Originally Posted by Evenstar
a) Depends on a few things. Totally a personal choice.
1) Mortgage status of your boat; if there is one you will be required to get a hull policy without a doubt.
2) Your tolerance for risk/financial situation. Can you take the financial hit if you completely lose your boat? How about if your boat is massively damaged - will you be able to fix it? Will it end your cruising for good in either case?
3) Your sense of responsibility. Are you willing/able to clean up your messes out of your pocket if you make them? If your boat drags onto a half million dollar vessel, hooks his anchor and he ends up on the beach are you going to make good on his loss? He's probably insured with a boat worth 500K but he will still be out of pocket $10-15K in deductibles. What if it's an old boat only worth $20K and uninsured - are you going to make good out of your pocket, or are you OK saying "tough break pal" and walk away from something you caused? This is a personal values judgement; you may get sued trying to walk on damage you caused and can you afford that is another question.
Also if you intend to stay in marinas Liability may be required in some countries.
Note that international laws WRT to torts and liability may be quite different than the sue happy U.S.
b) Full vs. liability depends on the questions above as well, parts
1 & 2 need to be answered.
c) Relative cost...a hull policy is MUCH more than a liability policy.
d) I've used Pantaenius, Jackline, and a couple of others. We're dropping Pantaenius this year as they are increasing their premiums by more than 20% and our agent found us coverage with another company for about 75% of Pantaenius premiums. I've been told this is because of losses they suffered, not anything we did.
I had some...communication issues...with the Jackline program. I thought I'd communicated my itinerary precisely and got a great quote. Once the insurance was bound I found out it didn't include any Pacific coverage and I required an extra rider for the itinerary I'd told them about which added about $2,100 to the cost; this left me displeased since I'd dumped Pantaenius and the agent that had been insuring well me for a decade but couldn't match the price
. Ultimately we ended up canceling the policy before triggering the rider because paying the extra premium for our Pacific routes didn't make sense and went back to Pantaenius for our Pacific coverage West of Panama
To cancel that policy I dealt with Markel, the underwriter, directly. IMHO and that of my regular agent they jerked me around about cancelling the policy ("we need an original
signedletter from you, no faxes or e-mails...etc." - as if they don't know what a pain in the rear this is from abroad
). There are some marginal cancellation policies there that added extra fees
to the process and reduced my refunded unused premium more than I expected.
Our first year out cruising our agent worked the policy in an interesting fashion. He kept us insured with a U.S. coastal policy based on our home port since we were cruising the U.S. until November, then added a special rider on for our trip to the Caribbean
which of course was bracketed by hurricane
dates. This resulted in some not insubstantial savings over an global policy and was completely legitimate coverage - this is certainly an option for a short time cruiser who isn't going past the Carib. In our case we couldn't renew this plan since we weren't headed back to he U.S., but for the first year out it saved us a couple of thousand bucks writing it that way.
I've not had any claims yet, knock on wood.
We have only had one claim since full time cruising from 1995.
Our cat was dropped whilst being moved by a travel lift
whilst we were away. This happened at Finike, Turkey
. To add to the chaos they caused, they were replacing the teak deck
on an adjacent boat and they disconnected the rigging
- the mast
fell over and the spreaders punched through our saloon
windows. This boat we could not claim against as it had left the marina before we returned and the yard had 'lost' their details! This happened just after we had left the boat for three months at the beginning of a very wet winter. The rain poured into our boat. The saving grace was that the drop had split the hull open at the keel
/ hull interface and this allowed a lot of the water
to drain out! We were comprehensively insured through Pantaenius, Monaco. They sent a surveyor
who assessed the damage and then we had to sail the boat to Marmaris for repairs
. We patched the holed hull and saloon
window and delivered our boat to the appointed repairer. We were very unhappy with the final repairs (botched in our opinion) and initially had to pay for all the repairs ourselves and then claim back from Pantaenius. Despite written agreement / invoices etc Pantaenius made substantial deductions as they subsequently re-appraised the costs. We objected to the yard selected for the repairs as they obviously did not understand what was required. We saw zero compensation for additional costs like the travel lift and time spent ashore for the repairs. Nor were Pantaenius interested in helping with costs for a surveyor
to oversee the repairs nor our costs incurred during this period - flying back and forth etc. We also ended up paying for the replacement window and its transport as they claimed this was required to mitigate further damage. The list of issues and complaints were also forwarded to Pantaenius head
office. This did not help as they said it was totally in the hands of the Monaco office. We ended up with a third rate 'repair' which left us with a distorted aft and forward main bulkheads on the starboard side. The repairs to the hull/deck were also very insubstantial - I would have hesitated to stand the boat on its keels again like we used to. We ended up paying over 30% of the actual repairs ourselves in addition to the deductible. One lesson we learnt from this is that we shall not accept paying ourselves and then claiming back if we are placed in a similar future situation. You have zero leverage and the insurers are happy to delay refunding you for as long as you continue to disagree with them. After months of correspondence and numerous telephone calls we had to settle. Nowadays, with better finances behind us and better global resources available to us, we would challenge a company like Pantaenius at a higher level.
We refuse to re-insure with Pantaenius again after that experience and which we had no responsibilties in. We accept that others may have had good experience with Pantaenius but our experience was anything but satisfactory. We sold the boat without ever relaunching - at a very substantial loss.
Our other issue with Pantaenius was the constant need to define our precise cruising area. There were many limitations imposed and frequent bouts of zero liability to Pantaenius imposed. We accept that sailing parts of the N.W. Indian Ocean
has insurance risks but Pantaenius took the limitations to extremes.
To answer your Q's about what we would do if we caused loss to another boat or some form of other damage.......we are fortunate to have insurance to address this. If we did not have insurance then it would come down to whether we had the means to redress what we had done/caused. Our own (the one damaged in Turkey) boat was dragged down upon in East Africa
by a 30 ton steel
boat that took out our stb pull pit before hooking into our stb push pit - and having destroyed all our stanchions in between. He was uninsured as he could not afford insurance. What could we realistically do? We could have involved the authorities and had the boat impounded - and caused a young family
significant anguish. Perhaps this would cause them to appraise their lifestyles and to ensure they carried insurance in future. To be fair they could have immediately left the anchorage (it was a river) but they stayed to help us sort out the mess and over the following days helped jury rig the life lines as our eldest children
were only two years old at the time. We meet many boats that are not insured in any fashion and am unaware of them causing loss to others. These boats always seem to have very substantial anchoring
arrangement - except the boat that dragged onto us! People may chuckle, but that particular boat ended up with our spare 75lb CQR
anchor - yes, they gained from their brush with us as we donated it to them along with 30 meters of chain! We have generally found other yotties, and I mean true yotties, to be decent people and in our case they were truly remorseful about the damage to our cat. Obviously, we ended up out of pocket as we had to replace all the starboard side life lines arrangements. We have experienced other yotties generosity and am happy to reciprocate - we have donated spare hand held GPs's to other boats, and even a small outboard engine
. We are believers in what goes around, come around. We try and treat others as we wish to be treated. In turn we have had benefactors at critical times.
We usually try to avoid marina's but sometimes it is necessary to enter - usually to clear in thru' immigration & customs
. Sometimes we are asked for our insurance, but most often we are not. In Chagos
we are always asked to produce proof of insurance, and the marina's in South Africa
also ask for policy details - there are very few anchorages
there! No where else in the Indian Ocean
or Red Sea has ever asked us for insurance proof. In the Med we were frequently asked for a copy of our policy.
We are now about to switch to a New Zealand
based broker that has been recommended to us by several other cruisers.......