easy to get, is expensive, and not available for single
handers under any circumstances. You can get local area insurance, even if that local area is the West or East Coast
of the US, at a pretty reasonable cost. The area of coverage is spelled out in the insurance and normally only covers to a certain number of miles offshore
. You can either change the covered area with your current
company or buy local insurance for a given area as you move about at reasonable cost. The only problem with this coverage, it's a cost problem, is coverage in hurricane
prone areas. You'll be insured but may have to take a cost hit to be covered once you move your boat into such an area. Do not hide facts from the insurance company. If you are changing your area of use, tell them about it and pay the extra cost, if any. Don't assume you'll be covered if you sail into an hurricane
area even if it is only for a short time. The easiest way for an insurance company to make a profit is to not pay a claim because you broke the contract
by not telling them pertinant information.
The problem is insuring a boat for the trip in between the land masses if it involves blue water
. I was insured on the West Coast
and could get insurance in Hawaii
but not for the waters in between. Tried to get the trip covered but as soon as they heard single
handed, the insurance agents quit talking to me. Seems the magic number of crew is 3. Never got into any other requirements that they had because the conversation was dead for me when they required crew.
I used to have liability only coverage on my boat, a 41 year old Pearson
sailboat for less than 1/2% of value. Because the value of the boat, felt comprehensive coverage was useless on a cost/benefit basis. Would not go without liability coverage, however. The cost of an accidental fuel
spill, damaging someone else's property or someone being injured on my boat, was just too great to even think about. A simple clunk on the head
by the boom could balloon into 6 figures or more with a greedy individual and disrepeputable, aren't they all but yours, attorney. Had a friend who had to suffer through such a suit who had a guest break his nose through sheer stupidity on the guests part.
On SF Bay
, went with Boat US for the liability coverage. They required a current survey
but I had a a purchase
survey that sufficed and that was the only 'issue' they had. When I got ready to leave for Kona, got the rude awakening that Boat US didn't issue coverage in Hawaii
so had to find another insurer. Did some research
and got Hawaii coverage from Markel. They required a survey but accepted the, by then 3 years old, purchase survey. In talking with the agent, found I could get full coverage on the boat for a reasonable additional amount. Only wrinkle was they wanted an additional 'rig' survey to cover the mast
. Bought the insurance and was covered as soon as I was X miles from Hilo. So now have full coverage for a little over 1 1/2% of value. Still haven't gotten a rig survey but will when I get close to a surveyor
. When I get around to taking the boat to the PNW, Markel will cover me when I get there. The age of the boat has never been an issue with any of the insurance agents I dealt with. Apparently they were happy as long as it passed survey.
Every where I've been, liability coverage has been required. No one except the State of Hawaii Boating
Division has actually checked, however. All marinas required insurance and had a box on the slip application for the company name but just putting a name in the box sufficed. Will probably take a transient boat catching fire and taking other boats with it before the operators get diligent in asking for proof.
There is a name for Newt's idea, it's called a Mutual Insurance Company. There are a lot of them out there and some are really really big, just google
for Mutual in the name. Still have all the 'Insurance Company" problems of costs, fraudualent and actual claim, and investing the member
contributions for a profit.