SailNet Community banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Closet Powerboater
Joined
·
3,925 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As we all have heard, Rebel Heart was scuttled, and it was reportedly at the direction of the Coast Guard. I have no idea if they were insured or not, but it brings up a bunch of questions for me about insurance.

1. If you scuttle a boat, will insurance pay? Does it matter that the CG told you to do it?

2. If you scuttle a boat in the shallows, as a tactic to prevent it being broken up by beach surf, will they pay?

3. If you abandon your boat at sea, and they never find the boat, will they pay?


MedSailor
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,485 Posts
I'd say (hope?) that very few would have experience in that area! :eek:

Obviously if you deliberately 'scuttle' the boat for the insurance claim that's fraud and if caught not only will there be no coverage they would also be charges.(not the case here, obviously)

As a safety measure dictated by CG etc that ought to change things.

I think overall that the percentage of insured offshore voyagers is relatively low, the 'loss rate' equally low I doubt there's much data available for these scenarios.

There was a celebrated case some years back locally - a boat was lost in Haro Strait (deep, strong currents) and the skipper recovered in a dinghy. Ultimately a tenacious insurance investigator suspected foul play, the boat was found, recovered (basically 'trawled', snagged and hoisted to the surface successfully on a second attempt) All through hull hoses were found to have been cut off and valves open.

No insurance for you!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,129 Posts
I believe this question is why it's nearly impossible to get hull coverage for an ocean crossing. It's not a question of the likelihood of a loss, its often a question of the choice of a crew to abandon ship. Of course, that's not the case with the sick baby, but is often the case with seasick crew and an injured boat, not a sunken boat. Think how many times we hear of a floating hull long after the storm is over. How would an insurance company know how to assign a premium to a risk that is primarily controlled by the insured.
 

·
Closet Powerboater
Joined
·
3,925 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I believe this question is why it's nearly impossible to get hull coverage for an ocean crossing. It's not a question of the likelihood of a loss, its often a question of the choice of a crew to abandon ship. Of course, that's not the case with the sick baby, but is often the case with seasick crew and an injured boat, not a sunken boat. Think how many times we hear of a floating hull long after the storm is over. How would an insurance company know how to assign a premium to a risk that is primarily controlled by the insured.
Now that's a fine point right there. I hadn't considered that. But Faster's example of fraud (punishable by prison time) and how they were able to prove it by dredging up the boat, illustrates their dilemma perfectly.

This also makes me feel better about ocean crossings. I generally feel that insurance companies are shrewd calculators of risk, and while I consider crossing an ocean to be a fairly safe endeavor if done right, it's always bugged be that it's a nearly uninsurable venture, which leads me to wonder if I am underestimating the real risk.

MedSailor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,113 Posts
Now that's a fine point right there. I hadn't considered that. But Faster's example of fraud (punishable by prison time) and how they were able to prove it by dredging up the boat, illustrates their dilemma perfectly.

This also makes me feel better about ocean crossings. I generally feel that insurance companies are shrewd calculators of risk, and while I consider crossing an ocean to be a fairly safe endeavor if done right, it's always bugged be that it's a nearly uninsurable venture, which leads me to wonder if I am underestimating the real risk.

MedSailor
I wonder if the sample size is too small to make it feasible to calculate the risk. They would probably want a current survey. That and the premium, and many would choose to go "bare".
 

·
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Joined
·
4,525 Posts
I believe this question is why it's nearly impossible to get hull coverage for an ocean crossing. It's not a question of the likelihood of a loss, its often a question of the choice of a crew to abandon ship. Of course, that's not the case with the sick baby, but is often the case with seasick crew and an injured boat, not a sunken boat. Think how many times we hear of a floating hull long after the storm is over. How would an insurance company know how to assign a premium to a risk that is primarily controlled by the insured.
There are companies that have specialized insurance coverage for offshore cruisers. We have insured with Merkel Insurance using something called the Jackline policy. No harder to get than regular insurance as long as the boat surveys and you present a record of competence. Price goes up or down depending on where you will be sailing in the coming year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,704 Posts
I believe this question is why it's nearly impossible to get hull coverage for an ocean crossing.
I have never had a problem getting insurance for ocean crossings. The cost is not even any higher than one would expect. What is significant is that it is nearly impossible to get segmented cover. In other words, in my experience, trans-ocean cover is only provided in the event of total loss. We have never been able to get cover for a rig failure or other partial loss.

As far as scuttling your boat, there is a lot of speculation about consequential loss. So most insurance policies have cover for public liability and that would cover things like damaging other people's boats and so on but will this cover a boat that is abandoned in a floating condition and then causes damaged because it is unmanned? I don't believe so. So effectively the insurer is not exposed and leaving the boat floating is no risk to them.

There is also an obligation to not leave a vessel as a navigation hazard but once again, I don't believe this can be used to motivate an insurance claim. I don't believe there is a legal requirement to send a boat that is left unmanned to the bottom.

As a personal experience, I lost a vessel in a foreign country several years ago and my insurance paid for the total loss in full but the recovery/salvage/disposal of the remains of the vessel were not paid for and were not considered as part of public liability cover. So in the event that a vessel is abandoned and not scuttled and there is consequential loss as a result does not financially expose the insurer so they would probably not see any potential saving for them. Consequently they would question the scuttling. So unless there was compelling evidence to show that the boat would have in any case been destined for the ocean floor I suspect you would be in trouble.

Having said all of this, if my boat was severely damaged in a storm but still floating and I knew that the insurer was not going to cover it because it was "not a total loss", let's just say that my mind would be wandering into some questionable territory in terms of desirable future ownership.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,129 Posts
It's just occurring to me that coverage availability varies from state to state in the US and it's probably just as different internationally. We have some states that are very hard on what insurance companies must cover or pay and, therefore, some won't don't provide coverage at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Locally a boat sank (or was sunk ) in a rather deep trench ...the insurance company side scanned where the owner said the boat when down...nothing found... the owner was then given the option of dropping the claim or the company (would) find the boat...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,129 Posts
Just heard a story of a dinghy that was stolen from the marina. Owner put in an insurance claim and bought a brand new dinghy in a couple of weeks. Then the police found his original dink about 10 miles down the Bay.

Got me thinking. My dink is about 8 years old. I wondered if he was available to steal mine too. :)

I should bite my tongue, it will end up stolen, while we're ashore having dinner. Think I will keep the key with me after all.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top