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Old 31-08-2006, 09:15   #1
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Boat Insurance

I noticed, while looking through the Noonsite website, that many countries require documentation showing that your boat is insured.

I wasn't planning on insuring my boat once I left on my circumnavigation. I was going to follow the philosophy of preparing myself and the boat to minimize chances of losing her. A boat insurance premium is an expense I'd rather do without as I'll be cruising on a VERY limited budget. (I'm guessing it would be very expensive to insure a boat that will be crossing oceans and sailing in foreign waters.)

I would appreciate comments from people who:
  • Carry insurance on ocean-voyaging sailboats
  • Have traveled to countries requiring insurance but didn't have it
  • Have thoughts about the pros and cons of sailing without (or with) insurance
Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Jay White
S/V Dove
1962 Pearson Triton, #318
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Old 31-08-2006, 11:25   #2
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These insurance requirements are probably for liability insurance, not for hull insurance on your boat. Many marinas here in the states will have the same requirement. Some insurers will issue liability-only policies (I have one through BoatUS) but I'm not sure they will cover you around the globe.

Tim Allen
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Old 31-08-2006, 14:46   #3
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If you stand on the fuel dock @ YRYH and look up stream on Sarah Cr. you'll see my boat.

Liability could be a serious problem should something bad happen in a far away palce. With no insurance they throw you in jail until they can get around to deciding how they can make you pay.

You may never be asked for insurance but if it becomes a liability issue some one will ask.
Paul Blais
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 31-08-2006, 21:59   #4
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Dunno that it is required - my friend, Mike (s/v Miki -this forum) sailed around the world without insurance of any kind. I believe that most place, provided you aren't planned on spending a long time there, don't require any insurance. If you are planning on staying long term, their insurance probably wouldn't cover you and they may require you to have some then.

On a different note: I suspect that like most folk, I thought my insurance would cover me within the boundries specified in my contract. There is the added parameter of 'within certain time frames'. When I was planning on heading down to Mexico, I wanted to leave with the Baja haha (a West Coast thing). They leave right around October 30th. My insurance would NOT cover me South of their boundry (Just South of Ensenada) until AFTER November 15 (that was two years ago - NOW,it is November 30).

And it isn't a simple 'well, if nothing happens between when I leave and when the insurance would cover me, then no biggie'. ***BUZZZZZZZZ*** WRONG! If there is any way (and there are multiple) they can find that you left the defined area PRIOR to the dates they have specified, your insurance is NULL AND VOID ... PERIOD! And good luck getting a refund. Hahaha... Keep that in mind.

Oh .. and one more thang - for you single handers out there - they won't cover you period. Crew of two <-- minimum.
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:30   #5
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Regarding boat insurance. If you can't enter a certain country without carrying liability insurance then there are only two choices-either carry the required insurance or do not enter the country. Of course what countries "require" and what they actually enforce could be different. You would need local knowledge for that. I would carry liability if I could find someone to write it for me. Just as here in the States, I would not want to bear the possible expense of what would result if my boat were to damage someone else's life or property. Have you ever seen the havoc that a boat dragging anchor in a crowded anchorage can cause when winds are blowing 30+ knots? Your boat could possiblly come away unscathed but you could still lose it in the legal problems that would surely follow. Or if your actions (accidental though it may be) hurt someone, you could possibly land in jail in a third-world country while your assets would be used up paying a lawyer to defend you (and this is after finding one who could speak your language.) I would expect that liability-only insurance would be fairly inexpensive if your "Dove" were the boat you were insuring. If you were cruising on a 50-footer then it would cost you a bunch more. And as S/V Elusive says--no insurance for single handers on a circumnavigation. As the old saying goes, "you pays your money and you takes your chances." In this case, "you don't pays your money and you take MORE chances." Good luck.
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Old 03-09-2006, 12:49   #6

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"Oh .. and one more thang - for you single handers out there - they won't cover you period. Crew of two <-- minimum. " That's not surprising, since a solo crew has to sleep SOMEtime and by definition, if you are asleep you are not keeping a proper watch and that pretty much guarantees the insurer will have to make a payout in any incident. I can't disagree with them on that.

There was some ruckus a couple of years ago from Oz or NZ because boats were being IMPOUNDED if they came and and didn't meet the safety requirements in place, rather than being turned back out. IIRC that was changed after the ruckus but it is still something to consider. Once you are in sovereign may not be allowed to just leave.
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Old 07-09-2006, 17:47   #7
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Most yacht clubs in Australia will require at least liability insurance before they will allow you to berth. In fact, in most cases, they do not actually ask to see your policy, or even, necessarily, quote a policy number. They will usually ask you if you have insurance though, and usually, who is the insurer...
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Old 07-09-2006, 18:43   #8
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I wouldn't leave home without it

We have insurance for trans atlantic, and back and forth to the Carib from NY. I have even found insurance from a US carrier for Around the horn.

You dont want to get into a lawsuit in a far off land. in a number of Caribbean islands the marinas want to see your insurance. i have also seen this in Guernsey, France, Lisbon, , and the Canaries.
fair winds,
Amel Super Maramu
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Old 16-12-2006, 16:11   #9

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The only insurance I ever had was on my first boat while I was building it. When I wanted insurance for after the launching , my broker offerd me a policy which covered lightning ( we get a lightning storm here in BC once very few years, ) fire ( there was niether heating appliance nor inboard engine on the boat at the time) and theft of entire vessel ( the boat wan't rigged) I told him where to shove his policy and never bought one since.
By the time I lost that boat on a Fijian coral reef , I saved more by not having insurance that it cost to replace.
What insurance would have cost was enough to pay for the two years I spent cruising the south Pacific.
I'll be damned if I will pay a corporation to tell me how many people I have to put up with while cruising.
The only other insurance experience I had was when I made a claim for medical insurance I bought from Travel Underwrtiters Worldwide mediclaim. They simply refused to pay. Others dealing with them had similar experiences.I thus don't have much faith in promises made on an insurance form.
My 3/16th steel hull, and the knowledge of how to rebuild her easily and quickly, is the only insurance I feel I need.
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Old 16-12-2006, 18:34   #10
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Just my opinion on insurance.
Insurance in my eyes is a must have evil, not only to protect your boat but to protect you and your assets. Water ways are getting busier by the day increasing the chances of "accidents"
I had one Captain on my boat "accidentally" tap the stern of another sail boat that had illegally died to my dock. Final cost on this little tap was almost ten thousand dollars for repairs. I truly was waiting for this couple then to later sue me for whiplash. Make sense to you? Not to me.
When you damage someone else's property you are expected to pay for it to be repaired, not repair it yourself, but rather have a so called Marine Specialist repair the damage. This is pretty much the way it is the world over.
I do not think that I am a superhero who is immune from having an "accident" with my boats, be it a ten thousand dollar day sailor or a seven hundred thousand dollar blue water cruiser. "Sh..t happens"
There are a lot of live-aboards out on an adventure who's majority net worth is tied up in the vessels. The loss of the vessel or and "accident" could wipe them out.
Typically in the past insurance was in relation to boat value, course, certificates archived, years of experience, number of years insured, amount of coverage required and claims reported. It is a very simple calculation when looking at a North American sailing passages, however everything changes when it comes to leaving he waters surrounding the US and Canada.
As we are all aware over the past few years the cost of insurance premiums is almost a magic number pulled out of a hat. As we search for our next boat project I have also been doing a little foot work on the insurance front, as my rates for my Florida kept vessels has almost tripled. I am quit amazed to find that most companies will not allow policies for single hand cruisers, will not hold coverage for gulf crossings, will not cover in Central or South America, will not, will not... Oh and before I forget they will not touch older boats..
"WILL NOT" So with that and my firm belief that insurance is a must not a luxury I will have to take another approach to finding insurance, as a responsible person I will not set out without insurance.
I am sure there are many other people in the same boat when it comes to his issue. Looking forward to hearing your replies, who use may use to cover your escapes through Mexico, central and south America etc.
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Old 16-12-2006, 18:47   #11
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Now THAT is a priceless picture!!!
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Old 17-12-2006, 05:47   #12
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cchris0411 can you tell how to get to that boat on the beach i need some parts for my boat?! just kidding! hope that never ever happens to us poor souls
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Old 18-12-2006, 13:51   #13
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Just a little update on the insurance front.
There is another thread on the go with a list of other carriers located here:

Today in the mail I received a letter from the company that outlined a comparable realistic quote for insurance. The company is Blue Water Yacht Insurance Company. The typical Insurance company that uses various binders.
In the past all of this was handled by someone in my office. Now that I am taking on more of these items I am getting a little bit of a surprise.
I can understand a little bit more the point of view where it may be more of an issue to get insurance.
What is requested from this company is as follows:
  • Complete photos of the boat and all inventory photo documented.
  • A recent condition & valuation marine survey that is not less than 3 years old + a letter of compliance with survey reccomendations pertaining to the last out of water evaluation.
  • Terrorism, any single handed navigation, and no more than 250 miles off shore
Cruising area: Waters of Eastport, Main to Brownsville, Texas including Bahamas and Caribbean Sea excluding Cuba, Columbia, & Haiti
The over all policy includes Hull insurance, medical payment insurance, personal effects, liability, uninsured boater, tender & outboard, pollution.
The cost works out to $54.00 per foot per year. I believe this is very reasonable for a piece of mind.
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Old 18-12-2006, 17:44   #14
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After spitting 3 rigs, hitting a reef , bending a rudder after hitting a rock, having a lightening strike toast all electronic's and having a few collisions while racing, I feel pretty good about spending my 1% premium to the insurance guy's.

The newie will cost about $5000 per year,a fair slice out of the kitty, but I expect with the places I frequent it'll be 5 grand well spent.

I'll just send the boss back out to work, while I taste test the rum.

"Money can't buy you happiness but it can buy you a yacht large enough to pull up right alongside it"...............David Lee Roth
Long Distance Motorboat Cruising It Is Possible on a Small Budget
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Old 18-12-2006, 17:54   #15
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Originally Posted by cat man do
I'll just send the boss back out to work, while I taste test the rum.
Atta boy brother Dave! Right On!

Pussers? Lambs? Dark? Light? Amber? Spiced?

Yours Aye! Rick
"It's not the boat "you built" until you've sworn at it, bled on it, sweated over it, cried beside it and then threatened to haul the POS outside and burn it!"
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