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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?
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Thread: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-04-2013 07:51 PM
MedSailor
Re: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwindward View Post
The repair is already mostly done! See attached photo.
Looks great! Paint it a different color so you don't have to worry about pesky color matching. Something like shark teeth....
MedSailor
08-04-2013 04:08 AM
aaronwindward
Re: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

The repair is already mostly done! See attached photo.
08-03-2013 12:57 AM
aaronwindward
Re: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Looking the photos Gad... it's not even that bad! unless OP is not showing the whole picture.
Nope, that's pretty much it.

But the scariest part doesn't really show up well: the hull-to-deck joint damage.

The main thing that makes it expensive even though there's no hole is that basically it doesn't matter if it's holed or not. The impact caused local delamination, and so basically the entire idea has to be ground out until it's past the delamination. Obviously the glass is thick there, so with appropriate chamfering/beveling, it ends up being a good amount of glass to redo.

Additionally, the location complicates things; they make a mold so that everything comes out nice, but that's obviously harder on the stem than some arbitrary flat spot somewhere else.

So it comes out to a few days of work, but when you're paying a professional to do it, that's a good chunk of change. And I don't mind that, because there's no way I'd be able to tackle something like that in just a few days.
08-02-2013 03:45 PM
CalebD
Re: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwindward View Post
It is hard for me to fully express how upsetting to me the lapse of seamanship that caused the accident is. I don't know how it could be more personally embarrassing. It wasn't a case of my lack of knowledge or mistaken judgment; I just screwed up and bad things happened.

I hit a navigational buoy.

There. Let mocking and disapproving consternation begin. I deserve it. I can't think of anything that's a bigger screw up on the water than to hit a huge red steel navigational aid that's designed to prevent you from hitting things.

There's a bit more to it than that...
No mocking from here. I was on a sailboat where the auto pilot steered us right into a nav buoy far from land on a clear beautiful day. The only difference was the buoy we hit was big, metal and green!

You are not the first and certainly won't be the last person to do this. As more people rely on auto pilots hooked up with their chart plotters this is bound to happen over and over. Those nav buoys seem to be constructed to survive a casual collision with commercial shipping like tug boats and barges.

I am glad to hear that BoatUS has been willing to work with you. If you avoided a "CTL" situation you are probably fine.
08-02-2013 12:01 PM
deniseO30
Re: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

Looking the photos Gad... it's not even that bad! unless OP is not showing the whole picture.
08-02-2013 06:40 AM
Dubbinchris
Re: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

Very interesting how this all played out. Please keep us updated if things seem to go sour. I have not really had any experience with boat insurance and especially not claims. I would have been just as surprised as you with their request.
08-02-2013 05:54 AM
aaronwindward
Update: Settlement, everything seems OK

Like people in this thread mention, BoatUS is actually pretty reasonable to talk to. Several times during this claim I've basically just called BoatUS and basically said 'let me talk to someone' and there was someone to talk to, even on the weekends. Now, I keep strange hours, and I'm on the West Coast (and BoatUS is on the East Coast), so I find having to call within business hours still a bit annoying, but it's probably about as good as it's going to get.

Once I let the adjuster resume the claim, they were pretty quick about getting the boat surveyed, and I actually got a settlement offer the same week. I spoke to both adjusters and underwriters at BoatUS, and my understanding is that despite the large claim, it is unlikely that a single claim from someone who's been insured with them a while will cause insurance to be cancelled. (A few thousand dollars on a hull is apparently not actually that large of a claim for them.)

BoatUS deserves a lot of credit for making things go really well. But there were two factors that saved the hull from being a total loss, that were mostly just luck:

1. BoatUS has a significant materials depreciation schedule, and for a boat as old as mine, depreciation is 90%, meaning that BoatUS only pays 10% of the materials in repairs. Normally, I think this would undesirable, and perhaps an unexpected surprise, but it kept the actual pay-out cost away from the CTL cut-off value.

2. The boat is probably under-insured, so the insured value is actually much less than the value the boat surveys for; this probably wasn't as big of a factor, but I get the impression that it means the boat would have been harder to CTL even on a somewhat larger payout.

So, I had the yard start the work, and supposedly, 'the check's in the mail.'

Assuming everything works out, BoatUS has actually really saved my skin here. The unexpected cost if I had had to pay this myself would have majorly messed up my other improvement plans while at the boat yard, and I was super worried about that. They basically talked me into pursuing the claim, and as far as I can tell, I won't lose my insurance and everything will continue to be OK.

I'm glad I ended up trusting the adjuster! When have you ever heard that before?

Obviously I'll yelp if something somehow goes wrong here, but it's looking like BoatUS did really good for me, and went above the call of duty. I also got the impression that even if circumstances hadn't have worked out so favorably, BoatUS still would have worked with me to find a way to make this work.

Once everything with the claim is history, and the boat is back on the water, the first thing I'm going to do is upgrade to BoatUS's more expensive yacht policy, and correct my underinsurance situation. (That's not possible to do on the "Saver" policy.)
07-23-2013 05:38 AM
aaronwindward
Re: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
"Figure out where to get an unbudgeted $4000 from. I have another $3000 of unexpected expenses rolling around as well, in addition to the other multi-thousand planned yard expenses, so I'm in a slightly tight spot. Clearly I need to keep a bigger buffer around for these sorts of things."

On a A 70s something Ericsson 27?

Clearly, your either obsessed with paying for EVERYTHING boat related or you can't/won't/don't know how work on your own boat and do your own repairs.

Get rid of the boat!

Be happy.
I appreciate the advice, even though it seems a little harsh. However, I think there's another perspective.

All of the costs in question are primarily "labor." That means I'm paying an hourly rate for a qualified person to complete the work. Good boatyard rates are high, but I believe that is because their skill, expertise, and experience is very valuable.

I understand this, because I am also have very special, valuable skills, although not in marine work; my personal rate, at which I value my time, is actually not far off from the yard rate. My time isn't free, and it is a huge economic miscalculation to take it to be. In fact, I tend to be so focused on my work that my time scarce free time seems especially valuable. Even though I enjoy working on my boat, I also enjoy sailing the boat, and I enjoy being with my friends and the rest of my life, not all of which is sailing-related. In more concrete financial terms, you call this 'opportunity cost.'

I've done fiberglass work on my boat before, and I know enough to know I don't have nearly the skill in fiberglass to be able to do the repair at even a large fraction of the man-hours that experienced professionals can. In the amount of time that repair would take me, I can earn far more doing something I'm actually especially good at. Therefore I would call this a 'false economy,' and it's a very expensive false economy at that, figuratively throwing money away.

A while back I read this story in print, of which I barely remember the details: (I can't remember the author! Maybe someone will recognize it.) This guy from Sausalito got this sailboat, and very publicly was spending all of this time refinishing it, and the time be put into his boat was admirable. But he never sailed it. Well one day he did, with some friends who took him out, and he hated it, and the ending is sad.

I recognize those people on these forums too. They're the ones engaging in time-consuming and complicated improvements, who advocate aggressive and expansive maintenance schedules. Key topics are removing deck hardware, repainting, revarnishing, teak plugs, and fond recommendations of cabinet scrapers. I'd never want to criticize how someone spends their free time, because that's up to them, and I respect that. I even have a varnish job on my kitchen table right now, and it's not exactly my first one.

But that's not me. I'd rather be sailing.

Give up my boat? Not on my life; go get your own boat!
07-23-2013 05:04 AM
aaronwindward
Re: Did I make a mistake in reporting a claim to BoatUS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
I'm almost surprised this hasn't been asked before: What did you run into on the water to cause this damage?
It is hard for me to fully express how upsetting to me the lapse of seamanship that caused the accident is. I don't know how it could be more personally embarrassing. It wasn't a case of my lack of knowledge or mistaken judgment; I just screwed up and bad things happened.

I hit a navigational buoy.

There. Let mocking and disapproving consternation begin. I deserve it. I can't think of anything that's a bigger screw up on the water than to hit a huge red steel navigational aid that's designed to prevent you from hitting things.

There's a bit more to it than that. I was on the water for the opening day of Louis Vuitton Cup (America's Cup) racing, as a spectator. That area of water is pretty open, with no geographic hazards to a vessel of my size. However, there were a ton of boats on the water, in a relatively small space outside of the regulated area. A lot of boats were late to the show, and were trying to get into position as quickly as possible so they wouldn't miss anything. My boat is smallish for the SF Bay, and so I had the sails up to try to keep the chop as comfortable as possible. (Motoring into the chop is uncomfortable, and drifting would not have been safe; the sails and heeling help steady the rolling and pitching.)

It was before the "race" had begun, and I was having to do a good bit of navigation to stay clear of all of the other traffic. I must have seen the buoy, but somehow, I simply did not process it, and did not identify it as a threat. I was so fixated on avoiding the boats around me, that somehow I simply didn't notice it until the bow slammed into it.

There was one crew member on deck as well at the time, but their view on the buoy immediately before the accident was partially obstructed by the jib.

It also wasn't like I wasn't aware the buoy was there. The chartplotter was on and functioning, and within my view, and I was actively using it to try to stay in the correct zone.

After a quick damage assessment, we determined the damage was minor enough that we didn't need to take emergency actions. Right as the race started, the boat traffic really quieted down, as people stopped racing all over, and started watching the race. After it was over, we took an unplanned stop in the City to inspect the damage at the dock and "cool off;" then made the ~25 nm trip back home.

I've attached damage photos. Note that the hull-to-deck joint damage is somewhat subtle, which is why I didn't notice it at first, but visible on the delamination on the inside. The full extent might not be obvious until the rub rail comes off.
07-23-2013 04:38 AM
aaronwindward
Unexpected BoatUS telephone call: The adjuster urges me to submit a claim

There's been a really interesting development here; after canceling the claim over the weekend, I considered the matter closed.

But BoatUS didn't; the adjuster originally assigned to my claim called me today in the early afternoon, and suggested that his opinion was that I should continue with the claim. Maybe that's understating it a little bit; he urged me very strongly to continue with the claims process, and see what it might do for me.

I explained to him my concerns, about losing insurance, and the time delay. I told him the outcome I wanted: to continue to be insured, and to get my boat back in the water and sailing. He was very non-committal, but he said that he felt that there was probably some way we could come to some agreement that was satisfactory; he also said there was a good chance of avoiding CTL. He wouldn't say anything about how this might affect the future of my policy, but he encouraged me to talk to an underwriter about it.

In total, the 20 minutes on the unexpected call was an extremely surprising experience. It's too early for me to pass judgment on BoatUS, but I think it is apparent that BoatUS is not your typical insurance company. Who has ever heard of a situation where an insurance company could pass up a chance to pay out a few thousand, but instead actively advocates to for the opportunity to pay?

I asked the adjuster to explain this obviously backward situation. He said, loosely quoting, "we're all boaters here," and that BoatUS just wants to do the right thing, for the sake of boating. I think I'll let time tell whether that's actually the case, and proceed with my claim.

I hope the yard and surveyor won't be overly annoyed at me waffling; I also hope they haven't actually begun any relevant work, since I haven't checked in with them today!
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