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  #21  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

pye-
In with your considerations, also consider that if you hsould drop your insurance and then later decide you want insurance again? You may find it much harder to get. Some companies will continue to reissue insurance on older boats--but not issue it to a "new" customer. Others will issue it to a former customer, but not to a new customer.

And then there's liability. It doesn't matter what your boat is worth, if you lose it, OK, you lose thirty grand. If you lose it and you have to pay for envorionmental cleanup and wreck removal, or the Hinckley it pulled off a mooring and smashed...you could lose way more than the value of the boat. And some of that liability would extend 20 years and survive bankruptcy as well, so even if you are "judgement proof" there's some risk beyond the price of your boat.

How the numbers and odds work out for oyu, depends on your own numbers. Just beware that once you drop it, on an older boat, you may not be able to get it back again.
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  #22  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

I must have gotten lucky with my only two boat insuring experiences. Right after I bought my boat, I applied for insurance and they required a survey. The surveyor listed "recommended changes" and "mandatory changes." The mandatory changes were things like installing an automatic bilge pump (the existing pump was manual only,) putting the two batteries in covered containers, etc. The insurance company required only that I give them a plan for how I intended to fix the mandatory changes. Coverage was not contingent on having everything fixed, I just had to have a plan. Of course, I'm a reasonable man, and I would not expect them to cover a claim that was caused by one of those listed problems not being fixed yet.

Then, a year later, that company jacked up my premium 20%. So I shopped around and got a much lower rate (lower than the first year at the other company even.) The second company didn't even require a survey.

I don't think it's unreasonable for an insurance company to require a boat owner to fix problems that a surveyor found. I also strongly suspect, though I don't know for sure, that there is some sort of legal protection from a denied claim based on something totally unrelated to the cause of the claim, provided that the premium was paid up and the owner was completely honest in all information given during the application. I don't think an insurance company can just retroactively void a policy because of something that was not originally a condition of coverage. It's a different matter if there was an explicit statement that coverage was contingent upon certain things being done by the owner.
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  #23  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

Self insurance is not a good option in this day when lawyers are just waiting for and excuse to sue someone. And then there is oil spill costs and wreck removal. If your boat should sink at the marina due to a storm you are libel for the thousands it could cost to clean up oil from your engine and then have the boat removed. If you have a guest and they get hurt you are libel. The worst case I knew of was a man who bought a boat. The broker assured him he had transfered the insurance with the title. The new owner was bringing the boat home and it sank due to no fault of his. His girl friend died before they were rescued. Her family sued. He found out that the salesman never did file the paper work and he was not insured. He lost everything he owned and after years of endless law suites took his own life.
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  #24  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

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Originally Posted by scratchee View Post
What happens when your mast falls over onto the $250k boat next to you?

"Self insuring" for your own loss is one thing; self insuring for liability is quite another.


Sorry about that, with most marina's requiring liability insurance, I meant self insure in the sense of carrying only liability insurance and I took it for granted that you would understand that.

My bad.

Wonder how I can re-post the same question with the added information because I am sure I am going to get a lot of replys like this. I am not as dumb as you think I am.

Last edited by pyewackette; 05-02-2013 at 11:04 PM. Reason: More stuff
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Old 05-02-2013
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

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Originally Posted by pyewackette View Post
Sorry about that, with most marina's requiring liability insurance, I meant self insure in the sense of carrying only liability insurance and I took it for granted that you would understand that.
Hmmm, that almost sounds like sort of a clever, passive aggressive (learned that term from my wife) retort. Fortunately I don't worry too much about such things.

But now I do understand. Thanks for the clarification.

Edit: Hey wait. Did you add the "not as dumb as you think I am?" I don't remember seeing that the first time.
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Old 05-02-2013
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

A good surveyor will take into account the age and type of boat he is looking at. I used to survey every boat built for a major manufacture and I would right up at least a page of things. I would not write up any of those same items on a 30 yo boat. I had been building and repairing boats for 30 years when I started surveying. I was arrogant enough to think I could run circles around most surveyors. I have since learned there is a lot more to being a good surveyor than just looking at boats and pointing out defects. It is a skill that takes practice. Honestly most surveyors do not want to make the boat owners life hard we do care. But you better believe the insurance companies will not think twice about suing us if we screw up. When I look at a older boat I am looking more at safety issues. It sometimes happens a owner is blind to some real issues. It is all a careful balance and a good surveyor will do their best to make sure the owner is safe and the insurance company will not have a loss.
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  #27  
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

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Originally Posted by scratchee View Post
Hmmm, that almost sounds like sort of a clever, passive aggressive (learned that term from my wife) retort. Fortunately I don't worry too much about such things.

But now I do understand. Thanks for the clarification.
So, who's the PA, you are your wife? And it appears you do worry about it or you wouldn't have brought it up.

But, in any event, your welcome, hope I can get some meaningful information now that I left out important information. Maybe I should start a new post, what do you think?
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  #28  
Old 05-03-2013
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

scrathchee, you're right that an insurer can't retroactively change the terms of your policy.

But in reality? They know that 99% of all customers never read their policy. They actually pay typesetters and designers to make the policy as unreadable as possible, even when there are legal requirements about the print. There are ways to make things so damned hard to read, that you'll give up. And brokers and insurers have paid people to design their documents that way.

Then they also know that if they deny a certain number of claims, a substantial nbumber of people will accept that and not argue--even if the denial is wrong. Big article in the NYTimes about medical insurers doing that some time ago (5? 10? years) where the claims agent said they were specifically told to reject every nth claim, right or wrong, because so many wouldn't appeal the denial. Legal? No. Industry practice? Apparently.

And then there are insurers who will offer you "book" value, except, they'll also intentionally use an illegal and incorrect valuation method, even when state insurance regulations specify otherwise. "Gee, we're sorry" and they never get penalized, because the penalty would have to be shutting them down and then catch-22, there'd be no insurers left at all.

So...it is a zero-sum game, and the insurer is rarely your friend. Some are more reputable than others. A few sometimes are honest. But overall? Most of them are for-profit corporations, and they'll do whatever they think gives them the biggest profit in the shortest term.

Like Vegas, the house always wins.
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  #29  
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
...Then they also know that if they deny a certain number of claims, a substantial number of people will accept that and not argue--even if the denial is wrong.
I think I've encountered that in other areas, not just insurance. I strongly suspect that in many areas of business, the default answer is often "no," in hopes that a certain percentage of people won't take it any further than that. And they probably know what the percentage is, and that probably figures into their financial planning.

[Totally off topic, but that reminds me of my dad telling me about having dinner with an executive from a phone company. My dad asked him what percentage of pre-paid phone cards were never used, thereby giving the phone company a huge profit margin on those cards, and the phone guy wouldn't even acknowledge that my dad had asked the question. Again, I strongly suspect that the phone company knows precisely what percentage of phone cards will never be used.]
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Re: Insurance rant - How would you respond

Certainly part of my problem is that this is my first boat and I have not encountered all these nuances of the industry. Initially I was annoyed that I had to spend $400 for a survey, knowing full well that they would be jacking up my insurance rate anyway (because of Sandy I assumed). And they did not disappoint, my insurance bill went up 20% this year. But after the survey was done I was glad I had it done, because it helped me focus on what the important issues were that should be taken care of. Prior to that I was more likely to be concerned that I had the teak all stained nice. So I had full intention of taking care of the surveyor's recommendations anyway, but it caught me by suprise that they would require all the recommendations to be addressed, in the next 30 days. I guess I should be glad it is only every 5 years or at least that is the attitude the insurance company is trying to instill. It is fortunate that I can take care of most of the items myself, even if it means making up a warning label for a diesel heater that has no warning label.

thanks,
Ron
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