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Old 18-01-2014, 11:27   #1
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Insurance for a new boater

Hey all, I am new to the forums and new to boating. I'm having some difficulty obtaining a reasonable insurance policy. There seems to be a lot of "catch 22" situations described here when it comes to insurance. My particular catch is that I am brand new to boating. It seems to be exceptionally important to every one I deal with that I have insurance, but no one will insure me because of my inexperience, and the age of my boat.

My boat! My favorite topic (I'll try not to rattle on too much). I have a 1960, 32 foot custom built Navy utility boat / trawler with a 10 gauge steel hull. The boat is in exceptional condition, as verified by my recent survey. I am living aboard in Alameda (San Francisco Bay) CA. I am very handy and mechanically and elctrically inclined, and am confident that I can keep it in good, safe condition.

The boat is not worth a lot. I paid $25k for it and it was valued by the surveyor at $37k (score!). Although it would suck royally to lose that entire investment in a catastrophic accident, it would not ruin me financially. The boat is not financed - I own it outright.

My marina requires third party liability insurance.

My current policy, which is very expensive, requires that a licensed captain (who is named on the policy) be under command of the boat at all times. I don't want him at the helm because he is expensive and he is also kind of a dick. He helped me deliver the boat to it's current destination and helped me get the insurance, but we have since parted ways.

I've read in other posts that many folks just get the third party liability insurance, and not hull or belongings insurance. This didn't occur to me, but I think it may be the way for me to go. I'll be in SF Bay learning how to pilot my boat for at least a season. I'll revisit more extensive insurance when I decide to voyage out of the Bay into the Great Unknown (which is a big reason I bought the boat in the first place). I am also somewhat ideologically opposed to insurance, and feel that you are betting on losing when you pay for it. I am a risk taker, I bet to win!

FINALLY on to my question. Would I be a fool to not get as extensive an insurance policy as I can as a new boater? If I damage some one else's property while I am boating, the third party liability covers that, right?
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Old 18-01-2014, 11:42   #2
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

Welcome to the forum bud!

Call your auto/home agent and see what he says... Almost all policies are based on navigational limits.... Talk to him about a marina/bay area DAYTIME only limits... Going liability only is by far the easiest route...

Your boat is the part making it tricky.... BUT... You should find something acceptable pretty reasonably priced....
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Old 18-01-2014, 11:57   #3
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

Never been asked for proof of experience........

Also, take a power squadron course. I took mine pre GPS and the navigation part was harder than the current USCG 100 ton test, but I'm sure they still teach some useful stuff and insurance companies ask about it.
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Old 18-01-2014, 12:12   #4
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

Ours is through Allstate, includes both hull and liability, and is pretty inexpensive. Only covers US waters up to 50 miles offshore, but works fine when not cruising. Don't know if they are writing new policies, but they have renewed ours (with a few claims) for many years without any questions.
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Old 18-01-2014, 12:15   #5
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

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Never been asked for proof of experience........

Also, take a power squadron course. I took mine pre GPS and the navigation part was harder than the current USCG 100 ton test, but I'm sure they still teach some useful stuff and insurance companies ask about it.
After the details of of the boat and location.... This is the next line of questioning...

Definitely don't fabricate experience.... Any claim will be denied... There are tons of "online courses" google those... Some companies may take those into consideration...
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Old 18-01-2014, 12:39   #6
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

Awesome advice all, thanks!

I took the USCG Auxiliary "Guide to Boating and Seamanship" class, which was excellent. I do get a discount on my insurance with that class. The "Coastal Navigation" is next on my list.

My girlfriend, who recently bought a boat and has even less experience than me, got a policy through AllState which was awesome. They didn't even ask her about her boating experience. I tried, but they don't insure boats that are over 30 years old.
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Old 18-01-2014, 12:42   #7
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

I applied for a policy through Hagerty, who specialize in classic boats. This is what they sent me on the application, which makes me think I'm not going to get insurance through them:

Detailed resume of boating experience - Please Note: Adequate experience with a similar sized vessel is required. If the applicant is unable to provide evidence of adquate experience, we will not be able to provide coverage.
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Old 18-01-2014, 14:38   #8
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

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Awesome advice all, thanks!

I took the USCG Auxiliary "Guide to Boating and Seamanship" class, which was excellent. I do get a discount on my insurance with that class. The "Coastal Navigation" is next on my list.

My girlfriend, who recently bought a boat and has even less experience than me, got a policy through AllState which was awesome. They didn't even ask her about her boating experience. I tried, but they don't insure boats that are over 30 years old.
Yea... It's the damn boat with no experience combo... The bean counters have this pegged as a time bomb combo... Try AAA and Progressive... You're just looking to have your marina insurance and gain your year harbor experience without paying through the nose...
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Old 18-01-2014, 15:08   #9
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

Have you tried BoatUS?
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Old 18-01-2014, 15:27   #10
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

Tried Boat US. No go.

They wanted an ultrasound test of my hull, which I did not do when I hauled it out. My surveyor, who is very experienced with steel hulls, assured me I didn't need one. It isn't worth the expense of hauling it out again.
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Old 18-01-2014, 15:42   #11
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We had zero experience with real boats when we bought Gray Hawk. I was very concerned that we might not be able to buy insurance & I believe at least one acquaintance told us we'd never get insured. We just called the broker who handles all our other insurance and he came up with a carrier. Initially they had some unrealistic operating restrictions but they changed them quickly as soon as we asked. I think our current restriction is 1000 miles from Vancouver which covers a lot of water. Mind you I think we've had 2 claims in 25 years (and none since we bought the boat).
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Old 18-01-2014, 15:44   #12
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

Catch 22. Can't get insurance without experience, and can't get experience without insurance. my suggestion is to pay for the expensive insurance, use the boat as much as possible in the next year, build a nice resume, then go for the cheaper insurance.
(And don't make any claims.)
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Old 18-01-2014, 15:58   #13
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

While I have sympathy for the OP, it seems proper for an insurer to want a higher premium to insure a higher risk. I think that this principle is applied through the insurance world. And as an experienced yottie, I don't particularly want to pay higher rates in order to cover the possibilities of an inexperienced fellows mistakes.

So it seems to me that it is better for inexperienced folks to not buy vessels that increase the perceived risk to insurers, or to be prepared to meet the added costs.

Not what the OP wants to hear, but realistic none the less!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 18-01-2014, 16:49   #14
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Re: Insurance for a new boater

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
While I have sympathy for the OP, it seems proper for an insurer to want a higher premium to insure a higher risk. I think that this principle is applied through the insurance world. And as an experienced yottie, I don't particularly want to pay higher rates in order to cover the possibilities of an inexperienced fellows mistakes.

So it seems to me that it is better for inexperienced folks to not buy vessels that increase the perceived risk to insurers, or to be prepared to meet the added costs.

Not what the OP wants to hear, but realistic none the less!

Cheers,

Jim
Jimbo,

That's the crux of it.... If the OP had bought a new 22 Catalina/Hunter or center console fisher there would be no post to reply to....
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Old 19-01-2014, 04:48   #15
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What Jim said. We didn't have any experience with real boats but I built a kayak when I was 10 and I've had some kind of a sport boat ever since. We had a 22 foot direct drive ski boat when we bought Gray Hawk. I outlined that experience for the broker & I expect that combined with an excellent claims history is what got us insured.

The OP should just swallow the cost of a pro skipper for a few trips. I expect he could negotiate agreement from an insurer that once he can demonstrate an agreed list of competencies verified by the pro skipper they will underwrite him.
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