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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The insurance for my boat is reasonably priced by my current company, even after Sandy (we are in NC and where not effected by that storm). Their geographical restrictions are ok by me as they emcompass my general sailing area. They require a survey every 5 years I own the boat. I have just completed 5 years and I had the boat surveyed by an accreddited surveyor.

His findings are listed as recommendations at three levels; green - surveyor observations and general recommendations, blue - maintenance issues which are not necessarily manditory, and red - safety defects which may be manditory.

the vessel was found fit for its intended purpose with the following red recommendations:
inspect and replace the propane tanks as necessary; it is highly recommended that a pressure gauge be inserted in the propane system to test for leaks (this is just a recommendation).

have the life raft inspection brought up to date (the life raft is not required for operation, but clearly before I venture out where I might need it I will have it inspected).

the blue and green recommendations mostly consited of meeting ABYC recommendations which include warning labels for the operation of all appliances; such as the stove, the diesel cabin heater, etc.

the value of the boat was found to be nearly equal to my purchase price 5 years ago and the replacement value is 5 times that amount.

I am complying with the red safety recommendations, but after discussion with the surveyor he indicated that ABYC requirements are only recommendations and not manditory and in fact the warning label requirments under ABYC-A26 do not really apply to the appliances I have.

I then recieve a letter from my insurance company thanking me for the survey and then stating that "Within the survey, there are “recommendations” set forth to bring your boat into good repair. Even though the survey identifies these as “recommendations,” they are requirements of your insurance policy."

I am furious at their audacity to take my money and ignore their responsibililty to insure my boat based on missing warning labels that don't even apply!

How would you respond to the insurance company based on these statements?

Just ranting, :mad::mad:
Ron
 

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Wouldn't sticking a few warning labels on the appropriate pieces of equipment be a lot easier, and raise your blood pressure less, than ranting?
 

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Do you have an agent or did you buy directly from the insurance carrier. An agent should be helpful in detailing that the warnings do not apply and have it noted that won't void your policy. I suspect you received a form letter.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
SBS,
Sure in the end that is likely what I will do (eventhough the manufacturer of the diesel heater says there is no such label). But what I am ranting about is the principle that if the insurance company can require a survey and then will not determine, from that survey, what is required for the safe operation of the vessel then when the time comes for a claim (if ever) I don't believe they will at that time determine whether any of these recommendations had anything to do with the claim. They will ask one question, "did you comply with your policy in making all the necessary corrections?" If not, claim denied.
 

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.....They will ask one question, "did you comply with your policy in making all the necessary corrections?" If not, claim denied.
I presume you don't know that would be the case, you fear it would.

Nevertheless, different carriers have very different approaches to claims. Would you be surprised that the less expensive policies are more likely to behave as you fear? That's how they save money to pass along in lower premiums.
 

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Your boat has a stated or agreed value the insurance company will pay you based on that agreed value. They simply want to make sure your boat remains at that value. Yeah ok so some seem silly but remember there is some person sitting in a cubical looking at hundreds of these reports, That person may never have been on a boat in their life. Insurance companies always get a bit skiddish after a big storm.

Also a pressure gauge in your propane system is USCG law not something that is just highly recommended. The gauge is to check for leaks and you really need to have that in there for your own safety.
 

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Sounds like a form letter. The person sending it may not have even looked at the surveyors report other than there was a section titled recomendations.
 

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No

My survey person understands that once he puts anything on the survey the insurance company will require it

How do you expect and insurance company to understand the GRAY area of a survey report

IF there is GRAY and it does not affect boat safety they have no business on the survey and you need a better person

At this point in time there are so many ABYC things most BRAND NEW boats even from better builders would have and issue with something IF somebody looked at every possible rule and put there personal interpretation of the rules meaning into it ;)
 

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I would call my insurance agent, and even the surety representative directly. Sometimes it takes a couple of calls to get to someone knowledgeable enough to interpret the policy language for you. Discuss the specifics and listen to what what they say. You might be okay.

If you are being treated unfairly, then its time to call another insurance company.
 

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Perform the upgrades/changes the insurance company asks for along with photos and receipts for proof. You don't really want to give the company an "out" in the event of a claim.
 

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Try to think of it like this:

You invite guest "A" for a sail. Guest "A" messes with the stove, oven heater thinking they are helping. This causes propane to leak into the boat. Your boat blows up and guest "A" is badly hurt.

Guest "A's" lawyer sues you/your insurance company and finds a survey that listed a lack of plackards for safe use of oven, stove heater etc.. Your insurance company saw the survey but did not ask you to add said plackards.... Your insurance company is very likely now on the hook. They are simply covering their butts in an attempt to minimize potential claims..

In the whole scheme you got off very, very lightly. I get calls about once every few weeks to "fix" insurance non-compliance.

Everything from wire nuts to bank fusing, bank venting, battery containment, battery hold downs, over current protection, corrosion in electrical connections, to LPG systems to fuel hose to bilge blowers and bilge pump systems. I don't get calls for plackards as they are a simple peel & stick for the owner...

I have one boat that is completely out of commission due to wet decks around the chain plates and can't go in the water until the owner spends 10k to fix the issues. It should be done for safety, it is truly unsafe, but the owner is still pissed.

The big ticket items for insurance companies that I get calls for are:

Electrical - They seem to want compliance with what ever the surveyor finds.

LPG systems - They want compliance with current standards

Bilge systems - High water alarms, wiring, proper hose size etc.

CO/Smoke - When heaters etc. are present they are asking for them

Fuel systems - double clamps, USCG fuel hose, hose cracking, tank & fill grounding, fire rated filters in engine bays etc. etc.

The ABYC only sets the bar for safety. Your insurance company determines your level of compliance with the current safety standards based on periodic surveys.. This is why I always recommend doing any work on your boat to the current safety standards. This is also why I always chuckle when I hear the mantra; "The ABYC is a standard not a requirement. You can do what you want on your own boat."

Yes, this is 100% true that you can do what you want on your own boat, unless you want to have marine insurance... Kind of a catch 22.....

I have one customer who used "wet exhaust" hose for a diesel fill hose, because he got a "good deal" (an end cut at Hamilton Marine's hose cut sale bin).

1.5" hose is 1.5" hose right??? Last summer he had an insurance survey and the "good deal" became not such a good deal and his insurance company mandated a USCG compliance fuel fill hose. Seeing as this was middle of the season the owner did not have the time to do the job. After I took half the interior apart to get at the hose, and added the cost of the new hose, his good deal cost about $260.00 more than just using the right hose to begin with. It was $2.80 ft difference for 7.5 ft of hose so he initially saved $21.00. A savings of $21.00 only to spend an additional $260.00 to meet his insurance companies compliance request based on a survey....:eek:

I don't think safe use plackards are a lot to ask when you put yourself in your insurance companies shoes especially as it is now in writing that you don't have them. The run a game of numbers and you, me and every other customer is a number to them. The more we comply with accepted safety standards the less potential for loss they have.

Again, you got pretty lucky and your surveyor could have easily really stung you.....

THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE IS THIS:

DO NOT MESS WITH YOUR CURRENT POLICY AND DO AS THEY ASK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have customers who have pulled "attitude" with their insurance companies over trivial requirements in an insurance survey. Then a few weeks later only to find a "you're coverage has been dropped" letter in the mail..

Try getting new coverage vs. an existing policy on an older boat. Most companies will just tell you "We don't insure boats of "X" age".... If they do, the new policy pricing can be outrageous on older boats.

A new coverage survey is a FULL SURVEY and much tougher and considerably more thorough than a standard insurance (already covered) survey. One guy is now paying about $1200.00 more per year than he had been for the same value coverage! All this over a rather trivial requirement (about $120.00 to fix) found in an insurance survey that he gave them some guff over....... Something to consider anyway.......
 

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Surveyors....what would we do without them. :laugher
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is not the surveyor that I am annoyed with, I thought his recommendations were all fair and reasonable. But I did not expect the insurance company to make EVERY recommendation a REQUIREMENT.

I called my agent and expressed my displeasure with their approach. He tried to re-assure me that in the event of the claim it would only be those items related to the claim that they would contest. It is up to me to document that all the recommendations are covered, they don't want proof just my word for now. That still seems wrong to me, if they want the items addressed then they should require proof they were addressed. It seems it still leaves the door open for them in the future to question, did you really comply with the LETTER of the law (recommendation) or only comply with the intent?

Anyway thanks for all the comments.

ron
 

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And so you shouldn't be annoyed at your surveyor.
You should be annoyed at the banks and the insurance companies that are willing to put everything on the line based on what a surveyor says, even though the surveyor is not held accountable for anything.
Anybody can be a surveyor with very little effort on their own part.
 

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What would you have banks and insurance companies do differently?
 

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Hey,

Sorry to hear about your predicament. In reality, it sounds like you are doing a good job of keeping your boat up to date and in good condition. With a little (extra) work, your insurance companty will be happy, and then you will be happy to.

My real comment is that that I Allstate insurance on my boat (and house and cars). They don't require a survey (ever), don't care when and where I sail, and were the cheapest too. When my boat was damaged in Hurricane Sandy I contact them and they were very easy to deal with. They asked my for pictures and a repair estimate. I did that and had a check (for the full amount, less my deductable) about 5 days later.

Is Allstate that much different from other companies?

Barry
 

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Anybody can be a surveyor with very little effort on their own part.
This is simply not true. In order for an insurance company to accept a survey most every underwriter out there insists on SAMS or NAMS surveyors. It is a long process to become a surveyor and to become proficient in all the safety standards, structure, systems etc...

Case in point a customer asked me to do an insurance survey. I can run circles around most any surveyor when it comes to safety, wiring, systems, structural components, known trouble spots etc. etc. etc. as I actually work with this stuff every day, not just look at it and and make comments. I have a number of surveyors who often ask me for input...

The customers underwriter (Markel) mandated a NAMS or SAMS surveyor. Even with a resume a mile long, references etc. they still told him to go get a NAMS or SAMS guy. I simply do not have the time it takes to become a NAMS or SAMS guy for the few times I am asked or for the money it pays, not worth it..


Do surveyors miss stuff? Yes they do... On the one hand buyers WANT the surveyor to find stuff, in order to work the seller down then when it comes to price. On the flip side when it comes time to insure they then ***** about what the surveyor found and that they now need to have it brought up to snuff.. Being a surveyor is a thankless job...

I suggest you look into what it actually takes to become a surveyor with a NAMS or SAMS designation because it is not just a hang the shingle out type of thing. If you want to stay in business as a surveyor you need to be NAMS or SAMS or insurance companies will simply not accept the survey..

On of my customers, retired USCG officer, has been working as an apprentice now for FOUR years under one of the best surveyors in our area. He is still "not ready" to survey on his own...... Four years is hardly "very little effort"....
 

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Ron, sometimes carriers are looking for an excuse to drop coverage. For instance, in my state auto insurers are or were allowed to drop 2% of their customers every year without cause, and they usually would, in order to "improve" their risk one way or another. It could be that your carrier is simply looking to reduce their risk and drop boat coverage and drop boat policies.

Or it could be some numbnuts just sending out boilerplate that some other numbnuts wrote.

I would send them a polite thank-you letter indicating that you intend to fully conform to your policy and incidentally, ask them specifically what section of the policy they are referring to. "Could you please send me a current copy of my policy with the relevant section marked, so I can be sure to properly comply with it?"

It may or may not state that you have to comply with specific comments from the surveyor. And some of his comments, like updating the liferaft inspection, might no longer apply if the equipment, which is typically not required, was removed from the boat. Unless of course you are receiving some sort of discount for having a currently dated and inspected liferaft.

Time to get out the reading glasses, and see what's in the fine print, and what's in the FUD. Opinions? Don't matter here, your printed insurance policy is the final word.
 

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Now that you mention it, this thread has raised some of my own rants/questions/concerns:

I have a boat that has currently reached the 5 year mark for a survey. It is an older boat, 70's, in pretty good shape but, like a lot of other older boats owned by people who struggle to afford it, it is not in the best of condition, good and dependable, something I trust and wouldn't have any problem taking it to any destination, but to pass a survey/insurance test based on the comments here, I'm wondering if I should just self insure.

A question is, how many people do self insure, and what value of boat would you do that with, a boat that cost $10k, $30, $50K, $100K? (I guess the first response I will get is, depended on how much one has in reserve: well, not much, I just have my boat.)

The discussion here concerns me that the insurance company is really only wanting to nitpick a person to death just so they can cancel it if they end up really needing them. (Seems the way the typical banking, insurance, medical businesses operate now days anyway, but that's another rant)

I paid less than $30k for my boat seven years ago. I have put considerable amount of effort and money into it to make it more than seaworthy and comfortable. But I will never get that value out of it. It is a good boat. But, I have for years had a policy that does not cover for named storms. And now, it just so happens that NOAA has decided (I am sure at the leading of insurance companies), to name just about every storm, summer or winter, I guess I am covered if the wind is not blowing.

No one is going to steal my boat when a $250K shiny one is right next to it so I don't worry about that.

I live next to the marina so I check the boat just about everyday. I am relatively sure it is not going to just sink at the dock. I care very much for it.

Because of the age and length (41) I feel like I have the plague when I call an insurance company for a quote, so with the discussion of this thread, I started to wonder?

Maybe I should just be done with it, trust my abilities and faith and be done with it.

Are there others who have done the same?
 

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...I'm wondering if I should just self insure...No one is going to steal my boat when a $250K shiny one is right next to it so I don't worry about that.
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.
 
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