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Old 28-05-2008, 07:24   #16
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I too am insured with Progressive and my vessel is documented - always has been.

The problem IMO is that Progressive has gotten into the marine insurance without knowing too much about it. They tend to handle boat insurance as though they were cars.

Two quick examples:

I pay an extra premium because I'm single. Doesn't matter that I'm 58 years old. Doesn't matter that I hold a Coast Guard license, single dudes are higher risk for boating dontcha know. Oh and don't forget that because of the license I can be co-opted into the military along with my boat.

At first they refused to give me coverage to the Bahamas. The reason, is that I only have a single engine. Eventually they gave me the coverage after pointing out that I owned a sail boat but it took a few calls.


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Old 28-05-2008, 12:15   #17
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OK let's stop bashing Progressive. They are a fine company. But, yes, they are more focused on Automobiles, Snowmobiles, Personal Watercraft; Yachts are not their primary target customers. I'll ask my contact there and see what they say about documentation. Companies with Marine Specialty divisions like Markel, Zurich, Travelers, Ace, etc. all expect you to be documented if you have a loan on the boat.

By the way, for those of you with Progressive policies heading for the Bahamas: their standard navigation in the policy booklet reads "Ocean waters 50 miles or less from the US or Canada, but not including the territory or territorial waters of any country other than the United States or Canada". Some of you may have an endorsement that allows you to go the Bahamas, others might not.

I always advise my clients to get any endorsement that would alter the above navigation in writing on the insurance company's letterhead - do not trust your insurance agent "just because they told you it was OK". Some agents who sell home, auto, life & boat insurance are not as knowledgeable about marine insurance, since it's not their specialty.
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Old 28-05-2008, 19:42   #18
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I have been both documented and undocumented on boats that I have owned and although documenting can be a pain, I think it is the preferred way to go. It didn't make too much difference going into Canada, but the Mexicans certainly preferred it. They wanted copies of my documentation papers for everything. But once you know that, you just make up a bunch of copies and just hand them out.
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Old 29-05-2008, 13:05   #19
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Answer from Progressive

I have been in touch with Progressive regarding the original post. They responded that they do NOT cancel policies when a boat becomes documented. However, they may cancel a policy if the information in the USCG documentation does not match what Progressive has in their files.

For example, if the insurance was written for a personal use 50' fiberglass yacht and a search of the documentation number shows it is a commercial vessel, 60' long and made of wood, then the policy would be canceled since a commercial wood vessel does not qualify for Progressive's Personal Use Watercraft policy.

If the person who was canceled still thinks they were canceled without reason, have the person contact me and I will try and get the vessel re-written with Progressive (if that is what they want).
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Old 29-05-2008, 13:33   #20
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I have been in touch with Progressive regarding the original post. They responded that they do NOT cancel policies when a boat becomes documented. However, they may cancel a policy if the information in the USCG documentation does not match what Progressive has in their files.

Figures there is more to this story than originally stated. Usually is.
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Old 29-05-2008, 21:50   #21
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Orion, years ago I threw out some old documentation pros/cons papers thinking they could easily be replaced. One of them mentioned that a purpose fo documentation IS to provide the government with a quick list of assets to be commandeered in time of war. Please note that even without your permission or a list--the government could declare your shoes and socks "necessary wartime materiel" and probably take them too.

And, if you are a US citizen aged 18-45 and not employed in a list of "essential" roles (postal carriers, dockworkers, quite a list) you may be surprised to know that you are legally responsible to serve when called in the state or federal militia. That call-up notice is usually performed by a US military draft notice. Your boat? If it can't fit in your footlocker, it ain't going with you anyway.<G>

I don't know the legal status, but in WW2 civilian yachts WERE INDEED USED off the Northeast for antisubmarine patrol and coastwatching. The idea was "lots of cheap eyes" that essentially were undetectable to the enemy. No radar return, no acoustic return, damn hard to see and cheap to run. So yes, in the event of a similar need for "coast watch" the odds are someone would pull out the documentation roles (and the state registration rolls) and just pick away.

Can your insurer drop you for fulfilling your legal obligations as a citizen in time of war? I don't know, but if you can get that conversation on tape, I'd bet you could get half of Progressive's customers to leave them.

I've looked at the USC and CFR over the years and never did find all the pros and cons that documentation used to convey. In some ways the internet is making it very easy for folks to rewrite history. Too easy.
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Old 30-05-2008, 03:53   #22
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According to the book Operation Drumbeat the private yachts (and airplanes) that acted as sub patrols were volunteered, not commandeered. Interestingly, that was the formation of the Civilian Air Patrol, still active but non military in nature today.

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Old 30-05-2008, 04:30   #23
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Documentation started as a method for allowing US flagged vessle to pass ports of entry without the need to to be searched for goods subject to tarrifs. This was done back in the early 1800's as a favor to wealty yacht owners. Pleasure boats didn't really exists much before the early 1800's.

While private yachts may have been used in WW II (the last declared war). None were forced into service as a result of having been documented. The last time personal property was confiscated was in the the 1860's by both northern and southern armies. Even back then they were paid, though often the currency was worthless. Yachts in the very earliest days of the US were not small and for the most part only owned by the exceptionally wealthy. In those times those vessles could have carried cargo or done other duty small as it might have been. At the time documentation was written the US had an almost nonexistent Navy.

Currently there is no draft in effect and draftees 18 to 45 have never be forced into military service except southern troops during the war of the 1860's. Neither WW I or WW II ever drafted soildiers as old as 45 though enlisted men and officers continue to serve older than 45.

The whole concept of civilian recreational vessles being used in a time of war is clearly laughable. In history you can't cite any time when being documented alone was enough to force a boat into millitary service - ever! To extend it further to say you as the captain could be foreced as well is clearly beyond foolish.

There are no disadvantages to documentation and in fact the method of title registration is far superior than all the state systems and is totally portable. It does require US Citizenship and minimum gross tonnage requirements.

There can be situations where natural disasters and other serious incidents might benefit from the use of private vessles but unless volunteered they could be of little use. As a miltary platform against modern weapons they are worthless. As a part of a terrorist plot they could have benefit given a rental truck was once used to deliver a bomb and the African Queen sunk a german patrol boat albeit only in the movies.
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Old 30-05-2008, 04:31   #24
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They just want to get out of that business, I would venture. ANY legal excuse is enough for the state insurance commission.
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Old 30-05-2008, 05:47   #25
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The Hooligan Navy:

From: The Corsair Fleet

"In early 1942, German U-boats were sinking ships off American shores with impunity. The Navy found itself desperately short of small craft needed to protect coastal shipping.
On March 5, 1942, the Cruising Club of America offered the Navy’s Eastern Sea Frontier Command the loan of auxiliary sailing yachts between 50-and 90-feet, with skippers and skeleton crews..."
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Old 30-05-2008, 07:02   #26
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I was told that Progressive would not insure live aboard boats by my insurance agent. Is your boat a live aboard????
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Old 30-05-2008, 10:29   #27
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There are no disadvantages to documentation and in fact the method of title registration is far superior than all the state systems and is totally portable.
I would respectfully disagree with that statement. Perhaps it was once true. You even mention both disadvantages in your first post.
1. Easier to protect your assets with state registration. With a Documented boat a Federal marshal can just lock it up and put a sticker on it anywhere in the country if there is ever a judgement against your assets, even if they were unrelated to the boat. That's why banks want you to be documented if they give you a loan, easier to take the boat back. (note: I don't want to come across like a criminal or trying to beat the system, but many people go to much more trouble to hide/protect their assets than this)
2. It's just another fee that you have to pay that offers you no real benefit. Many states, like Florida, still require you to get state registered even if you are documented. But you don't have to be documented if you are state registered. Why pay twice to be legal? It's unfortunate that the states can get away with making you pay twice, but since the Federal govt allows them to, why pay to be registered in both systems?
The only reason that I'm aware of to ever document a recreational vessel is if you are voyaging well off the beaten path to foreign countries that may be confused by a state registration.
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Old 30-05-2008, 10:54   #28
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1. Easier to protect your assets with state registration.
Unless you are a lien holder that actually owns the boat title. Documentation assures that someone can't steal the boat and reregister it in another state. Lien holders prefer it. Many won't write a loan without it. It is usually cheaper over time to document a boat since there is no annual USCG fee just the $86 (that was 2 years ago) for the transfer fee when you document it. State systenms usually run for several years and you must renew it as long as you own it. You "use fees" are of course the same so are not at issue.

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Many states, like Florida, still require you to get state registered even if you are documented.
There is no state that can require state registration on a documented vessle, but they can collect a use sticker fee that would be in addition to a registration fee if it were state registered. MD does this too. In VA you would pay registration each 4 years and after a few cycles you are not ahead of documenting. It is ilegal to state register a documented boat. You can't register a title to something in two different places. Your FL use fee is not a registration fee.

Registration is assurance of title and nothing more. It has nothing what so ever to do with local rules and regulation. When you buy a documented boat you know for sure that the title is clear. You also know that someone can't forge the title or reregister it under a new name. State registration systems are fought with poor processes. FL is actually one of the worst.

You have no more or less "protection". If someone wants to file a mechanics lien it is the exact same process. Documentation encumbers the title just the same. You file it at the loacl couthouse and the sherrif serves a warrant. My mechanic did this to a deadbeat customer just a few weeks ago. He was paid within 24 hours.
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Old 30-05-2008, 18:22   #29
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"2. It's just another fee that you have to pay that offers you no real benefit. "
I don't recall the laws to cite and haven't checked to see how they may have changed in the last decade, but once upon a time documentation conferred special rights to the crew (might be from a Jones Act--there are several acts referred to by that name) and IIRC that included the captain, where if you are stranded or injured in a foreign port, the State Department was required to repatriate you and aide you--which it is generally NOT required to do for casual wanders.

Make no mistake about it, Uncle Sam has been getting real good about burying laws in other laws (read the appendixes in any recent omnibus defense or budget bill, you'll find a hundred totally unrelated things usually described in terms chosen to elude search engines and require human eyes) but somewhere, someone, knows this stuff.

Maybe the mods could invite an admiralty law class to earn extra credit researching odd topics like this for a pro bono project.
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Old 31-05-2008, 14:31   #30
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<snip>
I have had 2 claims, one for a stolen dinghy, and one for a lightning strike.
<snip>
George
On no, George, now that you've let the "cat" out of the bag, the feds are undoubtedly going to commandeer you and your boat first, since you're clearly bulletproof (survived the lightning strike) and you can't go over the hill (lost your dinghy)!

From just such unanticipated circumstances is heroic sacrifice thrust on the unsuspecting.

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