sv Elysium

Cruising thrugh Life

 

By Stephen Sharp on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 10:26 pm:


I agree with the comments above about USAA not being in the big boat insurance business, but there is one thing they can do for a cruiser that is a big help.

In 2004, I _was_ asked to provide a Mexican insurance policy at Marina Mazatlan (Mexico).

Mexico requires liability insurance for marinas and anytime you are involved in an accident-I am there now (Banderas Bay), and have had to provide a copy of the policy several times. Got the liabiility insurance online at http://www.imiscorp.net/OnlineServices.htm . You just print out the policy after you pay them and make a bunch of copies. Because the authorities can/will hold your boat in case of an accident, and the insurance is pretty cheap, seems like a good idea even if you are anchoring out. The Mexican Navy inspections never asked for it, nor did the Port Captains. I haven't found anybody anywhere who has wanted to see the Temporary Import Permit.

Mexico requires you to carry liability insurance. I don't know about the other countries. I know that if you get into a car accident and you don't have liability on your car, you'll go to jail until all the bills are paid even if turns out not to be your fault in the end. It happened to a family member and it was scarry enough to make sure we carried insurance on our boat.

We use these guys:

http://216.55.132.138/watercraft.html?code=mexpe

the price was ok. $50,000 liability was $275 for 12 months. Rowcliffe was our broker for them in CA. 619-422-3022. Most accidents happen in-shore, not off-shore. Maybe you could find someone to cover you like that....

We are homeported in Wilmington,NC and have been with the Jack Martin Agency since May 2002. Our deductible went up a reasonable amount this year but our rates went down which I consider a fair trade. We've been very satisfied with their service.

Many cruisers, like myself, sold their cars when they went cruising. If you cancel your car insurance you will find it very, very hard to get anyone to rewrite your insurance when you do buy another car. People who don't have cars for long periods and no car insurance are looked at as being very high risk since many such people had their other insurance cancelled or spent time in jail.

USAA will let you maintain your car insurance for just $3.50 a month thereby maintaining a continuous record of insurance. Also this $3.50 policy automatically covers you when you rent a car or borrow a relative's car or friend's car in any territory of the U.S. including US islands, etc.

We bought medical insurance from Dan Casins of Cassins Insurance. He is referenced in the SSCA site. It was literally a lifesaver when I had a massive heart attack in New Zealand and enabled us to get the best modern medical treatment. We are back cruising and will keep the insurance!

Steve

By Brent Swain on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 02:16 pm:

Avoid Travel Underwriters, Worldwide Mediclaim. If you try to make a claim they will go to great lengths to avoid paying it. I had this experience with them and have met many others who had the same problems with them.
Brent Swain

I don't post much here, but I tend to lurk once in a while. I've been following your story with interest, and since I'm in the insurance industry, you should know a few things...

1). Insurance companies generally don't like to incur legal costs. That's not to say your average adjuster really cares whether or not an attorney gets involved, they just know it drives up the total claim payment, since the claim payout increases, and they incur defense costs. Therefore, a letter from an attorney saying you intend to sue to recover tends to get their attention.

2). Push YOUR insurance company to pay the claim, then let them subrogate (a legal word for attempting to recover) from the yard's insurance company.

3). If your insurance company won't pay the claim, make sure your attorney uses such words as "bad faith" in his letter to the insurance company, and make sure it has a cc at the bottom to the state Department of Insurance (DOI). Insurance companies hate it when they have to answer to the DOI - DOI investigations incur a lot of hassle, and usually $ too.

4). If your insurance company still won't cooperate, file a formal complaint with the DOI as well.

5). Did you have an insurance broker involved with placing your insurance? If so, they should be helping you with this. What are they saying? Granted, the broker has no real power with the insurance company, but sometimes they can help grease the skids a little.

6). How much are we talking to fix this right? If it is less thatn $20,000, most insurance companies won't want to incur legal costs to try to avoid a $20,000 claim. That being said, they may be concerned about "setting precidence", since if they pay a claim in this circumstance, others will try to claim the same thing, and that can get them in trouble in the courts. Even so, if there is some "greay area" to justify the claim, they may be better off paying it rather than fighting.

7). What is the adjuster saying? Is the adjuster being a jerk? Have you talked to his/her superior? It is entirely OK for you to be very firm with adjusters - just don't swear or threaten them personally. Getting on a conference call with the adjuster and their superior with you and your attorney is generally a good thing.

8). As a general rule, if the claim has a reasonable possibility (not necessarily probability!) of being covered, then the insurance company is on pretty thin ice legally to deny the claim. The courts almost always hold that if there is some potential for coverage (i.e. the damage MIGHT have been covered because of the poor blocking) then they owe you coverage, even if the surveyor is saying the delamination might have been natural.

Hope this helps. If you need further assistance, drop me an email at bwhitmore@(remove this)david-agency.com.

You're in for a long adventure. I work for an insurance company, and also had some damage from an idiot operator almost a year ago. $8K (or more?) in damages, and more drama than I can shake a stick at. I'm sure you've already done these things, but for anyone else:
Take an insane amount of pictures. As many as possible, from all angles, everywhere.
Make sure you send a letter to the offending operator certified, and have a copy of the letter with the certified reciept given to your insurance company (typically you'll work with the underwriter for this portion of things). It's your letter of subjugation, and your insurance company will need it to go after them.
I would highly recommend you let your insurance company pay for everything if they will, and then recoup your deductible after the fact. Your insurance company wants its money back too, so they'll go after his company, and with your letter of subjugation, you'll get your money back as well.
Remember that the people doing the work do not care about your insurance problems, or who's paying for what. They want their invoice paid instantly, no questions asked. Most of them are somewhat understanding, but the last thing you want is to have an unpaid invoice for a lot of money, and you trying to get an insurance company to pay for it, and having them drag their feet. That's why it's best to go with your own insurance company and then recoup later; get the damage repaired and get back to being seaworthy before you worry about the money too much. Provided you do everything in the order by which the claim process is filled out, and you send the letter, you should be okay.
Be as clear as possible, and itemize out everything that you need replaced. Have the original reciepts if you can.

Fortunately, my lightning strike from last July, in South Florida, just fried all the electronics......no smoke, no electrical damage, etc....

FIRST thing to do:
TAKE A LOT OF PHOTOS, right now.....even before you do any testing....
And, find as many photos of your boat and its equipment as you can, to show "before" and "after".....

Now onto the long list of what to do.....

1) Unless you are knowledgeable / experienced in marine electrical and marine electronics, find someone local, preferrably also a surveyor, who IS.....
At first, you'll not need to hire them, but just contact them....to determine how much they'd charge you to examine / evaluate your damage.....
(You're trying to find out how much, $$$$, you'll need to spend to get an INDEPENDANT estimate of repair / replacement.....)

Again, this step is crucial only if you're not experienced / knowledgeable, in these areas........
If you are, then go to step #2.....

2) Contact your insurance company......
Oh, how close are you and your insurance adjuster/insurance surveyor going to become over the next month or two.....LOL
Depending on you Ins. Co., your policy coverages, and your adjuster/surveyor, you find yourself wishing that the boat had been stolen and sunk in a 1000 fathoms....or you may have a fairly decent experience.....

3) Detail and Document EVERYTHING....
Not just everything on board, including its cost new, its age and codition, etc.....
BUT, just as importantly document EVERY converstaion you have with EVERYONE regarding this matter.....
Take notes while talking to everyone, and refer to your notes when talking to them, so they ALL know that whatever they say will be remembered......

4) As for the exact, "where do I start"......
If you saw the strike, start where it hit.....
If not, start at the mast and rigging....
Although it doesn't happen often, SS Rigging wire and terminals can become cracked / weakened by the current passing thru them.....and to a much greater frequency, they'll develope small crevice cracks and rapid corrosion typically with a few weeks of the strike.....
Get, your rigger out to the boat, to inspect things within the next few weeks......

5) You'll also need to check where the strike exited......keel bolts, prop and shaft, and especially the engine.....(I have an aquaintance who's Yanmar was "welded" internally, from all the lightning strike energy going thru the engine to the shaft/prop, and finally into the water.......makes me VERY glad I've got a good direct lightning ground for my mast/rigging)

{There are a LOT of things to check.....way too many to mention here, so give me a call and I'll help you out......I've been through this just last year...}

6) Accept that your Ins. Co. will have their own plan of action.....and you'll need to allow them to "do their thing", but that also means that YOU will need to do somethings for yourself.....
Such as, the above mentioned "independant" surveyor......

After your Ins. Co. has had its adjuster look at your boat, it is possible that your Ins. Co. will accept estimates from contractors who have inspected your boat, and given you a solid written quote....
And, your Ins. Claim will be paid for the total of those estimates (minus your deductible, of course), as long as the adjuster has signed off on what has been damaged.....

7) Determine what changes / upgrades you've ever wanted to do, or will ever want to do.......since NOW is the time to do them.....

My guess is that you'll be replacing ALL electrical wire, ALL switches / breakers, ALL batteries, ALL motors / pumps, ALL electronics and ALL the electronics wiring....etc, etc. etc.....
So, NOW is the time to do any changes/upgrades.....

{In my case, I replaced ALL the electronics, even though some of it was still working, and ALL electronics wiring....which of course entailed pulling the mast, etc...}

 

All images and content copyright of David A. Kall