I went through BoatUS for our insurance. A couple of reasons:
- Progressive wouldn't touch a 1979 Vintage Boat (At least ours). Other companies had the same response.
- This is our first boat, so there are some companies that didn't want to take on "Newbie" sailors/boat owners
- We got a discount on the BoatUS membership with our insurance.
- The application/approval was painless. Pretty much over the phone and then fax in the survey.
Our policy is only effective from Jacksonville, FL to Nova Scotia. No extensive offshore stuff, just coastal.
We pay about $850/year for a 79 Pearson 10M that is moored in Massachusetts. I am hoping next year to shop around now that we have a year under our belt for better pricing.
I was a Boat US customer for 10 years. Last year I had a claim for damage which occurred at the dock. I was in for an unpleasant surprise. It turns out the standard BoatUS Yachtsaver policy is based on "actual value", which they interpret as whatever you valued the boat at when you first insured with them, minus 10% per year depreciation. A repair is broken into 2 parts, labor and parts. The parts are depreciated with the same formula as the hull value. So after 9 years with them, I got 10 cents on the dollar for the parts required. I was lucky, since the cost of the repair was almost entirely labor (all fiberglass work), but it was an eye opener.
I bought a "new" boat this year, a 1980 Pearson 32, and insured it at "agreed value" which means the hull does not depreciate nor do the parts required to fix any damage.
Interestingly enough, the best deal I found was with Progressive, using Gowrie Barden & Brett as the agents.
I had a few underwriters who didn't want to touch the boat, either because of its age, or because of the survey report which had a list of problems to be corrected. But Gowrie was able to get me through all of this, with a premium of $630. Coverage is for 75 miles off the Atlantic shore of the US, including Florida, and Canada.
I don't think I will go back to BoatUS for insurance again.
But when you buy insurance, look at the worst possible liabilities first: environmental damage can run as much as $500,000. Injury to a passenger or damage to another boat can be expensive. Maybe the least worrysome is damage to your own boat, unless you have just boat a brand new boat.
Another technique is to fax the quote from one underwriter to the agent for another company. Tell him "this quote is cheaper than yours. What is wrong with it?" A good agent will be able to show you the holes in the coverage offered by another company. It is a good way to educate yourself.