Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
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I genuinely hope you can avoid a survey. Ir sounds like some here have given you reason to believe that for an inexpensive boat and/or liability only coverage, you might be able to avoid it. That's good news.
But if it's unavoidable and you need to "bite the bullet" and get a survey, you should let go of this idea that survey cost has anything to do with what you paid for the boat. It can be argued that the older/cheaper a boat is, the more difficult it will be to survey, and hence the more it will cost...and the more it is needed. You should realize that by getting a boat for very little money, you're going to pay less in up-front cost, but also may pay more for other things later. Not everything is going to be reduced in proportion to your original purchase price. So be glad whenever you can trim costs, but realize that some things will not be avoidable.
Make sure any potential surveyors know that this is an insurance survey, and not a pre-purchase survey. The latter usually costs more.
I used State Farm (my auto and home carrier) for my boat for my first year. After that first year I realized a couple of severe deficiencies in their policy. A couple of the deficiencies limited their potential replacement payout (which is irrelevant for a liability-only policy). But they also did not cover liability for environmental damage, which can be a huge bill. I switched to BoatUS, which covers over $800,000 in environmental damage. You need to consider that, especially if you are doing a DIY repower with diesel. My annual premium for my 25' boat is about $150, with full coverage but $1000 deductible.
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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)