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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance
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Thread: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-06-2012 07:49 PM
xymotic
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

The other huge advantage of boat US is that they actually pay. I know several people who have made claims and I have personally as well and every single one was paid in a straightforward and timely manner.

I have other friends who have fought tooth and nail over every detail for YEARS with other companies.
12-06-2012 07:42 PM
JimMcGee
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

As some others have said the big advantage of BoatUS is that they understand boats.

A local yard with an excellent reputation told me BoatUS is the best of the insurance companies they deal with for exactly that reason.

I'm a little surprised that so many posters only carry minimum coverage. For a few dollars more I was able to add replacement coverage for my electronics and insure my boat for an agreed value -- it has a lot of additions a "typical" boat wouldn't have.

I just wish I could find an auto/homeowners company that provided this kind of service.
12-06-2012 10:56 AM
denverd0n
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
Create a LLC, put the boat under the LLC and put it on a mooring or anchor. Its worth nothing, and the LLC will protect you...
Whether it will protect you, and to what level, depends on a LOT of different variables. Trying to do this without spending a good bit of time (and money) with an attorney would be a VERY foolish thing to do. In the end, I suspect it would be cheaper and easier to just keep looking until you find someone willing to write you a liability policy.
12-06-2012 07:29 AM
TakeFive
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
I know that this was written in June, but I wanted to say that State Farm insured us on a new boat two months ago, and it is kept in salt water. They know this too.

They did require a survey (although they asked for it months later) due to declared value. They didn't require a survey on our previous boat (worth about 1/3rd as much).
Beware of State Farm and other homeowners companies for boat policies. I believe that they do not know how to fully insure a boat.

I used State Farm the first year I had my boat. Then I learned about a few key things that my policy lacked. They do not cover environmental fees if your boat should leak fuel in an accident. These fees can be huge. Also, they do not cover salvage costs sufficiently. The salvage costs are capped at the value of your boat. For example, if your boat is totaled in a storm and ends up wrecked on the shore of a state park, they'll pay only the value of the boat, and that's it. So if you're required to remove the boat, that comes out of the money, and you only get what's left after paying the salvage company. Since salvage can be costly, you could get $0 for your boat. But you will definitely get less than the full value of the boat.

I went to ask my State Farm agent about these things, and she had no idea. They just do no know about the issues that boat owners face.

I moved to BoatUS and got excellent coverage for all of the missing things - at a lower rate than State Farm.
12-06-2012 03:23 AM
Alex W
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by mndieck View Post
Case in point I have also learned from my friend at the marina that he got cheap liability insurance through State Farm 2 years ago, with zero experience on a 30ft sailboat. Calling State Farm, they had changed their policies and/or underwriter one year ago and no longer insure boats in the salt- he is grandfathered in, for now.
I know that this was written in June, but I wanted to say that State Farm insured us on a new boat two months ago, and it is kept in salt water. They know this too.

They did require a survey (although they asked for it months later) due to declared value. They didn't require a survey on our previous boat (worth about 1/3rd as much).
12-05-2012 07:22 PM
Jeff_H
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

I would try BoatUs as someone else mentioned. When I bought my boat there were a number of pretty serious deficiencies on the survey. I was able to get 'port restricted' insurance for the boat through Boat US.

Once I was able to correct the problems and get a surveyor to record that the propane tank no longer vented to the engine room, and that the knife switch for the 110 volt fuse panel was no longer on board and next to the propane tank, I was able to switch to a normal policy.

I also found BoatUS easy to talk to, and understanding about the realities of an old boat. For example I was able to negotiate a temporary process of getting the old girl off of port restriction if I removed the propane tank and did not use my 110 v system long enough for me to bring her home, where I switched to an alcohol stove and redid the 110 v system.

As others have suggested, BoatUS may tell you tha the problem is with your experience owning a boat. I would suggest that you put a resume together showing your experience on boats, and discuss that resume with the agent. Worse comes to worse, you may need to go through a sailing safety course.

Jeff
12-05-2012 07:07 PM
NaviGsr
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

I'm surprised no one would write you for liability alone with a rider stating that you will not run the boat yourself or that you would only have a captain run it etc.
12-05-2012 04:04 PM
caberg
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
Create a LLC, put the boat under the LLC and put it on a mooring or anchor. Its worth nothing, and the LLC will protect you from the (remote) chance that your boat causes someone else damages beyond the value of the boat.
Yea, I'm not so sure about that. If you're trying to limit your personal liability by placing the boat in an LLC, don't forget that boats are operated by people, and usually the operator will bear some fault when the boat damages another person. I mean, you can't put your car into an LLC, crash into someone, and tell them they're out of luck because they got damaged by an uninsured asset-less LLC.

In some situations, like if you're chartering out the boat to others, an LLC might be useful to limit personal liability, but not when you yourself are the operator of the boat.
12-05-2012 01:24 PM
JulieMor
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

I was looking at a '76 Sabre 34 that listed for $12K. I wanted to find out what the boat might be worth in average condition. I went to Boat US and filled out a form and they sent me an email estimating it at around $30K but added it could be higher or lower depending on a survey.

Then I started getting emails to insure it. I even got a policy in the mail that was for Florida and the Bahamas and the surrounding area. It was about $1,200/yr, but only insured the boat for $15K. I had already figured it would cost me that in repairs alone to make her safe to sail any farther from land than I could swim.

(I don't remember all the questions in the questionnaire but if they asked I would have said the largest boat I have ever sailed is 45' and I have about 7K-8K miles of sailing experience.)

They continued to send me emails about the policy for several weeks, the last being on 11/29 that included a toll free number to call or a link where I could go to purchase the insurance. At no time did I get anything that told me this offer was contingent on anything other than writing the check. I didn't pursue it because I didn't buy the boat.

FWIW.
12-04-2012 06:20 PM
xymotic
Re: Help- New owner of 40ft old sailboat, can't get insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by mndieck View Post
UPDATE

Owner of thread here:

So I called BoatUS on the recommendations of SailNet community. At this time they will not touch it. Bryan, one of the underwriters, was very helpful though, and I have learned much to share. He said if I had 12 months of ownership of this boat, and a few ASA classes under my belt, then getting insurance through BoatUS shouldn't be a problem. New boat Owner/limited experience (2 years of using other peoples boats...)/Big boat is the biggest headache.

It doesn't help that this boat was once on land, though a decent survey may help that. I expect the hull and engine to survey well, but a few soft spots on the deck and some old rigging/sails will cause issues. Not terrible for a 38 year old boat, but I have issues I want to address before survey.

Now, according to the underwriter, over the past year or so the entire marine insurance industry has tightened up considerably. If this had been 2 years ago, insurance would not have been a problem. Case in point I have also learned from my friend at the marina that he got cheap liability insurance through State Farm 2 years ago, with zero experience on a 30ft sailboat. Calling State Farm, they had changed their policies and/or underwriter one year ago and no longer insure boats in the salt- he is grandfathered in, for now. Essentially, if you have a good insurance policy DON'T LET IT LAPSE!

At this point, a lot of the marinas are not even aware of the difficulties for new boat owners to acquire insurance. Asking around it was one of those "Oh, just get $300,000 liability insurance to protect our docks and the other boats and it won't be a problem..."

Bryan, the BoatUS underwriter, has given me three smaller insurance companies that may be able to help. Unfortunately they are only open M-F. Current plan is to get the boat fully seaworthy, take a few ASA classes, and try these other companies- not necessarily in that order.

Will post the outcome.
You may be able to get an umbrella personal liability policy that would cover you for anything. Might be worth asking if the marina would accept that instead of a boat policy.

Also, THANK YOU for following up on this thread! I wish more people did that
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