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Old 07-25-2012
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Re: My Boat was Hit Bad

ck, don't wait, ask that client now. Better to be armed in advance.

"Typically, if the estimated cost of repairs is greater then 50% of the boats insured value, the insurance co. will deem it a Constructive (?) Total Loss, or CTL." Caleb makes a point BUT I believe that only applies to your own insurer, as a matter of policy statement. In this case, the other guy's policy doesn't matter, he damaged your boat and home, and it is usual under liability law that the damaged party must be "made whole" again. Whether his policy has limits is not your concern right now. If they don't want to fix it, tell 'em to replace it, and to of course put you up in a decent local hotel while they're waiting to find the replacement vessel. Ka-ching, they'll quickly figure out it is cheaper to pay for the repairs.

Insurers are also very good at playing "Yeahwell its only worth five thousand that's the local sales prices" but often, their math is creative. If they try to quote you a price--tell them to substantiate that, in writing, with specific detail and condition, in accord with insurance law. Which often requires 'comparable' or 'market' pricing to be defined within fairly tight limits. Odds are, no boat substantially similar to yours has been sold within those time limits, geographic limits, etc. so the insurer's valuation is often a simple lie.

Call the county or state insurance commission, tell them what happened, and ask if there is anything you should be aware of. Including any citations for statutes that DO define those valuation terms. Usually those departments are very good at telling consumers what the laws actually are and what your rights are, while insurance companies tend to lie through their teeth about it.

If an insurer tells you "well that's the way it is" and you can reply "No, I've spoken to the insurance commission and they think otherwise" you tend to get paid better and faster, because the insurer can't pull the wool over your eyes so easily.

IF YOU CAN, i.e. if there's software that will work on your cellphone, RECORD YOUR CALLS to the other party and their insurer, if that's possible. From experience I tell you that insurers routinely lie through their teeth. Some are honest, sure, but when you can say "That's not what you said, do you want me to play the tape?" a lot of the liars get religion real fast. (I have no idea what the legalities of taping are out there.)

If there's no damage to the bilge, no water coming in, anchor rode still intact and attached, it should be safe to stay on board until you get a few things settled out. By all means, get an estimate from a yard and whatever way you work it out, make sure the other guy is going to pay whatever it comes to, not just the estimate. Plus your hotel/motel.

Take pictures. Now. From inside, outside, close, distant. Those are for your records, again in case there's any dispute down the line. When a boat is hit, the shock echoes all around the hull. The surveyor should literally be examining every bulkhead, every tab to the hull, every fitting on the standing rigging. It sounds like your keel and rudder should not be an issue and a haul not a concern--but ask the surveyor anyhow. Similarly, the anchor fittings have to be suspect, they took the strain.

If the other guy hears the estimate and his insurer starts waffling...funny how things can change. So try to document and record everything, and if the game changes, don't let them intimidate you. With insurers, you give them one carrot, once, and then switch to the stick.

Last edited by hellosailor; 07-25-2012 at 11:00 PM.
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