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Old 04-27-2012, 11:40 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2008
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Default Insurance in Caribbean

I was told that if I had the recommendations from my last survey verified by a local survey, a particular company could write a policy for approximately $1000 US. The local surveyor confirmed all work was done and the vessel was in Bristol shape - cost $150 US. (this minisurvey was of no use for any other purpose except to get their "final quote"). After many phone calls and inquiries on my part, their agent stated that the policy would cost $2700 US. This is higher than any other quote from five different companies. They explained this was due to the age of the vessel! THey knew the age of the vessel before asking me to spend $150 for nothing. Incompetent certainly! Dishonest ????

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Old 04-27-2012, 12:55 PM   #2
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Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
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I removed the name of the vendor--lest this be just what we call a "vendor rant." We don't let people go off on vendor rants--but we all rant on things in general

Your experience is good information for anyone looking for insurance from any company anywhere. We all have to be sure we're comparing apples-to-apples on the insurance quotes. Often we're not and then we get a rude awakening when the "real" quote comes in once all the facts are revealed both ways to the insurer and to the boat owner.

I figure that the 5 other quotes you got were perhaps even near priced to the $2700 quote but the allure of the $1000 insurance was enough to get you to go ahead with a survey. Regarding that survey--if you'd previously had your prior surveyor stop by and verify that the work was done previously (would have likely cost you about that same $150) then you'd probably not have had the local surveyor do the verification. Post survey, many insurance companies will accept a statement from the boat owner on "certain" things but not on others--so depending on what needed checking and the actual insurer, you'd have been stuck with it no matter the insurer.

The choice of five different insurers is alot--figure it was five different brokers rather than actual insurers (underwriters)? Often you'll talk with a broker who doesn't have all the facts right (like that a particular insurer he/she uses isn't going to insure an older boat) because things do change with the actual underwriters all the time. Then, you're disappointed when you get the current scoop on how things are today.

Your situation is a word-to-the-wise for anyone looking for insurance to make sure of what you're being offered in the particular circumstance.

As the owner cruising an "older" wooden boat (81 years old this year!) I am well aware of the difficulties of finding good insurance at a good price. In our case, we bypassed brokers and went straight to the insurers with a huge document including survey, details of construction, pics of recent rebuild and so forth. In our case, we were ultimately insured by a company that, by policy, doesn't even insure wood boats--nor really old ones--at all--but (as I had hoped) they really liked the quality of work and detailed information we provided to them so they wanted to insure OUR boat.

And that's the thing about insurance--even if an insurer CAN insure your boat, it doesn't mean that they will insure your particular vessel. It's up to them to decide and, unfortunately, that can be frustrating for the owner of an older vessel.

What kind of boat is it? How old? There are special insurance companies which cater to older vessels and older cruising boats, too.

Assume you've insured your boat with one of the other 5 quotes and that you'll be happy with that.

Fair winds,

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 08-13-2012, 07:45 AM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2012
Home Port: Cheyenne, WY
Vessel Name: CAREFREE
Posts: 55
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We are in the BVI's and insure our 1986 Beneteau 41' ($50,000 hull & $5000 dinghy) for $1700 annually. It requires a bi-annual survey. gts1544
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:38 PM   #4
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Home Port: Bundarra, NSW
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Posts: 1,556

I'm guessing that insurance on my 35yo ferro wouldn't be worth the trouble. May have to forego staying at some marinas that require insurance. Meh, whatever.

"The cure for anything is salt water... sweat, tears, or the sea" -- Isak Dinesen

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Old 08-13-2012, 11:21 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

Haiqu, unless you've got a few hundred grand sitting around to pay for damages, you should pick up a liability policy in AU in case you damage the property of other folks. In the USA such a policy is a couple hundred dollars for a $500K coverage and environmental cleanup as well as salvage coverage. Sure, you might not get a policy that will cover you worldwide--but then again, you might.

I just read an article in the last issue of Good Old Boat about how an exploding propane tank on a small boat in an Alaskan marina (looked to be about 35 ft) did over $500K in damage to the nearby boats and in environmental cleanup/salvage costs total.
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 08-13-2012, 11:55 PM   #6
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Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,917

If you purchase third party property insurance through the Australian Yachting Federation (most accredited sailing clubs sponsor the programme) you should pick up $10 million coverage for about $250 per year.

The problem with comprehensive insurances which are hellishly expensive is the culture behind the plan. You are betting the insurance company that you are going to prang your boat; the insurance company is putting its faith in you and betting that you won't.

Now, if they are proven wrong and your boat does in fact get damaged, they then do everything they possibly can to prove your culpability so that they don't have to pay that which they originally promised they would.

Hint: Buy your 3rd party insurance through a broker and describe your concrete boat as 'steel composite'. They will issue the coverage which then becomes your ticket into the world of the floating trailer park.

"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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