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One thing to think about -- if it's financed, they'll require certain types of insurance. You won't be able to just have liability. And the insurance company will put lots of restrictions on you -- where you can sail, how many on board, and where you are in hurricane season.
Not only does that restrict your choices, it can add money both for the insurance and for marina stays and/or haul outs.
When we bought our (then 25-year-old) boat, we financed it for many of the reasons you cite. And we got the insurance they required us to have, which had a number of hurricane season restrictions in it. Cruising in Mexico, we went through Hurricane Marty in 2003. No damage to us, but we knowingly violated our insurance to go to what we thought was the safest place. If we'd had damage, we would not have been covered and since we violated our loan terms the entire loan would have been due. Immediately.
After that experience and hearing what the "new" restrictions would be as well as knowing how many boats had not been paid for the damage they sustained, we paid off the loan, switched to having liability insurance only and spent the $$ we saved on improved ground tackle (although ours had held, we wanted to upgrade). From there on out, we made our own decisions without an insurance company's input.
As far as we're concerned, the required insurance is the worst part of financing a boat. Not saying that insurance is bad, just it takes away your ability to make decisions based on what you think is best.
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Last edited by CarolynShearlock; 01-31-2012 at 12:32 PM.