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rconn2 05-14-2011 12:16 PM

Boat insurance
We're new to boating and know little about insurance. How much of what kind of coverage, and from which company?

My gf, the owner, has GEICO, and received a quote for $300K of coverage (which doesn't require a survey). The previous owners (who we bought from) said they had Allstate and didn't need a survey. Does BoatUS require a survey? If so, why do they and not others?

The reason for not getting a formal survey is that the boat is inexpensive (and already purchased by us -- only $3675). And, a marine mechanic is already fixing up some issues that were listed by another marine mechanic who gave the boat a good inspection.

Other than whether an insurance company requires a survey, which one(s) do you recommend/have good experience with?

And what kind and how much coverage is recommended? What about personal liability -- if someone on this boat or another were to be injured? Does insurance typically cover this?

Thanks for any suggestions from experience. This is a great forum!

tommays 05-14-2011 12:36 PM


The survey issue comes up above about 25 feet as at that point they tend to have more items that can sink the boat SO there going to what some assurance its in OK shape

For example my J24 by Boat US only required some pictures were as my Cal 29 requires a survey

Your looking for basic insurance that would cove fuel spill liability and the cost of getting it out of the water if it sank or broke fee and damaged another boat

The basic Medical coverage kind of stinks and is soemthing you will have to talk over

The down side of company's that don't require a survey is if the boat sinks from a obvious neglected part coverage becomes dicey

kd3pc 05-14-2011 12:42 PM

NOT progressive, would be a good start and really not neither are experienced in boat claims....

BoatUS. Or self insure for damage, and a liability for fuel spill or damage you and your boat may do to others.

You definitely don't want to go without...just see the Annapolis boat ran aground thread here.

JimsCAL 05-14-2011 05:15 PM

You basically have two parts - liability and hull. Similar to car liability and comprehensive/collision. At that price level you can consider liability only. Like a car with liability coverage only, you are on the hook for any damage to your boat unless you are damaged by another boat that is insured. It basically covers damage you do to others.

And in spite of what kd3pc says above, I recently had a very good experience with Progressive on some storm damage. The adjuster knew boats, was very professional, and had a check in my hand within days of his inspection. When the actual repair began and some additional work was needed, again they were great. I was impressed.

Minnewaska 05-14-2011 05:32 PM

I strongly recommend a local independent agent that represents more than one carrier. There should be several experienced agents near any marine town. It's takes a pro to know all the subtle differences in coverage. GEICO makes a fortune by shortchanging small coverage details that you don't even know about.

rconn2 05-14-2011 08:42 PM

Thanks for the replies. Yes, we only want liability or minimal "comprehensive" (I wouldn't get comprehensive for a $3675 car -- though we'll put more into this boat to make it nice, I doubt we'd get much back).

"basic medical kind of stinks". So what about personal liability? Property damage is one thing, but what if a guest sprains an ankle (or of course worse) on your boat or another because of your supposed negligence (storms were forecast for later that afternoon, poor docking etc.)? These are unlikely but possibly catastrophic liabilities (which is the purpose of insurance).

The boat (Catalina 27, w/ an Atomic 4) is on the hard getting looked-over and fixed up. We expect to have her in the water (Middle River, MD) and sail/motor her to Oak Harbor (Rock Creek, MD) in another week or so.

We have no problem w/ getting the boat thoroughly inspected and in as good condition as possible. But, a formal marine survey (heard of it costing $900), doesn't seem worthwhile. A good marine mechanic is already working on her.

wingNwing 05-14-2011 09:29 PM

Since you're going to be in the MD area, try International Marine Insurance Services (IMIS). They're brokers, not agents, and that means their loyalty is to you rather than a particular company.

Minnewaska 05-15-2011 08:24 AM


Originally Posted by wingNwing (Post 730449)
....They're brokers, not agents, and that means their loyalty is to you rather than a particular company.

This can be technically true, but they are still paid by the carrier, so reputation is just as important as with an agent. Either a broker or agent could be motivated to put you where they are paid the most. WW is giving a good reference, which is the best way to find the right insurance professional, imho. A good professional wants a long term relationship, not just their first year commission. Telephone sales agents, imho, don't care.

Now, the technical difference between a broker and an agent is important to understand, but navigable once you do. An agent can typically contract on behalf of another party, a broker can not. Therefore, when your agent says your coverage is in effect or makes another promise, it is done. The broker must wait for the carrier themselves to contract.

mdbee 05-15-2011 03:16 PM

I went with Progressive, the same is my auto policy. Of course it depends on your boat, where you live etc.

Since I trailer, I liked having the same company as my SUV. Just in case... no pointing of fingers.

I did try US Boats but they were quite a bit higher. An added bonus, I got an additional discount because of the boat on my auto insurance.

Mine is a 26', no one asked for survey or pictures. that I remember, it's been about 5 years.

Side note, my boat sits on the driveway the majority of time. I called Progressive about that and asked about cutting back on coverage in the off season. Surprisingly, they said sure, no problem. So we dropped the excess liability coverage as well as a few other things. It really dropped the cost. He said just call them when I'm headed back out with it and they would put the old coverages back into affect. When I asked them how often I could do this during the term of the policy (I thought maybe once?) he said, when ever I use the boat. When I get back from a few days on the water I could go back can cancel the higher limits. "I said are you sure???" He said no problem, they do it all the time.

That wouldn't work on a boat that stays in the water but for a trailer sailer it makes a difference. I'm not really planning on switching back and forth every weekend but it's nice to be paying less in the off season and gives me more options.

Shop around.

jfurlong 05-15-2011 03:24 PM

I have been pleased with Boat US. Prce is reasonable for Boar US members and includes West Marine disacounts. I've filed one claim in the last 15 years, for a lightning strike that took out all of my electronics. Boat US responded quickly and paid promptly with no increase in premiums.

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