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Old 19-01-2019, 05:32   #1
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How often is your insurer requesting a survey

With our new insurance policy this past November I noticed a change in the survey requirements. They now want an out of water survey every three years. We pull every two years for maintenance and bottom paint so this really doesnít fit my schedule. Prior to this it was every 5 years and in reality got done every four years. Our last survey was good, a couple of very minor mentions that I dealt with in a few hours, the hull got a better than average in the survey. I sent our broker a note about the interval and just got a reply saying that this is the way it is...no explanation.
So I am just curious as to others experience with this, our boat was built in 1995 in case that matters.
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Old 19-01-2019, 06:25   #2
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

We have a 1985 Steel hull, last I heard, 2 years ago, they wanted one every 5 years with a ultra sound.

3 years seems excessive.
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Old 19-01-2019, 07:55   #3
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

Thanks hpeer. I sent an email to the surveyor that did our last survey, he thinks it is excessive as well. Interested to get some more replies, if this seems to be somewhat unique to me there must a reason and they are keeping it to themselves. Enough feedback and I can press them for an explanation.
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Old 19-01-2019, 08:00   #4
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

It depends on the underwriter. Insurance agents have no control over their requirements as they are simply salespeople. If it is unacceptable to you, your recourse is to find another underwriter.
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Old 19-01-2019, 08:29   #5
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

We have had a policy from Topsail for about three years now (after Pantaenius Ďfiredí us for going twenty years without a claim) and not only have they never asked for a current survey but they wrote our policy based on a 10-year old survey.

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Old 19-01-2019, 09:49   #6
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

I have a 46' fiberglass Moody 2000 sailboat. The insurance company (not the agent) required a Condition and Valuation Survey last fall to include out-of-water inspection.

I do not know how often a C&V survey is required. The previous survey was done in 2013 when I purchased the boat. Somewhere between 2013 and 2016 the insurance company I had at that time (not the current one) wanted a survey, but I was able to fend that off by asking them to use the 2013 purchase survey. The current company insisted on a survey. I do not know the frequency of such future requirements. When I called the surveyor to make the arrangements last fall, he was surprised that an 18 year old boat needed a C&V survey.

A C&V survey is not inexpensive (the survey and haul-out together ran close to a thousand). I have agreed value coverage on the boat, and while I concede the insurance company has an interest in what condition the boat is maintained, I suspect valuation is largely determined by comparable sales, not necessarily boat condition.

Most people, when insuring a vessel, will seek insurance to cover their interest in the boat--what they paid for it in case of a total loss. Market (comparable) value will fluctuate but the owner's interest (the purchase price) will not. He pays an extra premium for agreed value coverage that is higher than a policy that insures the actual cash value of the vessel.

Anyway, like the owner, the insurer has a financial interest in the condition of the boat, so the question is what should be the frequency of the period when the insurer checks on condition? Is there an industry standard? In my case, it was five years. Is that reasonable?
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Old 19-01-2019, 10:11   #7
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

We have not been asked to get another survey since we purchased the boat and bought our Markel Jackline policy in 2013. However, the policy wording was changed last renewal period. This is from our most recent 2019 policy.

***
3.1 Exclusions
Nevertheless, there are exclusions that apply in addition to those appearing in Section 2, General Conditions and Exclusions, those being:

3.1.1 Occurrences caused or contributed to by normal wear and tear, corrosion or other gradual deterioration including but not limited to marring, denting, scratching, weathering, rotting, molding, mildewing, rusting, electrolysis, galvanic action, osmotic blistering and infestations of marine growth, insects and vermin. However, resulting Hull loss to the Vessel caused by fire, explosion, sinking, collision or stranding is covered.

We will also pay for a resulting Hull loss to the Vessel for a dismasting if a professional rig inspection was completed within 24 months from the date of the occurrence and any deficiencies that were identified with the standing rigging or chain plates were remedied as recommended and the work was completed by a professional rigger.
***
So, unless we have the rig inspected every two years, they won't cover a hull loss due to a dismasting. (The rig itself is covered - unless the loss occurs when the boat is involved in a race.)
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Old 19-01-2019, 10:22   #8
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

Weíve now gone seven years with our current insurance provider, but they are now demanding a survey for the coming season. They say they want one every five years, but weíve never had a claim, so maybe that gives them more leeway. Anyway, itís prompting for me to shop around.

I would walk away from a company that demanded a survey every three years. Five still seems to be the standard.

The whole survey system boils my britches. A survey is being demanded by the insurance company so they can assess their risk, and it price accordingly. Itís their tool, so why arenít they managing and paying for it?

The cost of a survey is no small thing. Itís out of the water, on top of actual survey costs, there are also the fees associated with haul out. And then there are the additional logistical costs of finding and arranging for the surveyor.

I bet the whole survey PITA system is what drives some to go uninsured.
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Old 19-01-2019, 11:00   #9
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Weíve now gone seven years with our current insurance provider, but they are now demanding a survey for the coming season. They say they want one every five years, but weíve never had a claim, so maybe that gives them more leeway. Anyway, itís prompting for me to shop around.

I would walk away from a company that demanded a survey every three years. Five still seems to be the standard.

The whole survey system boils my britches. A survey is being demanded by the insurance company so they can assess their risk, and it price accordingly. Itís their tool, so why arenít they managing and paying for it?

The cost of a survey is no small thing. Itís out of the water, on top of actual survey costs, there are also the fees associated with haul out. And then there are the additional logistical costs of finding and arranging for the surveyor.

I bet the whole survey PITA system is what drives some to go uninsured.
I find this all interesting. I had a survey done when I bought my current boat in 2007. BOATUS did not ask for another one until I wanted to go to Hawaii in 2015, so I got one but was delayed a year until 2016. Enroute to the coast I got the required rig inspection. Nothing has been required since (4 years).

On my previous boat purchased in 1995, BOATUS never asked for another survey beyond the first one over the 11 years of ownership.

Please mention your insurer's name when posting on this subject.

Perhaps survey requirements are tied to switching insurance carriers and/or offshore travel and areas to be sailed.

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Old 19-01-2019, 12:22   #10
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

Last time my insurance anted a survey I asked if I could do it myself. They spent me a form for want they wanted checked and various photos of stuff they wanted.

Never would have known it was possible if I hadnít asked.
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Old 19-01-2019, 12:58   #11
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Last time my insurance anted a survey I asked if I could do it myself. They spent me a form for want they wanted checked and various photos of stuff they wanted.

Never would have known it was possible if I hadnít asked.
Thatís great news, and excellent advice . My insurance broker told me I needed to use an approved surveyor. Good to know there are options.
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Old 19-01-2019, 13:07   #12
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Itís their tool, so why arenít they managing and paying for it?
I'm not a fan of insurance companies for issues other than those under discussion. However, on this issue I see their side.

You want us to insure your boat for $200k ? Sure but you have to prove to us that it's worth $200k.

Makes sense to me.
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Old 19-01-2019, 13:40   #13
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
I'm not a fan of insurance companies for issues other than those under discussion. However, on this issue I see their side.

You want us to insure your boat for $200k ? Sure but you have to prove to us that it's worth $200k.

Makes sense to me.
Why do they care? If I want to insure it for $200k, then theyíll set my rate based on their established pricing. I donít see how it is relevant to them what the boat is actually worth in the case of agreed value.

I understand the value in knowing the state of the boat in order to assess risk. But that is the information the insurance company needs to provide me with a quote for their service. Therefore it is THEIR cost of doing business.

As a business owner you donít demand that your customer fund your proposal costs, do you? That would be like me demanding my publishers pay for me researching and writing my next story proposal. That would be great, but thatís not typically how businesses operate.

I can get house insurance without a survey. I can get car insurance. Yes, I understand these are more mass-market items, but given the quality of most insurance surveys (yours excluded, Iím sure), it seems to me itís more of a bureaucratic check box than a real value item. Yet it is a real cost, and an even bigger PITA to many boaters.
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Old 19-01-2019, 13:49   #14
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

Mike,
Last spring we bought an older Nissan Pathfinder as our Isuzu Trooper was beyond rational repair. The insurance company required I bring the vehicle in to have an agent observe the vehicle.

Frankly with the exception of a few I’ve been grossly underwhelmed by he majority of surveyors I’ve had dealings with. There is a guy in aft Lauderdale who is very good and some great rig inspectors, who I was NOT required to use, who inspected our rig. They were well with the money. The rest? Not so much. And ultrasounds in a Steel boat are a joke.

Last year I flipped when, after explicitly asking, twice, the day after launching the insurance agent wanted a survey. They settled for an in water survey and a in-water hull survey. For this in water hull survey I asked them “What the hell is that?” And got back “Just ask a diver who does it, they will know.” Of course the divers said “What the hell is that “. I hired a guy who asked me when I last inspected the hull out of water, I said 2 weeks ago. He handed me a receipt right then and there. Said recipe was written on an old generic reciepults form. I gave him he fee, it was modest, he initially declined to charge me.

There is a longer more interesting story about ultra sounds that requires several beers. It’s all bull.
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Old 19-01-2019, 14:02   #15
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Re: How often is your insurer requesting a survey

My general experience (in Australia) is a survey is required (1) when you start with the company, and (2) every 5 years. However when the company I had for a few years increased the premium by 20% in one year, I went looking. Most wanted an out of water no more than a year old (which I had). So I got almost the same cover for the previous year's price. But in my search I did find a couple which did not require a survey. I was a bit suspicious of them because, as experience shows, the real crunch is when you make a claim and they dispute every little thing. But an out-of-water survey does cost around $1000 AUD (haul-out and survey), so that cost has to be added to the premium (@20% p/a). Three years is excessive. But what I learnt (as with other insurances - house, car, etc) is; shop around by phone and "let your fingers do the walking".
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