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

Basically, I see no way a good end is going to come from this claim. I need two things to happen:

1) I want to keep the vessel; the insured value or the resale value have no connection to the boat's actual personal utility to me.
2) I need to keep liability insurance. Without it, I can't keep my boat in a local marina, which basically means I can't have the boat.

I see about zero realistic possibility here that they will give me a substantial pay-out that could possibly compensate for losing insurance and/or getting 'salvaged' status. That's ignoring the massive inconvenience and expense of a weeks-long claims process while the boat sits on the hard at a boatyard 1.5 hours away from where I live and work.

Basically I think I fundamentally misunderstood how hull insurance works. If you actually want the boat (as opposed to just a cash-out), and your boat is insured for a "small" value (under $10K), you basically need to accept that you're not going to be able to file non-trivial claims without losing the boat or your insurance.

Concretely, my hull insurance, at $4K, is mostly useless: That's a trivial amount of money, in the grand scheme of things; a routine bottom job alone is 1/3 of that! But it puts you at tremendous risk of having a relatively minor (cost-wise) accident put you into CTL, which for someone like me, that needs insurance, basically takes your boat away.

Hull insurance is for if your boat is actually valued at a large number, or if you are perfectly happy "buying a new one" if the old one is damaged--with the usual caveats about deprecation and buy-back transaction costs, meaning most likely it won't be quite as good. If the amount of "sweat equity" or non-valuable improvements (eg electronics) you invest is any significant fraction of the boat cost, hull insurance is moot.

Does anyone see anything seriously wrong with my thinking?

I'm thinking I'm going to try to retract my claim and find some other way to come up with $4K. This will suck, because I have another unexpected expense as well, as well as some additional expenses I've already committed to.

A secondary consideration is I think it's possible that the $4K is larger than it might need to be because it was specifically estimated as "an insurance job." I definitely need the work, because it's a major seaworthiness issue. But maybe if the job manager knew I was going to foot it myself, he could find a way to make it cheaper, possibly by cutting out the cosmetic portions of it, or letting me do some of the work. I'm not exactly sure how to bring this up, but I don't see any other way out.
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