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post #1 of 32 Old 08-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Older Boat Insurance

We all know that its getting more and more difficult to get insurance on an older sailboat, especially if its over 30 years old. However, there are still carriers out there that will write insurance on your older boat. Farmers Insurance is one, but check to see if they write in your state. They don't require a survey for boats up to 40' in length, but will ask for photos of the boat out of water if its over 25 years old. This company will do full insurance on the sailboat including comprehensive and collision.

Just to avoid any conflict of interest or violation of Sailnet forum rules, I must declare that I am affiliated with this company.
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post #2 of 32 Old 08-17-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

If you/they don't require a survey...How do you determine insurable value...? Sale price...? what if it's a fixer upper or had been purchased as such and has had major upgrades..?

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post #3 of 32 Old 08-17-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

I'm with Boats U.S. and have been for 5-6 years now. Our boat was built in 1981 so ya she is oldish. They have been good, but without any loss I guess they are all good at cashing our checks. Ha Ha.
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post #4 of 32 Old 08-17-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

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If you/they don't require a survey...How do you determine insurable value...? Sale price...? what if it's a fixer upper or had been purchased as such and has had major upgrades..?
On Heron (pre refit), our insurer did a "declared value" policy - we told them what dollar amount we wanted to place her value at, and they told us how much the policy would be and wrote it up. It was easy and we were happy with it.
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post #5 of 32 Old 08-17-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

I haven't heard of anyone around here having trouble getting insurance. I would think the problem is not so much the age of the boat as the condition of the boat. If an insurance company is willing to insure an old boat without a survey, they are likely going to view it as a high risk, and as a result gouge you on the premiums. I would be more likely to trust a company that does their due diligence and then gives you a fair rate.

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post #6 of 32 Old 08-17-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

Actually, I have heard of the age of a boat being an issue for an insurer. Perhaps things are a bit different in Canada, eh, and your Santana 30 is only from 1979.
I'm sure a lot varies from state to state within the US and from country to country.
There are a few 'red flags' that insurers like to check for:
- new (inexperienced) boat owner
- previous CTL (losses) within 3 years
- prior claims by or against insured
- age of boat

I have a hard time believing that Farmer's would insure my 45 year old gal (Tartan 27') based solely on a photo of my boat without a survey to indicate that she was not a heap of ....

We currently use my partner's home insurer (Allstate - comparable to Farmer's) to insure our boat but they did require a survey in NY state. I can't blame them one bit.

If you own an old boat you better hope that your boat 'passes' an insurance survey.

Disclosure: worked for an insurer 25 years ago but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. Very nice!

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post #7 of 32 Old 08-18-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

The problem is not the cost of an insurance policy, it's the requirement to get a "survey". IMO, this "survey" procedure ought to be reserved for people who want to buy a boat and find out if there's anything wrong with it, not as a requirement to get insurance. It is just too costly to pay someone $700 to come and look over an old boat to confirm that, "yep, it's a boat." Companies do not seem to be able to use photos or send people of their own to look at a boat like they do with houses or cars. Instead, they expect you to pay this outrageous cost so you can then be qualified to pay them some exorbitant amount. This antiquated procedure is a circle jerk.

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post #8 of 32 Old 08-18-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

I have a 1986 Cape Dory. Had a survey back in 2005 when it was purchased. Two years back the insurance company ACE USA asked for a self survey. It was a series of questions and various photographs were requested. They provided the disposable camera as part of the survey. It was fairly painless. They provided some recommendations after the survey form and pix were sent back. Seems like a reasonable alternative to a full survey.
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post #9 of 32 Old 08-18-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

My boat is in the back yard getting being renovated. When I looked for insurance Boat US would not insure us period, without a survey. Didn't matter to them she was in the back yard & not in the water.

What I discovered was other insurance companies didn't require a survey long as the declared value of the vessel didn't exceed 15K. I ended insuring her for 10K with Farm Family, they cover all the other stuff, for a cost of 200.00 a year.

Once the reno is complete, I'll get a survey & shop around because she'll be worth more than 15K at that point.

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post #10 of 32 Old 08-18-2012
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Re: Older Boat Insurance

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
The problem is not the cost of an insurance policy, it's the requirement to get a "survey". IMO, this "survey" procedure ought to be reserved for people who want to buy a boat and find out if there's anything wrong with it, not as a requirement to get insurance. It is just too costly to pay someone $700 to come and look over an old boat to confirm that, "yep, it's a boat." Companies do not seem to be able to use photos or send people of their own to look at a boat like they do with houses or cars. Instead, they expect you to pay this outrageous cost so you can then be qualified to pay them some exorbitant amount. This antiquated procedure is a circle jerk.
My insurance company asked for a survey on my boat this year, and I have no problem with that. The survey they conduct is not the same for insurance as for a purchase. They are looking at seaworthyness and safety. It is not unreasonable for the insurance company to want to confirm that the mast isn't going to fall down, or the keel fall off! My survey flagged a couple of potential issues that I wasn't aware of, and have since addressed. They only ask for it every 5 years on older boats so if you amortize the cost over that time it isn't that expensive. (if it breaks the bank for you then perhaps you shouldn't be a boat owner!) If it keeps my insurance premiums down, then I have no problem with it!

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