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Old 05-02-2013
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

I must have gotten lucky with my only two boat insuring experiences. Right after I bought my boat, I applied for insurance and they required a survey. The surveyor listed "recommended changes" and "mandatory changes." The mandatory changes were things like installing an automatic bilge pump (the existing pump was manual only,) putting the two batteries in covered containers, etc. The insurance company required only that I give them a plan for how I intended to fix the mandatory changes. Coverage was not contingent on having everything fixed, I just had to have a plan. Of course, I'm a reasonable man, and I would not expect them to cover a claim that was caused by one of those listed problems not being fixed yet.

Then, a year later, that company jacked up my premium 20%. So I shopped around and got a much lower rate (lower than the first year at the other company even.) The second company didn't even require a survey.

I don't think it's unreasonable for an insurance company to require a boat owner to fix problems that a surveyor found. I also strongly suspect, though I don't know for sure, that there is some sort of legal protection from a denied claim based on something totally unrelated to the cause of the claim, provided that the premium was paid up and the owner was completely honest in all information given during the application. I don't think an insurance company can just retroactively void a policy because of something that was not originally a condition of coverage. It's a different matter if there was an explicit statement that coverage was contingent upon certain things being done by the owner.
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