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Leon-T 12-05-2012 01:11 PM

Need Input on Insurance Companies
I'm looking for insurance on a 32 foot 2011 Racer Cruiser to be cruised in the Chesapeake (possibly also do the Delmarva rally in a few years).

So far I've gotten a quote from BoatUS and Marks Marine (ACE American is the insurance carrier for Marks). I have yet to fill out the form for Pantanenius Insurance.

I've had BoatUS for over 10 years on my current 26-footer.

Marks offered better vessel coverage (agreed hull value) and a lower premium rate for their "Yachtsman Policy" than the BoatUS quote I received, and Marks will let me do limited offshore (25 mi.), whereas BoatUS is Chesapeake and tributaries only.

Anyone have any experience with Marks or Pantanenius? I want to make sure I'm not shooting myself in the foot because I'm chasing the more attractive quote from Marks.

Thanks, Leon.

harmonysimone 12-05-2012 03:59 PM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies
It sounds like you've maybe already decided against BoatUS, but for what it's worth BoatUS was incredibly helpful and easy to work with when we filed a claim. Also, it's really cheap to get a coastal rider that will enable you to cruise the coast. We will be lifelong BoatUS customers (granted we're in their area of coverage). If you plan to go international, I have heard good things about Pantaenius from a few folks (check out the account from SV Bella Star - can't paste the post because I'm too green, but you can google it.)

vtsailguy 12-05-2012 04:28 PM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies

ereiss 12-05-2012 08:06 PM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies
I switched to Ace last year because of a disagreement with my prior insurer over a claim. I also switched agents as I felt the previous one wasn't representing my interests. My new broker, actually my old old broker, said Ace is fantastic about being fair on claims. Luckily I haven't tested that yet. Fwiw.

svHyLyte 12-06-2012 09:56 AM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies
We had a policy with Markel for about 10 years but the Premiums got to be right off the charts after Hurricane Katrina and they were demanding a valuation survey every 3 years, which for our boat was not an inexpensive proposition. We switched to Seaworthy Marine Insurance--a Bershire Hawthaway company--and saved 1/3rd of Markel's cost for the same coverage with less frequent demands for surveys. Of course, we have no claims experience either, so the jury's still out on that. It will be interesting to see how the Company does with Hurricane Sandy claims.


Leon-T 12-06-2012 10:42 AM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies
Interesting about Seaworthy, as I believe BoatUS also is owned by Berkshire Hathaway (I guess Warren Buffett loves collecting those insurance premiums).

Ed, thanks for the thumbs up for ACE.

Philzy3985 12-06-2012 12:20 PM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies
They say never to have an insurance company that insures (almost) anything without question. Progressive will insure (almost) anything without question. They bet that if they insure enough things, that gives them a larger demographic of customers with other needs, and they'll have enough money upon their policies to insure more random things. But believe me they will hold on to that money as tight as possible.

Sidenote: I think it's wise to always be skeptical about companies with such an abundant amount of money that they can feed new advertisements every week on every channel during every commercial break. It shows that they are not doing all that they can to improve their product/service or provide customers with lower prices. They're keeping that policy premium money as best as they can. It's an automobile insurance company, after-all. By expanding to RV's and ATV's and Motorcycles and then Boats, the reality is those are particular and different vehicles than common automobiles that have regular accidents on familiar roads with witnesses and street signs. Boating is a very particular market, and in my opinion it takes a particular company to focus well enough (and have enough knowledge) on it to do it well.

A google search will provide an overwhelming number of complaints that progressive will not pay claims. Of course, every customer complains through a bad experience so it is to be expected, and you would be able to find complaints about BoatUS and others - but Progressive is by very very far, the worst sounding out there.

Sounds like you have a nice boat and are a serious sailor, and if you admit to the insurance company that you race (which you better, if you have an accident during a race) then I think you should go with a specialty company that handles that well. If you tell BoatUS "racing" is a reason that you have the boat, and they deny you. Then that's a good thing, because you may otherwise be stuck in the future after a racing accident or injury and they will tell you that you were never supposed to be doing that, and they are not responsible to pay your damages. That's not a risk I would be willing to take.

Pop your head into a sailboat racing magazine or website and see which insurance companies are placing ads in there.

BoatUS is a great big generic insurer, but they are HUGE, and to mitigate risks they may not insure your race sailboat unless you want to have a very expensive rate. Their customer service is excellent throughout signing up and any questions you have along the way, I have not had a claim, though. However they are right there when you call them, no recordings, and they have so far been on top of their game with my paperwork and changes to my policy. I have confidence in BoatUS.

I think that you should give BoatUS a shot, they have some perks. But ask one of their specialists about certain concerns you have before you sign with them. Like, exact scenarios you are concerned about coming across on your boat in an area doing something.

Otherwise, a more expensive specialized insurer might be a good choice.

One more thing: I'm not trying to bash Progressive, I can see Progressive as being a fine choice for people who sail/fish/ski on quiet lakes, but due to the size of their boat they are required to carry insurance. But when you're on the ocean in a sailboat which the insurer has never heard of, with a dozen variables affecting your decision making and the conditions you sail in, then a more specifically-focused, true "boat insurance" company is a safer bet.

kwaltersmi 01-11-2013 10:27 AM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies
I started with a quote from BoatUS and some of the other big names after researching a bit on sites like and that offer overviews of boat insurance. We ended up with Progressive because we have a really good rate with the multiple policy discount (auto too). We've been with them for years and have never had a boat claim, so I can't really rate them.

However, we'll probably shop around when we upgrade to the next boat since our cruising plans include long distances and much more variety in cruising grounds. Shopping based on rate probably isn't the best bet at that point. As you've found, smaller (and often more expensive) companies seem to offer more flexibility.

lillia28 01-11-2013 11:36 AM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies
I had my boat insured with Progressive. I understand they had 1800 claims in New Jersey alone. They were easy to contact, easy to deal with, prompt to pay, after Sandy. I had an agreed value policy, so there were no discussions. Agreed value is a way to avoid surprises and sometimes save a little on premmiums.
A friend Catalina 30 was also with Progressive. He settled, then remembered a few things. They agreed to cover the additional. They just sent me a letter suggesting I cancel my policy since I had no boat and said there would be a small premium refund. Statisticaly 2 out of 1800 is not significant. But I can't imagine the process being easier.
X Mariner 28

Sanduskysailor 01-11-2013 12:04 PM

Re: Need Input on Insurance Companies
Ace is the best. Had two claims in 2008,2009. They settled them fairly and expeditiously. Claims totaled $42,000. They did not cancel me or raise my premiums a significant amount. My experience with Progressive has been good also. They are not marine specialists and they seem to be playing a numbers game. Progressive did not even require a marine survey. Their claims adjuster in my area is good and a marine industry professional. Your local area might be different. I suspect it is hit or miss with Progressive.

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