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Hi All,

I've shopped for the boat, now I've got to shop for some 'accessories'. Could anyone help me out in putting together a list of features I should look for in a new insurance policy? If it matters, this would be on a 20-odd year old 35' coastal cruiser in the NorthEast.

Thanks,
Ed
 

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On most boats over 26' you're required to get a Yacht policy, rather than a boat policy... there are basically two types of basic insurance policies for boats—ACV (actual cash value) and Agreed Value. The latter policies are generally very good if you've got a more expensive boat, but are generally more expensive to get. The difference is that an Agreed Value policy will pay you an "Agreed" amount in the case your boat is lost or stolen, where an actual cash value policy will only pay what your boat is worth.

Several things you will want on your policy, in addition to the basic loss, fire, etc, coverage, regardless of what type it is:

1) Salvage and towing
2) Environmental remediation
3) Liability (most marinas require at least $100,000, many, like mine require $300,000)
4) Theft, preferably with a lower deductible for the dinghy and electronics

For either type of policy, you're probably going to have to have a survey done for the insurance company. Be aware that many insurers will require 20-odd-year-old rigging to be replaced if they are going to insure the rigging.

One other thing to check is what kind of specific named storm coverage you have and what measures you need to take to be covered for a named storm. Also, check to see what geographic region coverage you are covered for. Some policies have relatively small geographic regions, others much wider coverage. The greater the area covered, the more expensive the policy. Finally, also check to see what your layup period and what the requirements for layup are. For instance, some policies will allow in-water layup, others will not.

Hope this helps. :)
 

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I'd be interested in what others opt for in the area of environmental remediation. I think I have $100,000 in liablity and $800,000 against wreck removal and environmental remediation which seems sensible to me, but I could be way off base.
 

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Considering the costs of cleaning up an oil spill.. and that's exactly what happens when a sailboat with a tank full of diesel sinks.. having environmental remediation insurance is cheap... the fines are often in the tens of thousands of dollars... :)
 

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Considering the costs of cleaning up an oil spill.. and that's exactly what happens when a sailboat with a tank full of diesel sinks.. having environmental remediation insurance is cheap... the fines are often in the tens of thousands of dollars... :)
Which is what I was thinking when I selected the policy I did. Anything is possible but the chances of a boat that moves at 8kts doing $100k worth of damage seems fairly remote. However, a worst case scenario with the boat, and its 30 or so gallons of diesel and some quarts of oil on the bottom in an environmentally sensitive area like the Chesapeake could get expensive quick.

I'm sure rasing a sunk sailboat is an expensive proposition, but would likely pale in comparison to the clean up costs.
 

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MLS-

If your boat is stored next to a 40' boat, and yours catches on fire... your liability is going to be a bit short of coverage... or if your boat is stored in a row of boats and catches fire...what do you think will happen??? I'd highly recommend upping your coverage.

Liability coverage isn't just for on the water. This is why most marinas require at least $100,000 in liability minimum... As I said previously, my marina requires $300,000 liability.
 

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For anyone considering environmental liability insurance, I'd check the difference in cost from minimal coverage compared with something like the $800k mentioned as I consider this too extensive.
The reality with both gasoline as well as diesel is that cleanup costs are typically not extravagant - it is impractical to clean up small diesel spills and borders on dangerous to try to contain gasoline spills and neither is typically done if for no other reason than quick dispersion by wind and waves. Unless you're boating on a reservoir, cleanup usually isn't a big ticket item.

The fine is a max of $25,000 and usually mitigated especially if no negligence is involved.

It is difficult to image anything approaching $800k in cleanup liability.
 

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K1vsk-

There are also problems with recovering the sunken hulk... and if you've managed to damage coral... the costs shoot way up.
 

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If you don’t want to spend close to a million bucks salvaging your boat, for heaven’s sake, DON’T WRECK ON A NATIONAL SEASHORE! When Fast Forward came ashore (near the Pt. Bonita lighthouse in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area), the one tug that could have pulled her off the rocks was off the coast of Oregon at the time. The National Park Service would not allow anybody to rappel down the cliff side because of the site is a designated wildlife restoration area. Therefore the boat could not be secured and the resulting wave action ground a six foot hole in her port side destroying her. The salvage plan was worked with and approved by the Park Service, Insurance Company and the USCG. It took about a week to pull the plan together. The salvage team, and their equipment had to enter and leave the wreck site from seaward, requiring a salvage tug and high performance RIB. Once landed, the salvage crew cut down the mast, collected all wreck fragments and secured them to the boat. A sky crane helicopter was flown up from L.A. and lifted the wreck from the cove and set it on a lowboy trailer in the Pt. Bonita lighthouse parking lot and then returned to L.A. Then wreck was driven through the tunnel to the parking lot at Horseshoe Cove, where a Bigge crane lifted it off the lowboy and onto a regular load trailer and the wreck secured for the trip to the salvage company’s facility in Stockton. Meanwhile, the salvage crew removed the bottom paint that had rubbed onto the rocks, finished picking up debris and departed seaward. I don’t know the final price tag but I do know that the salvage was paid for from both the liability and wreck clean-up policies (the owners carried over $1m in their various policies). This may be an extreme example, but I have also heard of sailboats sinking in relatively deepwater of the Bay and having to be re-floated and removed. As I recall I don’t think I had a choice in the coverage (It might be tied to the liability policy and my marina requires $300k of coverage).


<O:p
 

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AEOLUS II
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Considering the costs of cleaning up an oil spill.. and that's exactly what happens when a sailboat with a tank full of diesel sinks.. having environmental remediation insurance is cheap... the fines are often in the tens of thousands of dollars... :)
While the USCG can charge a private citizen no more than 800k for fuel spill remediation, fines are not covered by insurance.

The cost for liability insurance including fuel spill and wreck/salvage removal is relatively cheap.

Get some!!
 

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While the USCG can charge a private citizen no more than 800k for fuel spill remediation, fines are not covered by insurance.

The cost for liability insurance including fuel spill and wreck/salvage removal is relatively cheap.

Get some!!

So do you get a fine for an accidental spill if you are billed up to $800k for the clean up?
 

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AEOLUS II
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So do you get a fine for an accidental spill if you are billed up to $800k for the clean up?
Yes.

Or at least it is up to the descretion of the law enforcement agency to do so and they do so!!

Worse still, you get the USCG, the State of Where ever and Anytown USA fining you.

And if they confiscate your boat, that isn't covered either.

Happy Sailing!!
 

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The key figure there is the no more than $800,000... :)
While the USCG can charge a private citizen no more than 800k for fuel spill remediation, fines are not covered by insurance.

The cost for liability insurance including fuel spill and wreck/salvage removal is relatively cheap.

Get some!!
 

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I want to emphasize the difference between "Agreed Value" and "Actual Cash Value" policies. In the event of a total loss, with an agreed value policy, you are paid the agreed value as stated in the policy - period. "Actual cash value" is a bit trickier. It is "what the boat is worth" - not the face value on the policy. But consider how "worth" is evaluated. It is evaluated by the company's adjuster after the loss. Your opinion of the boat's "worth" may differ significantly from the insurance company's opinion. This is particularly true for older or more unique boats, or boats that have been upgraded in some way. If the boat represents a significant "investment" for you that you can't afford to loose (depends on your finances) then "agreed value" is the way to go.

As a surveyor I see how a lot of companies handle claims, and it varies considerably. Choosing a policy based on cost alone will probably "cost" you more in the long run if you ever have a claim.
 

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Going without

I just finished reading Annie Hill's book "Voyaging on a Small Income". She took the attitude of... "You should be prepared to lose your boat" and opted out of the insurance game.

Serious Stones.... !!!!!

That would make my stomach hurt:confused:
 

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Mud Hen #69, Mad Hatter
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It's not the replacement value that gets you. It's the liability. Some kid thinks it would be funny to swing on the chain of your jackstand and all of a sudden you have accidental death and two other damaged boats down the line to settle up on. Or you anchor out and row in for a dinner ashore and come back to find you dragged down on a Swan 44 who's owner was at the next table.
 

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Hey Delirious: I should have mentioned that Annie Hill opted for liability (but only later in her life). She sailed for many years w/o insurance of any kind.

Like I said.... "Stones". I guess if you love it enough and don't have the money you just take your chances and go sailing.... I'd lose too much sleep but I have to admire her convictions. I have liability on my boat (for exactly the reasons you mentioned) but mine is not worth much so replacement insurance seemed silly.
 

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Considering the costs of cleaning up an oil spill.. and that's exactly what happens when a sailboat with a tank full of diesel sinks.. having environmental remediation insurance is cheap... the fines are often in the tens of thousands of dollars... :)
So now maybe I can get some help with my electric boat project. :)
 

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Doons
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For once I'm not the total rookie, great conversation but I have two quick comments:

1. Agreed Value policies will pay out Agreed Value or Actual Cash Value, whichever is less. As was pointed out earlier Agreed Value will only be paid out in the case of a total loss and the Actual Cash Value either cannot be calculated (it's hard to assess value when your boat is 200 feet down off Nantucket) or if the Agreed Value is Less than the Actual Cash Value. While there may be some out there, I have never seen a policy without this clause.

2. Please carry more than $100,000 in Liability! A boat in layup falling off it's stands is a great example but the expenses from any small accident involving Bodily Injury can quickly go over $100,000. Not to disparage the esteemed legal profession, but just having a boat makes some beleive you have real money and your chances of litigation are high in the case on Injury to a person.

I would encourage all that can to to have at least $500,000 in Liability and an Umbrella Policy; even if you don't have that much in the bank. Increased liability is cheap once you buy the policy it's a small price to pay for the security.

And no while I am in the industry, I don't sell Insurance
 
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