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I don't think a random reference is a good way to sort out an insurance provider. Circumstances can be very unique and most boaters have very little knowledge of their policy, other than how cheap/costly it is.

You need a good, local, knowledgeable agent/broker who represents several carriers and can compare and contrast coverages for you. Cheapest is usually cheapest for a reason. That reason may work for you, it may not. Get solid advice, not random references.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I have had coverage with BoatUS for over 30 years. I have gotten quotes from other companies quite a few times during those years and compared pricing and coverage. None have offered significantly less expensive prices for the amount of coverage and most companies have been more expensive or had significantly less coverage.

I have had several claims with Boat US and they have handled the claims extremely well, with prompt and comprehensive service as well as 'perks' such as being able to buy additinal items at wholesale when rebuilding after a claim. (For example, my boat was hit by lightning. We had the whole boat apart and so it was a good opportunity to replace the plumbing. They sold me all of the hoses and fittings at a greatly reduced price.)

I have also assisted quite a few people with claims with other companies. While some offered similar levels of dilligence and fairness, most have not and many of the big names don't really understand marine claims so their price may seem cheap, but recovering for the repairs was way less than comprehensive. (For example, a friend's boat filled with water and flooded over his battery charger, monitor, and alternator amoungst other things. They all worked once the boat was dried out, but failed within months of the sinking. His insurance company fought him on that since the components were operational when the initially dried out. I don't believe that a dedicated marine insurance company would have fought that.)

I have heard that BoatUS does have shortcomings if you are doing prolonged offshore cruising, but I don't know whether that is true or not.

Jeff
 

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JeffH has given a good suggestion of what to get. I'll make a suggestion of what NOT to get.

Do not go to an agent or insurer who does mostly home and auto. They may write you a policy, and they may give you a good price. But they will likely leave out key coverages, like environmental damage, which can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. BoatUS has this in all their policies ($854k or somesuch). I called to ask my State Farm agent about this omission in their policy, and they basically said, "What's environmental damage?"

Another one that could catch you is salvage and recovery costs. Some policies cap your maximum payout for salvage+loss at your boat's agreed value. In other words, if your boat's agreed value is $15,000 but it cost $10,000 to salvage it, you'll get $5000 (less deductible) for it and $10,000 will go to the salvage costs. You want a policy that will pay you the full agreed value of your boat if it's a total loss, and then pay additional money to cover any salvage/recovery costs.

Bottom line - you need to get someone who knows boats. A household insurance agent who does boats on the side will be clueless about these things.
 
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Al Golden's folks at IMIS.

They are professionals who have been in business a long time. They won't try to lowball you, and they'll be glad to explain the details and options that can make a cheaper policy a mistake. Or not.

Going on 25 years or so I've never heard anyone complaining, much less screaming, except in their praise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't think a random reference is a good way to sort out an insurance provider. Circumstances can be very unique and most boaters have very little knowledge of their policy, other than how cheap/costly it is.

You need a good, local, knowledgeable agent/broker who represents several carriers and can compare and contrast coverages for you. Cheapest is usually cheapest for a reason. That reason may work for you, it may not. Get solid advice, not random references.
Thanks for your input, Minnewaska, but this forum has alot of folks with very valuable references and recommendations. So, asking for specific providers is very helpful for me as a place to start and i dont consider them random references. As for most boaters having very little knowledge of their policy, I am an attorney and I have been taught how to read and understand a policy. So, you didnt mention what insurer you use but I would value your reference and not consider it random in the least. I dont know anything about boat insurance so references are a great place for me to start and to begin reasearching it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have had coverage with BoatUS for over 30 years. I have gotten quotes from other companies quite a few times during those years and compared pricing and coverage. None have offered significantly less expensive prices for the amount of coverage and most companies have been more expensive or had significantly less coverage.

I have had several claims with Boat US and they have handled the claims extremely well, with prompt and comprehensive service as well as 'perks' such as being able to buy additinal items at wholesale when rebuilding after a claim. (For example, my boat was hit by lightning. We had the whole boat apart and so it was a good opportunity to replace the plumbing. They sold me all of the hoses and fittings at a greatly reduced price.)

I have also assisted quite a few people with claims with other companies. While some offered similar levels of dilligence and fairness, most have not and many of the big names don't really understand marine claims so their price may seem cheap, but recovering for the repairs was way less than comprehensive. (For example, a friend's boat filled with water and flooded over his battery charger, monitor, and alternator amoungst other things. They all worked once the boat was dried out, but failed within months of the sinking. His insurance company fought him on that since the components were operational when the initially dried out. I don't believe that a dedicated marine insurance company would not have fought that.)

I believe that BoatUS does have shortcomings if you are doing prolonged offshore cruising, but I don't know whether that is true or not.

Jeff
Thanks Jeff- I'm gonna call BoatUS and start learning about it -- maybe i'll post a question in the next few months about specific types of coverage, etc. I'm getting close to taking the plunge. I looked at the boats you had recommended awhile back and they all are definitely better sailing vessels than what I am looking at. You guessed it.... (I can see you smile and shake your head)....I want a big, fat tub of a boat that I can eventually live on for a few years after I learn to operate it..(notice I didn't say 'sail it' - ha-ha...you get where this is going?) It will be big enough for me and my wife to handle but also live comfortably in with its 12-foot beam...motor down the ICW to s. florida, keys..then across the Gulf to the bahamas and eventually, with confidence..south to D.R. and Virgin islands....that's right, a used IP35. I'm sure I'll do alot of motoring on the Chesapeake on it - built for comfort, not for speed.
 

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I've had Boat U.S. for 20 years but never have had a claim. They are the only one I could find that would cover my boat if left in the water over the winter for damage due to freezing, as long as the boat is bubbled. Other than that they will insure for agreed upon value.
 

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Shopping insurance again. Unfortunately what Jeff said is correct. Very limited market of venders if you actually doing cruising that includes foreign countries. For that purpose Boat US is not a good vender.
What surprises me is that with climate change our hurricane/storm patterns changed. But hurricane season and the hurricane zone has not when you are speaking of insurance.
I think this results in a increase in potentially unsafe passages. I would sooner prefer a given passage to be "blessed" by a weather router as a insurance requirement then the current situation creating thundering herds taking to the water twice a year. I would note in other industries this occurs. Last night spoke with a contractor who told me they can't start a roof until cleared for weather by the insurance company.
 

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I will second the recommendations to look at IMIS. I am always able to call or e-mail directly to the agent who handles my policy whenever a question or issue pops up. I usually get a response within one business day, if not sooner. Their prices are reasonable - not the cheapest and not the most expensive.

What surprises me is that with climate change our hurricane/storm patterns changed. But hurricane season and the hurricane zone has not when you are speaking of insurance.
I think this results in a increase in potentially unsafe passages. I would sooner prefer a given passage to be "blessed" by a weather router as a insurance requirement then the current situation creating thundering herds taking to the water twice a year. I would note in other industries this occurs. Last night spoke with a contractor who told me they can't start a roof until cleared for weather by the insurance company.
I agree with your assessment but not necessarily your solution. I've always found it odd that north Florida is in the hurricane zone and the Carolinas (especially North) are not. No hurricane has made landfall north of Vero Beach, FL and south of the Georgia-SC line in more than 30 years. By contrast, the Outer Banks seem to get repeatedly walloped every few years yet they are considered in the "safe zone". Beyond the zoning creating a herd mentality, which I believe was never an intentional consequence, it also may end up creating a false sense of security for those keeping boats in the "safe zones" - as it did for people who lost boats in Sandy.

But the number of boats that venture offshore is tiny and I assume the insurance payouts to owners of boats lost on passage in storms is a pittance compared to claims related to damage at the dock. Having every passage "blessed" by a router could create another false sense of security as routers have been known to make mistakes. I don't see the safety benefits of having the situation even more tightly controlled by the insurance companies than it is now. It may reduce the overall risk to which the insurers would expose themselves, but having skippers not fully in control of the decision making on board seems less safe on a per boat basis. I'm also not sure the routers would want the potential added liability. Plus, where do you draw the line on this? Does every hop from FL to the Bahamas need a blessing? If you have a crew member who misses a flight and pushes departure back by a day do you have to re-initiate the whole process with the router/insurance company?

Maybe better than having individual passages blessed would be to scrap the entire zones/seasons approach entirely and just have every boater file an emergency preparedness plan with the insurer that would outline where/how weather information is being obtained with storm plans for in port, coastal cruising, passagemaking, etc.
 

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I know this has been hashed back and forth many times here, but Mini and I agree on this. I've been using the same maritime specialty insurance agent now for many years. That agency places my policy with different companies depending on their experiences with other clients and costs annually. When something changes, like I decide to go offshore someplace or beyond prescribed navigational limits, I call them and get a binder in place in minutes. If I'm going to have a crew deliver it, same deal. If I want to extend the season, same deal. We haven't had claims, but know of people who have and they've been great advocates.

I'm not sure this is the cheapest way, but it's the way that makes us comfortable. At least someplace there is a real person who knows me. YMMV.

And sorry not to answer the OP's original questions, but I'd have to look in my files to see where they placed me this year...as I don't even think about it.
 

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4arch
You make very good points and I have to agree with you that perhaps I didn't think this through. However to my mind a passage is a journey off the continental shelf involving more than 5 days of sailing.
The variance in hurricane plans is such that only after the experience can the boat owner judge if it was adequate. Perhaps if yards were reviewed by some profession certifying group and insurance companies accepted that certification as proof of decreased risk premiums could be decreased.
You are right few boats cruise. However would note the boats that cruise tend to be in the 40-60' range with considerable value and expensive systems ( Electronics,AP, water makers, central heat/air etc.). Where I left the to come home for the holidays I would guess most boats are in the $500-1.5m range. So the insurance companies are at risk for considerable sums.
 
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