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Had some some experience here

January 5 2016 at 11:24 AM
Eric Jensen  (no login)

Response to An informal survey regarding marine insurance companies

I used Travelers for 2 years on my 38' Hatt. This was the most expedient way I could get coverage and I was able to work with an Agent I knew well and who covered my business insurance needs. As you learn in Insurance 101, what you you really SHOULD insure first is an event which is unlikely yet has significant costs. The event which probably best represents this type of exposure in boating is an environmental damage claim. Think about a leaking gas tank or a bilge pump pumping out enough oil to create an environmental hazard. In fact, all it takes to be in violation is the creation of a "sheen" on the water. You never know how someone might react to a sheen radiating out from your boat. That person only needs to call the CG or even 911 and you may be swarmed by a flotilla of responders. If they do respond and they do see a sheen, it won't be long before oil booms and pillows are deployed around your precious antique boat. IT'S WHAT THEY DO. If they feel you are at fault - and they have considerable freedom to make this call - you might be on the hook for the remediation action and believe me, it can add up fast. Less likely but still possible, is a sinking situation. If your boat goes down, or breaks up on the rocks, you will have environmental responders on the site. I'm not trying to alarm anyone, but.... stuff happens. Besides the remediation expenses, you may find yourself in court, and if there's one thing more expensive than bureaucratic environmental response teams, it's lawyers. When I looked at that section on my policy, I saw a maximum coverage of $2500.00. I investigated the possibility of increasing this coverage, but there was no upgrade path. My recommendation here is CHECK YOUR POLICY.

My solution was to switch to BoatUS. This involved another Hull Condition and Value Survey. I got the survey done for 400 bucks and saved the difference in premium in 2 years. I now have a $250,000.00 environmental coverage. BoatUS is knowledgeable about boat insurance and they are not afraid to insure a 45 year old boat. Admittedly, I have not made a claim, so there's no personal experience with their claims department, but I know several people who have had claims and their experience has been quite good.

I had a slightly different situation when I insured my 23 Lancer. I purchased the boat for 700 bucks. Then over the next 3 years found that I had about $10,000.00 "invested" in the boat. ("spent is closer to the truth than "invested" but you know how that goes) My homeowners policy would still only insure the boat for the original 700 dollar investment. So again... I paid for another survey and BoatUS issued a policy for a $10,000 hull value. It took a few years to recover the survey cost in reduced premiums, but the survey will also have value when the boat is eventually sold.

I have a friend who used Hagarty Insurance because he didn't even realize that BoatUS was an option. He had a claim which was not his fault and which was well documented and witnessed. Below are all the good things that he had to say about their response.



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