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Old 18-07-2010, 10:14   #1
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Lightning Strike and Insurance Claim

I was hoping to get some information from someone with perhaps some experience with insurance claims when hit by lightning.
We were struck by lightning a few days ago and it took out several of our electronics as well as both of our W-H autopilots (possibly can be repaired). My question is we just became insured with Pantenius a few months ago. I was wondering if putting a claim in for lightning damage would possibly cause our insurance company to not renew our policy in the future? I believe the damage at this point to be under 5K (if the autopilots can be fixed) which we would cover if putting a claim in would risk our future coverage.
Does anyone out there know how insurance companies in general view insurance claims for lightning damage?
Thank you,

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Old 18-07-2010, 11:40   #2
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I was hit by lightning 18 months ago. Pantenius were excelent and have not altered my premium.
Hope you can get everything sorted out.

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Old 18-07-2010, 11:42   #3
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Hi Jackie,

An excellent question and an answer I would like to hear as well. Have not had a lightening hit on my boat but had three strikes in 5 years on my house. Two of the strikes took out just about everything electronic in the house: TVs, stereo, portable phones, computers. The last strike we decided to not file for the very reason you mention.

I insure with BoatUS and would also be interested if people report different experiences with different carriers.

Have a friend whose boat was hit twice in one year. His was the only sailboat at a marina with house boats and power boats. Figured he was the best target in the area so he moved to another marina where there were bigger boats with nice, tall masts.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 18-07-2010, 14:22   #4
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Does anyone out there know how insurance companies in general view insurance claims for lightning damage
Insurance companies generally view lightning strikes as not at fault (How could they be?) so it should not affect your insurability. You should also know that you will very likely, over the course of the next 12 months, replace almost every piece of electronic gear on the boat,including a windlass if you have one. Some things don't fail immediately, they get partially damaged and then fail weeks or months later. Most insurance companies know this and keep the claim open for a year. Are you insured with Pantaenius US or UK? I'm not an agent of US, so can't speak to their policies, but I expect if they are giving you a no claims bonus, you will lose that. Pantaenius UK's no claims bonus is something like 3-5% of the policy premium. But the savings of any no claims bonus is probably way less than what you're going to pay out to replace all those electronics out of pocket. Just do the math.
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Old 18-07-2010, 16:26   #5
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Insurers shift their marketing and underwriting strategies frequently. An insurer that has a forgiveness policy for such a claim today could shift strategies and drop you in six months. But that's unlikely. Right now, the market for boat insurance is profitable and competitive, so insurers are looking for the business.

Go ahead and file your claim. That's why you buy insurance.
- Dennis Jay
Annapolis, MD USA
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Old 18-07-2010, 16:27   #6
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This is very helpful TabbyCat. I had not thought of the possibility of loosing more electronics in the future. Our list of casulties as of now are 2 autopilots, radar (old raytheon), 2 battery charges, chartplotter, windex, knot meter and anchor/strobe light....not too bad I suppose.
We are insured with Pantaenius US so not sure if we get a no claims bonus. I am happy with the fact that there is no deductable from what I understand for lightning damage so if we do make the claim there probably will be very little coming out of pocket on our end. I just do not want to risk loosing our insurance with them over this claim but in the end if we do end up loosing more of our electronics it may be worth the risk.
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Old 18-07-2010, 18:12   #7
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Sorry to hear about your problems.
I had the same problem a year ago (The Ligthning Strike)
There was no problem renewing and the premiums did not go up.
I had a few minor item that I missed ( engine hour meters and rudder sensor), not worth contacting the insurance company for.
I felt I was treated fairly, they had an adjuster there the next day. There was a slight delay getting the check that I chalk up to a paperwork snafu.
I was satisfied and stayed with the company.

Good luck with your repairs
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Old 18-07-2010, 18:36   #8
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I was struck within weeks of purchasing and insuring my boat. Boat US paid the claim and dropped me. That may have been different if they hadn't deemed my boat "totalled" as a result of the strike, I'm not sure. They did tell me they have a policy against insuring totalled boats. I initially had trouble finding a replacement insurer. but eventually that worked out too.

I concur with those suggesting that the extent of the damage is difficult to assess early on -- you want to report it and be very involved in the post strike survey process. Educate yourself before the surveyor / assessor gets there.

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Old 22-07-2010, 15:46   #9
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Jackiet -- first please do not think this is a small issue with a few electronics and that is all - get a qualified aduster on board and have them go thru every thing and i mean everything -
we got hit and it was over $20k in damage and no our insurance com did not drop us or increase our premium -
you will be major surprised by what may have been damaged from the nav lights to the windlass to the pumps to the reefer to the insturments to the main and jib if you inmast furling like we did - it burned our main sail - to your batteries - it took out out starter battery but not the house batteries to the blower for the engine cooling - to the vhf to the coax up the mast - we lost both the radio and had to replace the coax as it got burned -
please get a full assessment from an adjuster and if he is good and your insurance company may require it anyway please make sure he checks everything electrical

just our experience
chuck patty and svsoulmates
on the hook st marys city, md

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