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Old 07-20-2013
aaronwindward aaronwindward is offline
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Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

Earlier in the month, I acquired some collision damage to my bow stem while out sailing. Basically, a chunk missing, and a smallish crack. It didn't seem too serious, just some glasswork, so I didn't go into full emergency mode over it. I decided to deal with it during my next routine haul-out, which was last week.

Inspecting the damage more closely on the hard, my girlfriend actually noticed a subtle dent that indicated damage to the hull-deck joint related to the impact. (The yard didn't notice this at first, but perhaps this is because I gave them too specific of instructions.) The job manager indicated that this is now a pretty expensive repair, and I should call insurance. For some reason, it didn't occur to me to even talk to them, since I mainly have them for liability. Now some data:

1) My purchase price in 2010: $4000, unpowered, in need of some minor maintenance, but basically sound otherwise
2) Surveyor insurance appraisal at the time: $6000
3) Surveyor assessment of average for the model in 2010: $8000 (presumably, the difference due to the fact it was unpowered, and various other more minor things that were noted in the survey)
4) I bought a new outboard, and fixed what I thought were the most serious of the more minor things, as well as making some other miscellaneous improvements, such as electronics
5) Recent damage: Just under $3800ish, by coincidence
6) My hull insurance coverage, not agreed value: $4000 (They say they don't go over the purchase price unless you "justify" it, which I never cared enough about to do.)

My concern now is the following:
A. The boat might be deemed a total constructive loss. That seems bad.
B. My insurance might be canceled, which would be a major problem for me, since I primarily need it for liability, for my marina. An unanticipated $4000 hurts, but it's not really make-or-break.
C. BoatUS has said I can't do anything to the damaged area, and realistically, it might take weeks for the claim to go through. But my boat is on the hard now, ready for work.
D. I had just set up new insurance (although I had been insured with them previously, on a similar policy) a few days before the accident, and I was still on the binder, and I'm actually worried they might think this was fishy, especially as I didn't report it right away. (I've never had a claim on a boat before though.)

Here's my thinking: $4000 is nothing. I need to do a full re-rig at some point, and that's probably going to cost at least that. I also need a new set of sails, and that's going to be in a similar range as well. And my 1972 gelcoat is pretty much done, and is going to need to be painted at some point. I don't need the $4000, if it really comes down to it; I just thought at the time, hey, I have insurance, may as well use it, and it will certainly open up the budget a bit more for other stuff.

Currently, the next step is a surveyor should be coming out, but after that, it still might take weeks for anything to happen, since this is the insurance company's "most busy time."

Did I screw up really badly by reporting this to BoatUS?

Is it possible to retract an insurance claim, and have everyone pretend like nothing happened?

Has anyone had a similar experience that might cast some light on what I should do here?

Last edited by aaronwindward; 07-20-2013 at 05:40 AM. Reason: Added #6, clarified C
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