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Old 28-11-2016, 14:48   #1
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Insurance advice for a newbie

How feasible is it to insure a larger boat when you've never owned anything over 21ft and don't have experience piloting anything over 32ft? I am looking for boats in the > 40ft & < 50ft range. I'm not 100% on buying hull insurance, but the liability/personal/pollution is going to be a requirement for marinas around here (OR Coast).



My wife and I are both ASA101/103. We have boated a great deal as owners of smaller pleasure-craft on large lakes and a little on the Great Lakes. I've been a passenger on various charters off the California coast for multiple days in the 50ft range on pretty rough stuff and helped only a little, not really crewed. I've taken the occasional resort boats out a few miles and sailed around. But, that's pretty much it.



I'm working with Allstate -- seems a little sketchy -- and they don't seem to care much. But IMIS immediately warned me: the lack of experience owning and piloting larger vessels "may be a big red flag for underwriters." They haven't gotten back to me yet. Is this typical and what does it mean exactly? Or, is it going to depend a lot on the provider?
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Old 28-11-2016, 17:48   #2
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

Al Golden and his team at IMIS pretty much set the gold standard for professionalism, and they're right about that. No experience on same size boats, new owner, boat over 30' OAL, and don't even think about a boat that's 30 years old. If you are a longstanding Allstate home and auto policy holder, they may cut you some slack, but if you show that policy to IMIS I'd bet they'd quickly show you some big gaps in it. Ask IMIS what you can do, i.e. taking boating safety courses or otherwise that might get you better consideration, or consider being very careful (and underinsured) until you've had the year of experience that other insurers want to see. Make sure to log your days on the water to help substantiate that. I hope I don't embarrass them by saying that if IMIS were in the governess business, they'd be Mary Poppins.
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Old 28-11-2016, 22:10   #3
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

As a new boat owner who has just obtained insurance for the first time as well I can tell you this:

This is very typical...
A few red flags for them will be: experience (as you have already came across) most will require a boating history resume; some imagination maybe needed, live-aboard status, age of vessel and current surveys etc, pictures will need to be provided as well

Btw we had to pay double what everyone else pays due to these circumstances...and we were denied by several carrier before we found one willing to insure us

Hope this helps
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Old 29-11-2016, 05:56   #4
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

Our first and only boat is a Jeanneau DS40 that we bought new. We had taken ASA courses and charted a couple of times but that was it. Got turned down a lot but

Bill Hodgens of Yachtinsure insured us and did a great job -- OH yea and we lived in Miami so can you say hurricane zone?
Call or look up Bill on line.
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Old 29-11-2016, 08:56   #5
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

My experience has been that liability and hull insurance runs about 10% of the Agreed Hull value.

Unless you are buying a very old boat or a old wooden boat, try to get hull insurance. Boat repairs are expensive. Put the boat hard aground once and you could end up with a 15K-20K repair bill. A couple of broken dock lines in a wind storm and again serious repair bills. If you have a loan on the boat, the bank will require insurance.

You're going to invest a lot of money in the boat, it is wise to protect that investment.
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Old 29-11-2016, 09:42   #6
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

bluewater insurance in Florida hooked me up.
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Old 29-11-2016, 10:17   #7
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

Hull insurance is very important and most policies cover damage by uninsured boats for little if any extra. If taking a total loss on your boat would be a material hit on your wealth, then protect yourself. There are a lot of better ways to save money without omitting insurance. No, I don't sell insurance but have had 2 near misses-- car went off the road into the slip next to me and a boat caught fire and drifted into a neighbor several slips away.
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Old 29-11-2016, 10:43   #8
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

I've found that credentials matter a bit. You have the ASA so that's good. I'm not sure Allstate insures bigger boats....? They insured my last smaller boat. My first offshore cruiser was insured by Allstate too. (30ft) They covered the boat "within 75 miles of the coast" (many years ago) I'm not sure they intended to let us sail down the west coast with that statement! But we did.
I had no problem going from the 30 footer to 44 ft for insurance. Hard to say in today's world though.
I usually opt for Liability only.
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Old 29-11-2016, 11:01   #9
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

My insurance company gave me a 15% discount for taking the Coast Guard Auxiliary navigation and safety courses. And I've paid 1% of hull value for the full package of liability, hull, environmental, medical, and uninsured boater. I have an independent broker, and she shopped around for good rates.

You can be the most careful skipper out there, and still get a plastic bag sucked into the raw water intake.... you know the rest. )
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Old 29-11-2016, 11:30   #10
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

We purchased a Hunter 41 in 2004 and had only owned a Sunfish prior to that time. We had taken just a couple lessons on a Newport 30 in Annapolis and received some US Sailing certifications while in the Florida Keys from the Offshore Sailing School. Trying too get insurance for financing the boat was a nightmare and almost deep-sixed our attempts to become liveaboards. Our salesman had heard that Progressive Insurance sometimes provided insurance based on automobile policy history. Progressive investigated our driving records and automobile claims and agreed to insure our boat. What we are paying is less than half what we had been quoted by Boat US and other insurers a few years later... and, we have less restrictions regarding where and when we can travel.

The one winter we decided to pull the boat and store on land (2012), a macro-burst hit the marina and toppled a number of boats like dominoes... Odyssey was one of them. $65k in damages to repair her. Our local Progressive representatives and claims adjusters were absolutely wonderful and worked closely with our service people. The next year I thought I'd see a big jump in our premium... nope, just a minor jump of less than 10%. Maybe we just lucked out, I don't know, but that's our story
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Old 29-11-2016, 11:32   #11
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

Our broker, Rich Haynie, has treated us very well over the years. They did require some basic skills, but generally the biggest limitation was on where we could sail; not necessarily how much experience we had. The area then increases with time and you can request exceptions which usually involve more premium.

I think the expectation is that if you buy the larger boat, you have basic maneuverability skills and can dock it, as that seems to be the largest issue. They may require something like ASA 118 (docking endorsement) within a certain time period after issuing the policy though. There also may be some choices to go for a larger deductible to get the policy if approval gets sticky. They are in the Seattle area, but still may be worth giving them a call.

Rich Haynie Insurance Specializing in Yacht Insurance - Seattle, WA
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Old 29-11-2016, 12:39   #12
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

I'm still going to throw BOATUS out there for consideration. I live on the Gulf of Mexico (Dauphin Island, AL) year round and have an old 1981 42' Grand Banks. No having to do seasonal moving to avoid hurricane zones and higher rates, and they really didn't give me a problem on the age of the boat. I did have a fair amount of boating experience moving up from a 32' Carver.

I admit I could probably save some bucks if I really worked at shopping it out, but I'm lazy and just like the ease of doing business with them. I've easily added upgrades to the insurance value as well.
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Old 29-11-2016, 13:11   #13
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lochner View Post
My experience has been that liability and hull insurance runs about 10% of the Agreed Hull value.

Unless you are buying a very old boat or a old wooden boat, try to get hull insurance. Boat repairs are expensive. Put the boat hard aground once and you could end up with a 15K-20K repair bill. A couple of broken dock lines in a wind storm and again serious repair bills. If you have a loan on the boat, the bank will require insurance.

You're going to invest a lot of money in the boat, it is wise to protect that investment.
What was I thinking, premiums have run about 1% not 10% of hull value.

And, while I'm thinking of it, an Agreed Hull Value policy will cost a bit more than a policy that depreciates the value, but if the boat is totaled, you will get the value you agreed to.

As for BoatUS, there is one clause in the new GEICO policies that all GEICO customers should be aware of. There is an exclusionary clause that allows GEICO to deny a claim if the cause of the claim is due to poor or improper maintenance or failure to maintain the boat. When I discussed this with a BoatUS insurance rep, he stated that this was primarily a way to deny claims on derelict and abandoned boats. If the boat was being maintained they wouldn't deny the claim, however, they may not pay to repair the part that broke. The example he gave was a rigging failure due to a faulty turnbuckle, GEICO would pay for mast and rigging except for the piece that failed. It is referred to consequential damages.
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Old 29-11-2016, 13:39   #14
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

I'm in Canada on the great lakes (Kingston). When buying insurance, I've found they ask:"sailing experience, yes or no". Never been asked how long or how big or any details at all. Mostly they just want to know what the boat's worth and how much I can pay per month. Never turned down...they were all happy to take my money.

On my last boat I bought the new class of insurance for old sailboats...you get "market" value if the boat is lost (so, nothing or close to it) but $2million liability (required for marinas). No questions at all about experience, and almost no questions about the boat either aside from make/model, length, and estimated value. No survey required! Still, it made my marina happy. BTW, after 8 boats and 30 years, never a claim.
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Old 29-11-2016, 14:52   #15
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Re: Insurance advice for a newbie

A little over a year ago I bought a 40' sailboat built in 1986.
I made sure it was insured before I took possession of her because an environmental accident like an oil spill can cost the boat owner $85,000 easily.
Sink a boat w 100 gal of diesel in her tanks and you know you will qualify for that one.
Long story short: State Farm insured me ... I already had auto insurance with them. All they needed was the survey.
That was for liability insurance only.
A couple months latter they gave me hull insurance after I cleared up some survey issues, like expired fire extinguishers and flares
They never asked my experience.
They did limit me to US Waters 75 miles from shore. Or maybe its 75 miles from a US shore no matter if its Canadian or Mexican waters.
Hope that helps
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