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How To Make Yacht Insurance Suck Less

We’re starting our 6th year as liveaboard offshore sailors. And without a doubt, yacht insurance has been the most unexpected pain in the arse!

We’d always been told: Getting sailboat insurance the first year would be a challenge.  It will be the most expensive for year one because we were newbies…with almost zero sailing experience. But those two warnings were quickly followed up with a little optimism: As you stretch your sea-legs, gain more sailing experience and log more time on the water, options would open up and insurance would get cheaper.

Lies. All Lies.

And it’s not just us, it’s every offshore USA flagged boat owner we talk to. Yacht insurance as an American sailor abroad just kinda sucks. Especially in the South Pacific (for some odd reason). I can’t offer up any words of wisdom on how to fix this mind-bending insurance system, but we have learned a lot on how to best present ourselves and our vessel.

Of course, we are NOT experts and there is still a lot we don’t know. But, if you’re a newbie buying your first boat or a fellow sailor struggling to get offshore, bluewater, around-the-world coverage, hopefully, this information will make the process suck a little less.

Here are the biggest tips we’ve learned about getting boat insurance.

 

Why is it so difficult to get offshore yacht insurance???

We ask this question to all the insurance brokers we contact and here are some of the responses we’ve received.

  • “The current yacht insurance market is getting hard to place coverage for cruisers abroad, and with the majority of the south pacific closed it isn’t very appetizing for US or London Insurers to provide coverage. Inevitably with time, the insurance industry will reopen.”
  • “Big, negative changes in the boat insurance markets due to 100,000+ lost vessels in the last 3 years.”
  • (increase in natural disasters: hurricanes, floods…)
  • “If anyone asks you to sign a Broker of Record Letter, they are trying to get you a quote that I’ve already sent to you…the number of options (or offshore insurance) are narrowing down!”
  • Underwriters had a lot of losses in the hurricanes and have really cut down on writing new business that involves long passage making and remote places. If the vessel has a claim, it is hard to find a haul-out, get work done, adjustors, survey, etc.

 

Why We Need Insurance

Our catamaran is our home, transportation, and everything we own. To us, it’s just not worth risking. In the past, sailors talked about cruising without insurance and how it wasn’t necessary. But the rules are changing. Even in the 5 years, we’ve been sailing we’ve noticed more and more places where sailboat insurance is a requirement. If you plan to sail around the world, here are some of the reasons why you may need yacht insurance.

  • Many countries are mandating insurance for entering yachts (Australia, Portugal, and others). And some countries like Panama and Ecuador have required proof of insurance when checking into the country.
  • Marina’s, Mooring Balls, and Haul Out Yards will require proof of insurance.
  • If you have a loan on your vessel, the bank will most likely require insurance.
  • Liability! There are a lot of scenarios we could talk about here (dragging anchor, busting off a mooring, hitting a $10,000,000 mega yacht at a fancy marina) and it’s all about what else we could damage that isn’t our boat. If we were to run up a reef, we become responsible for not only the removal and repair of our vessel but any damage to the reef, the property we’re on, and even the government agencies that maintain the oceans/fisheries. Talk about going bankrupt in a hot second!

 

3 Important Questions To Ask

There is a lot of industry jargon to interpret when it comes to boat insurance. It’s important to do your homework, read the policies, research anything you don’t understand, and ask a lot of questions. Here are some of our standard inquires.

  • Is this an ACTUAL CASH value or AGREED AMOUNT value policy? We want Agreed Amount.  If the insurance company has agreed to insure our vessel at $300k, then we should receive a payout near that agreed value (not whatever some random computer says the generic value is. We have a lot of upgrades on our boat that the average coastal cruiser or charter boat wouldn’t have).
  • Salvage: Who picks up the bill if the boat needs to be salvaged? (from sinking, hurricane damage, etc) When we have a claim, how much help will the insurance company give us? For example, if the boat is damaged in a storm: Who handles the Salvage claims and repair process (find salver, crane, trucking, towing, repair facility, angry property owners, govt. official/agencies). To handle all of this on your own can be EXTREMELY STRESSFUL.
  • Consequential Damage: Does the policy have consequential damage coverage: For example what if a corroded through-hull causes the boat to sink (thinking of our single-hulled friends), or a fire breaks out and we don’t have automatic fire suppression in the engine locker (because we don’t)…If we don’t have consequential damage coverage, then a total loss claim could be chalked up to wear and tear.

 

Terms are Negotiable

Don’t take the initial quote as gospel. Just because a quote comes back with restrictions and requirements doesn’t mean they can’t be negotiated. If you don’t like something, ask about what you can do to change it.  Provide additional documentation, upgrade something, take a higher deductible, take a first aid class…ya never know unless you ask.

If the policy says you need to be out of the hurricane zone by June 1st, but your boat isn’t ready to leave, ask for an extension and provide the reasoning. They may give you an extra couple of weeks at no cost. It’s worked for us while we were in Florida.

Crew requirements can be modified. If the underwriter says you need a 4-person crew, resend your sailing resume and plea your case and experience. Explain how your vessel is set up for single-handing, or how you’ve sailed with a smaller crew in more challenging conditions. If it’s compelling, they can make adjustments.  We’ve had to do this a couple of times over the years before paying for a new insurance policy,

If a new policy requires a haul-out and survey, but it’s not possible (or cost-prohibitive) to get this at your current location, tell them your intentions are to get a survey once you arrive at the next destination. They may give you 30 or 60 days after arrival to complete it. One of our quotes for 2021 agreed to let us delay the survey until after we arrived in NZ.

 

Rates We Have Paid

We all like real-world numbers and not hypotheticals. So here is a very quick glance at what we have paid over the past 6 years of being offshore sailors.

Remember, we have had to find a new policy every freaking year.  Each year we contact everyone on the list below for quotes, but this year (2021) we hit a new record: The worst quote we’ve ever received at a whopping $11,300 from LJJ (a Lloyds of London underwriter).

We insure our 2005 Leopard 43 Sailing Catamaran at a value of $320,000 usd.

  • 2016, Florida/Bahamas: $3860
  • 2017, Florida/Bahamas/Panama/Ecuador: $4943
  • 2018, Ecuador/ French Polynesia: $4655
  • 2019, French Polynesia/Cook Islands/Niue/Tonga: $5517
  • 2020, Tonga: $6674
  • 2021, Tonga/New Zealand – $4305  (Brokerage: The Marina Shop NZ)

 

Who To Contact

Yacht Insurance is a complicated world filled with what feels like way too many cooks in the kitchen. There are insurance brokers, insurance companies (including mutual insurance associations), reinsurance companies, and adjusters. To further confuse things, many of the insurance companies are backed by insurance giants like Markel and Lloyd’s of London.

For simplicity’s sake, we’re breaking this up into 2 groups: Yacht Insurance Brokers and Yacht Insurance Companies.

Finding companies that insure US-flagged vessels and provide coverage in our intended cruising area is difficult. One year a company won’t quote us, the next they will. It changes every year and so even if you don’t get a favorable quote one year, try again next year.

Yacht Insurance Brokers

A broker is who we contact to get the quotes and they may work with or submit our information to 1 or 100 different insurance companies to get quotes. We contact at least half a dozen brokers every year for quotes. TIP: If you’ve already received quotes from certain companies, tell the broker in advance so they don’t spend their time getting you exactly the same quotes. Here are the brokers we contact each year. Ask your fellow sailors for their broker information too.

    • The Marina Shop (NZ), Contact: Bill Garlick
    • International Waters Insurance Services, Contact: Susan Waters
    • Novamar Insurance, Contact: Charlie Bailey
    • Bailey’s Insurance (NZ), Contact: Ken Monk
    • W.R. Hodgens Marine Insurance, Contact: Bill Hodgens
    • Global Marine Insurance Agency, Contact: Susan Everhard

Yacht Insurance Companies

This is who is writing and backing the policy (underwriter, reinsurance). Here are the ones we’ve tried with notes on quotes or responses.  Your experience with each will no doubt be different.

    • Jackline – Will not insure yachts with lithium batteries
    • Yachtinsure Limited – Not insuring in the S. Pacific
    • Concept – Medium-High quote, loads of restrictions
    • LJJ Associates – Highest Quote
    • Kemah Marine – High Quote, Few Restrictions
    • Admiral Marine – Only insures European vessels
    • Chubb Insurance – Cannot quote yachts outside the USA
    • Club Marine – Only insures coastal cruising (250 nm from land) in AU, NZ, and TAS
    • Pantaenius – High Rate Quotes for the Atlantic & would not quote us for the S. Pacific
    • National Specialty Insurance (State National) – Insured us in 2019 & 2020
    • Global Yacht Cover – Insured us in 2018
    • DUAL Aqua – Insured us in 2017

 

Sailing Resume, Boat Resume & Maintenance Log

Probably the biggest lesson we’ve learned is to invest time in creating and maintaining a sailing resume, boat resume, and maintenance log. We’ve had multiple insurance brokers compliment us on our approach with these documents and tell us it does make a big difference.

Sailing Resume

Think of it just like a personal job resume. You can even use the free templates online from Microsoft word or whatever program you have. If you want some examples, search for yacht crew resume and you’ll find bunches. But, here is what we have on ours.

  • Any professional sailing instruction or certifications (ASA courses). A list or table of the number of days, sizes of vessel, and level of instruction such as basic introduction, skippering training, bareboat charter, off-shore training.
  • A good headshot of us at the helm.
  • Any safety instruction or certifications. First Aid, First Responder…we even list our PADI open water certification.
  • List of boats that you have owned, the type of boat, the size, and for how long.
  • All sailing and boating experiences. This will be a list or table of boat length and type (monohull or catamaran), if you were master or crew on the boat and the month/year of the experience. Because we liveaboard we list each month with grand totals for each year.
    • We include what country or body of water it was in.
    • We note the nautical miles sailed.
    • Note if it was a multi-day (list how many days) or overnight passage.
  • Special endorsements that you have been given by an instructor (ex: catamaran sailing, engine maintenance, maneuvering and docking, heavy weather, etc.). Letters of recommendations from certified captains can help prove competency.

Boat Resume

I haven’t been able to find any examples online but I think of it much like a for sale listing.  Lots of photos (front, sides, back, top-down) and I list out every safety benefit I can muster.  We include:

  • Year, Make, Builder, Length:  2005 R&C Leopard 43 Sailing Catamaran.
  • Home Port, Registration (US Coast Guard), MMSI number, Hull ID number.
  • Tender information (and photos): Year, make, construction type, registration, hull ID, engine.
  • Description of the boat, how it’s known as a bluewater sailboat built for reliable construction, seaworthiness, and performance. With extra emphasis on reinforced construction, sealed bulkheads, high-quality materials…
  • Images of the layout of the boat from the manufacture (scans of original brochure).
  • List out all additional upgrades and safety equipment (anything showing redundancy, additional safety, or reliability)
  • Details of our sail plans for the year (passage from Tonga to New Zealand, coastal waters of New Zealand)
  • Quick List of Crew and experience. The cliff notes version of our sailing resumes.

Maintenance Log

This one is fairly straightforward. We have photos from our haul-outs and list work completed, upgrades, and replacements.

We have our most recent survey and a signed survey compliance list from the yard proving that we completed the tasks mandated by the marine surveyor. But ask your broker before sending this, if your survey is more than 2 years old they may want you to ‘keep it in your pocket’ and only provide it if the underwriter requests it.

We also keep a maintenance log of our engines and routine maintenance. We let the broker know this is available upon request.

Tips To Get The Best Quote

There are a lot of factors that affect boat insurance costs. The age and condition of the vessel, the cruising area, and your experience all matter. But there are a lot of extra details worth considering.

  • Select the highest deductible you can afford. Often it’s automatically set at 5%-10% on quotes. If you can afford 15% or 20% it can save a substantial amount each year.
  • Umbrella Policy: Insure personal articles through another insurance company like homeowners, renter’s insurance, personal items policy, etc.
  • Be realistic with your estimated values and revisit them each year. If similar boats are selling for $100k don’t try to insure your boat for $150k. If you paid $10k for your RIB 5 years ago, consider lowering the estimated value to reflect the market value.
  • Limit Emergency Evacuation and Towing benefits. Seek 3rd party companies as they are sometimes less expensive and provide more comprehensive services. For example DAN (Divers Alert Network) or programs like Sea Tow or Boat US.  Also, check with your health insurance company about the costs of adding medical evacuation.
  • Safety: Upgrade your safety gear like Bilge Pumps, EPRIB, Off-Shore Life vests, Life Raft, Flares, AIS MOB, etc. One insurance company wanted to make sure our vessel had an EXTRA 1500 gph bilge pump that could be easily wired and placed in the bilge for emergencies.
  • Cruising Plans: Be realistic with your Cruising Plans and understand the navigational limits. Cruising grounds requested can play a big role in coverage and cost. Some countries are considered safer to visit and cost less to insure. For example, it is possible to sail to Cuba, but many insurance agencies will charge an extra premium because navigation aids aren’t kept up and charts aren’t always accurate, making it more challenging to navigate. You can often add locations mid-policy, sometimes for free, or for way less than adding it to your planned navigation route from the start.
  • Stay out of hurricane or cyclone zones when possible.
  • Storm Plan: If you boat in a hurricane zone, your insurer may expect you to provide a hurricane plan. If a storm approaches, will you have it stored in a hurricane-proof facility or will you sail it to a safe harbor? How will you secure it? How many anchors & lines do you have, and what thickness? The right answers can affect your rates, maybe even lower them, but be prepared to follow the plan because your coverage may require it.
  • Lock up your dinghy, and dinghy engine even on the davits. Lock lockers with valuable items like SCUBA compressors, or expensive toys. Take photos for proof. Many of our policies had notes in the “fine print” saying if a dinghy (or locker) wasn’t locked up, they wouldn’t cover the loss.
  • Recent Marine Survey (Less than 3 Years Old, Proves the Age and Condition of the Vessel).
  • Install an Automatic Fire Suppression System.
  • Enlist more crew for passages.
  • Go propane-free.
  • Complete higher certifications (such as a Captain’s License).

 

🙏 THANK YOU!

Ups, downs and all arounds, we share it all. We’re able to do so because people like you show up each week, read, watch, comment, share, shop our gear store, and toss a tip in our production jar. If you like what you see, there are lots of ways you can show your support.

 

🎥 CAMERA GEAR USED TO FILM THIS VIDEO

🎶 MUSIC IN THIS VIDEO:

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (76)

  • Madara

    No video this week – I hope you are both all right! xxx

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      They announced on social media and Patreon that they were taking a week off. Follow them @gonewiththewynns for real-time updates and bonus content!
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Michel

    It’s Sunday, where are you? Are you both OK?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      They announced on social media that they are taking the week off. For real-time updates and extra material, follow them on social media (FB, IG, Twitter) @gonewiththewynns
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Richard Marshall

    We’ve been sailing our Leopard 47 in the South Pacific for four years. All this information you’ve organized is like gold. Thanks so much for taking the time to put all this together! It will help a lot of other cruisers. I don’t know about you, but we very pleased with Bill at The Marina Shop. It seemed like we finally had sane and sensible coverage. Global Yacht has been very easy to deal with regarding cruising plan changes…and price!

    All the best! Rich and Michelle on Pogeyan

    reply
  • Iain M

    Really enjoying your vids, and the quality of the production. Insurance oh oh! Not sure whether this apocryphal, but a couple going on a circumnavigation, (inc Pacific) said that fitting a forward scan sonar, and lightning strike mitigation, gave them a useful discount on their insurance quote. It seems that a growing number of ‘Pacific’ losses/damage are coming from reef/coral impacts.

    In case you haven’t seen it. SpaceX/Starlink have just filed with the FCC for permission to beam to Trucks, Planes, and Boats. Source – Verge.com & Elon Musk Tweet.

    reply
  • Alan Solomon

    Thank you for getting back with me.
    If Jason’s hair matched his eyes he would be a spectacle. Blue hair on Jason? He is good like he is now! Pretty much earth tones for hair. No?

    reply
  • Judith Eller

    Excellent article. Lots of good ideas and points on insurance. We are looking for off shore cover (NZ to Fiji) and our insurer requires a third crew member on top of a husband and wife team. My husband has a lot of blue water experience and is a boat builder- he built the boat ( a Ron Given Catamaran 14.5) to a very high standard to go off shore and we have completed all the courses ( 2 First Aid off shore and coastal, Survival at Sea, Coastal navigation and boat masters).
    Thanks for putting in so much detail.

    reply
  • Bernard Schaer

    Not my topic at all, but I’m always looking forward to your next vid on Sunday. It’s been a fixture ever since your (and my) RV’ing days… Thanks! Bernard

    reply
  • TvZ

    Long shot, but did you try Geico? Their quote was only slightly higher than Markel. My first year of boat ownership the ins company wanted me to train under a captain for a number of hours. I wrote a letter explaing my career flying hot-air balloons for nearly 30 years. They waived the requirement. They would not back down on the requirement of having two propane sniffers within about 8′ of each other? (one at the galley’s range and one at the Sig Marine heater).

    reply
  • James Pierdon

    Next time you cut his hair cut it all off. That bulky mess looks aweful.

    reply
      • Bernard Schaer

        Good for you Nikki!

        reply
  • Ann

    You mentioned having access to Netflix. If you haven’t already, you might want to check out their documentary “My Octopus Teacher.” Wonderful both in plot line and in scenery/photography.

    reply
  • Sylvette

    I’m in shock of how much money it goes to Insurance wao!!!

    reply
  • JR Thornton

    Was wondering if you have had any insurance claims in last 5 years?

    reply
    • Paul Smyers

      I’m curious about this as well, but pretty sure they’d talk about it if they had. We’ve been on a similar catamaran for nearly 3 years and it’s been the same frustration for insurance for us and we’re still in US waters, with no claims.

      reply
  • Alan Solomon

    Wow. You guys got a ton of comments. An important issue for sure that should be researched annually for the best deal. To bad you don’t get dollars off and/or restrictions lifted as well as continued coverage for coming year(s) for continued accident-free safe passage?
    Fortunately for me, I have no need for boat insurance at this time because I do not own or sail a boat now. But who knows what the future holds. I may win the Lottery and become your neighbor. Anything is possible. 😊
    On another note in the beginning of this weeks video I noticed that Nikki’s eyes are the same color as your hair. Very cool. 😎
    I was surprised when you pushed Jason overboard. The Hawaiian music was in the background, you pushed him overboard, he said Ugh 🤣 and I could not stop laughing!! In closing, the water is so blue, crystal clear and your Tropical surroundings so abundant. Pink Floyd said it best, I wish I was there”. Happy and Safe.

    reply
  • Kelley

    I have 2 friends who live in NZ. (I am in Jacksonville, FL) If that is where you’re headed, and mailing things to them to deliver to you will help, let me know!

    reply
  • Seven On the Sea

    Great Right up guys. Appreciate the research and thought put into this article.

    reply
  • Scott Summers

    Hi Nikki and Jason,
    I found your channel on you tube a few weeks ago and have been binge watching the sailing series ever since. My self and my daughter have been watching you over dinner every night. I feel like I’ve watched 5 years of your life in as many weeks. This was the first video we have actually had to wait for. Now the weekly wait is going to seem like forever. Lol.

    I must say that ever since the “It’s getting Complicated” video I have been concerned that you might have to sail for Australia. Not that I don’t wan’t you to come here, but the situation with borders and lock downs due to Covid is, shall we say fluid. Brisbane just today (29th March) went into lock down again over just a few cases. I would hate to see you guys stranded at sea due to bureaucratic BS. The state Premiers (Governors in USA terms) here are trigger happy when it comes to lock downs and every state has it’s own criteria, so it’s just plain confusing at the best of times. The states that do shut borders are also being very uncompromising about it too. There were a number of incidents between Queensland and New South Wales. For example a injured child from NSW was medi-vaced to a Brisbane hospital and the parents had to do 2 weeks quarantine before they could visit. As a parent I can only imagine the stress that caused.

    Now that you have the insurance issue solved (at least for 12 months) my advice would be to stay in Tonga for as long as possible, order in what you can to fix what you can and come here or NZ later on when the vaccines have rolled out properly (think Christmas time here in Aus) and things are getting closer to normal, I mean it’s more or less normal for Australians but for over seas visitors I think it’s still pretty bad, not the least of which is quarantine. I suspect it won’t be long before it is mandatory for visitors to be vaccinated, so you might want to look in to how you can get that done, if at all possible.

    FWIW I work in manufacturing (I have a machine shop) and have access to many things (stainless steel fittings for example) and those I don’t I can make (lol) so if I can help you out with sourcing parts I am happy to help and make up a crate to send it to Tonga. If nothing else someone with feet on the ground in Aus might be useful too.

    Good luck to you both.

    Scott

    reply
  • Roger B

    WOW!

    reply
  • Deran Eaton

    Nikki, Jason,

    Thanks for covering this boat insurance topic so comprehensively. Definitely appreciated.

    Insights into marine underwriting, based on your testimony —
    1) No actuarial consistency is apparent, as the diverse premiums, deductibles, and unrealistic restrictions lists together indicate.
    2) When you’ve documented how much of Curiosity’s maintenance log in YouTube video of boat projects (notably hull projects), the willful ignorance of marine underwriters to regard that makes THEM the larger risk for you, because they care more about THEIR interests than yours. Even “Windwalker” has insurance: After a derecho “Windwalker” couldn’t escape snapped her original spar mast (39 years of galvanic corrosion at the spreader joint), my claim adjuster admitted he knew very little about boats and maritime risk assessment. So I gave him an education. And the claim was paid.
    3) How many marine underwriters on your search list have a ‘sailing resume’ themselves? Maybe you should ask for theirs when volunteering yours. Ignorance breeds fear, and that contributes to underwriters costing themselves out of that business, or behaving faithlessly with their clients.

    Some things you might want to consider for increasing your “sailor resumes” —
    1) Learn and master non-electronic navigation skills to wean yourselves from GPS dependence. Celestial navigation using a sextant, for example.
    2) Be crew when possible in some one-design monohull sailboat racing. Why: Sharpens your think-on-the-feet sailing prowess, crew teamwork, rules of the road practice, and keeping composure in collision situations (especially around race course marks). In my youth, J-24s served this fun well.
    3) Float plan taking Curiosity into exploring the higher latitudes, north or south. So far you’ve just kept to the tropics.
    4) Opposite of the “Millennium”, some experience sailing a small boat also diversifies one’s sailing resume. “Windwalker” would be honored to host you both someday for some ‘picnic excursions’ sailing motorless near bald eagle, osprey and striped bass realms. She’s a 42-year old Boston Whaler Harpoon 4.6m.

    And for increasing the “boat resume” —
    4) Consider a better tender. Rigid-hull inflatables like the “Minion” are light on the davits, but a Boston Whaler built like “Windwalker” won’t sink even when literally chainsawed into multiple pieces. The pieces will still float, keeping safe each soul aboard, plus the outboard motor and other properly secured gear.
    5) Keep some redundant spares aboard for essential equipment. I notice Keith W. on “Zatara” does this.

    Fair Winds, Happy Easter, and Following Seas,

    S/V “Windwalker”

    reply
  • Robert Beltz

    Interesting information. Insurance and lawyers.. if we didn’t have em, we wouldn’t need em. Would it make a difference if your boat was a Panamanian registry? Remember no fault insurance? That’s next to the biggest scan ever done. The really big scam is suing someone for damages they caused. Did you know that in many, or possibly most, states it is illegal for the trial lawyers to mention any involvement of insurance companies. This way, the jury is led to believe their verdict will directly effect the defendant, rather than an insurance policy covering all the requested damages.

    As far as taking a village. No. It takes two people with incredible fortitude and the ability to sell themselves and their adventures. You run a very special business whose product is an engagement with your followers, some of whom are able to monetarily support your business. Congratulations, you provide a means for many to live your adventures vicariously and others to compare notes on their experiences. You come across as very friendly people and thus the great connection with your followers.

    reply
  • Rich

    We have our 2005 Broadblue 42 insured by Travelers through Jack Martin and Associates. No problems yet, no claims, but we haven’t really gone anywhere yet. We are slowly upgrading the boat for ocean passages. On our list are a parachute sea anchor (haven’t yet decided whether to include a series drogue as running before the weather with our stern to breaking seas with a boat having a large glass sliding door seems unwise), 4000 gph pump (separate switch and high water alarm) in each hull with (the original smaller ones at the very bottom of the bilge to keep it as dry as possible), automatic fire suppression for the engine compartments with auto shut down (I priced a Xintex system at about $1000), and new jack lines. Our current insurance waived the life raft since we weren’t going offshore yet, but I guess that will have to be added in the future. But, it does more to decrease the safety margin of the boat in a variety of conditions by adding unnecessary weight. There has been a debate about carrying one on a cat. The only practical reason I can think of is having to abandon if there is a fire at sea that cannot be controlled. Besides, why does the insurance company care? The boat is lost whether or not the crew survives.
    We also will upgrade our washdown pump so it can be used for firefighting. I saw one cat in a listing that had a gasoline powered emergency pump mounted under the helm seat. Seems like overkill but would be great for firefighting.
    Also planning on carrying a damage control kit. They are commercially available, but maybe better to customize your own.
    The refusal to insure boats with lithium ion batteries is a strange one. Maybe the older chemistries, with Co for example, but the later LFPs are not nearly the fire danger.
    Seems to me that cruisers, especially liveaboards should be a separate insurance classification from weekend warriors. Living on your boat, cruising it far from home, means you are always working on it, thinking about improving it, learning to sail safely, ingraining navigational regs in your head by doing it all the time. And since it is your home, you will do everything you can to protect it from storms, or any other damage that can occur from lack of maintenance. You are more likely to repair things before they become a safety issue, and more likely to be a knowledgeable, and practiced sailor. As opposed to a weekend warrior who cracks a beer before starting the engine, and regards the water as a free-fire zone, and doesn’t care about his boat being left at the slip in the path of a hurricane because that’s why he has insurance.

    reply
    • Alan M Peterson Jr

      Hi Rich, do you know if travelers covers in French Polynesia?

      reply
      • Rich

        Sorry, I do not.

        reply
      • Susan / IWIS

        No, they don’t.

        reply
  • Bob W.

    My Sunday morning routine…grab my Irish Breakfast Tea, fruit, and cheese, and watch your weekly update. I’m as addicted to the three of you…Jason, Nikki, and Curiosity, as I was to CBS Sunday Morning’s, “On the Road with Charles Kuralt”. Thank you much.

    reply
  • Michael D Raichel SR

    So glad you share some of your week with everyone. Since you spent a lot of time on Inssurance lately, it makes “cents” that would be the brunt of this video.
    And wow,… so much anxiety this is …. looks like you took a beating in 2019 and 2020… with those super high tanga prices. (And very little to no sailing those years)
    It does look like you picked a winner for this year,… from the looks of the chart you posted,… 2nd best rate ever!

    Thx for the boat economics…. I now know more than before I clicked.
    I’M sure you helped other sailors with that hot tip out of NZ.

    thx fir the ride…happy sailing
    Michael

    reply
  • Gerald German

    Jason: Love your well made professional videos. However do yourself a favor and please get a quote from my Insurance broker whom I have used for the past 20 years I have owned by then new power boat. Like you i Had zero experience when i bought this brand new $350,000 trawler. Unlike you I have never been further North than Nova Scotia or further South than the Bahamas. However this broker/agent as always been able to get me unbelievable low rates year after year. This has always been done by making only one phone call to him annually. Kevin Severance insurance – agent Garrett Hack 281-333-3100.

    reply
  • Mary

    Great write up! Thanks for all of the details.

    How much of a discount do you think getting rid of propane gets? We may follow suit.

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  • Mark Solomon

    Congratulations on getting your insurance for another year! You mentioned the broker, but did you say which insurance company you are going with?

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  • Paciii

    Good for you Nikki, you got him into the water when you pushed… Jason, you need to try harder for payback…

    For ins. purposes, would both of you pursue Captain’s Licence cert or would it be sufficient to reduce rates if just one got it? Although if both were got CL would be overall better resume, I expect. I guess it would be a cost decision: how long would the cost of getting CL take to be recovered by lower premiums or other advantages. You’ll have to tell us when we have to officially start referring to one or both of you as Captain Wynn!!! (Although you may not want to show this video to whoever would be certifying Nikki as a good Captain, since you push your crew overboard… [Grin])

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  • Paciii

    Good for you Nikki, you got him into the water when you pushed… Jason, you need to try harder for payback…

    For ins. purposes, would both of you pursue Captain’s Licence cert or would it be sufficient to reduce rates if just one got it? Although if both were got CL would be overall better resume, I expect. I guess it would be a cost decision: how long would the cost of getting CL take to be recovered by lower premiums or other advantages. You’ll have to tell us when we have to officially start referring to one or both of you as Captain Wynn!!!

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  • Deborah Kerr

    Boring insurance stuff but turquoise water? Yes please!!! So happy you found ins. coverage for another year! Love the drone footage over paradise!! ⛵️🏝🐠🌊🐠⚓️😎🤠 Thank you!!

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  • Gary Church

    Amen on boat insurance! It appears boat insurance underwriters know nothing about boats, especially those that are used internationally.

    We were at Cap Cana Marina on the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic which has had 2 hurricanes in the last 100 years. Insurance company insisted we be basically in NC by June 1 which had been hit be 8 hurricanes in the last 10 years. In fact we sat through a Cat 1 whose eye past within 10 miles of us when there last fall.

    Add this to your list of crazy inconsistent requirements and no concept of the current international pandemic requirements and it’s easy to conclude these yahoos know nothing about boating.

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  • Pat

    Great Video again and glad that dilemma is over for this year….

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  • JOHN SCHRETLEN

    Very informative video. I wonder if European or Australian/New Zealand or Canadian offshore sailors have the same insurance hassles. A neighbour left Canada eight years ago to sail south and then around the world. I’ve only seen him once since – a few years ago – and we talked a lot about everything. Yet he did not mention insurance once. So perhaps it was not an issue for him, and he does solo sailing unless he finds free crew that want to sail where he’s going next.

    Also, just watched “On The Road with Mary Van Compernole” on YouTube yesterday. Congratulation to Mary, but also I have to pat you on the back for giving her the “confidence nudge” required to get into RVing. Look what you started!

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    • Debra Perfitt

      Hi John,
      Yes Canadians get the same queries as Americans, which is why I’m paying so much attention to this article. Our vessel is also in Tonga, on the hard. We just haven’t figured out how to get home yet from NZ. Been here over a year. Need insurance soon.

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  • About Creativity

    Very good, “Confidence, Clarity and a sense of purpose are all things that need to be established, and re-established, daily.”

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  • William Domb

    Puzzled you can use a VPN with Netflix.

    They detect this.

    Have to have a second channel type or shut down to do Netflix.

    Different with surfshark?

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    • William Domb

      Went and looked at surfshark. They are DIFFERENT and allow Netflix libraries.

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  • Paul Bartomioli

    Thank you! A very informative post. The insurance lie, “premiums will decrease…” is industry-wide. Insurance is legal gambling. The insurance company is gambling the premiums will provide a profit after all their expenses are paid. Hurricane season this year threw all of them on the ground. Even the big underwriters are not immune.

    I have wondered about self-insurance, but the drawback is that you must have liquid funds equal to your valuation. In your case, approximately $230k. Getting rid of propane makes sense. What IF you did not have a diesel engine? Would the ROI of switching to all-electric make sense? How long will the reduction in premiums for not having diesel fuel take to pay for the upgrade? Technology is advancing. I have heard you can buy sails that are solar cells. Just another thought

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  • Michael Magill

    Morning,

    This year is unlike any other year on record, first with the Pandemic all over the world causing countries to spend billions on vaccines and health care and so so many deaths of people, families hurt by this businesses lost and never coming back. We have been stuck here for over a year and still can’t go anywhere. Yes they have the vaccines and yes we are getting our shots but our lives will never be the same. So glad you have insurance, as i look forward to your updates each week and if they weren’t here , would feel very sad that you had been taken away by whatever means as well. Wish you two smooth sailing and take care please, your a breathe of fresh air each week thousands look forward to your updates, and glad you let us tag along each week!!!

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  • Monica Cordell

    Thanks for all the recommendations like gear on the boat and Surf Shark! …Working on the dream to get out on the water.

    …and the boat bloopers. Nice to get peeks at what doesn’t make it into the video and a glimpse of “production”.

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  • Steve R.

    I have been following a boating blog for the boat Buffalo Nickel for awhile and they touched on the insurance issue in their latest blog which I quote here:

    On a more logistical note, those of you who are American and cruising outside the US may have encountered the same boat insurance issues that we have: limited availability at rapidly rising rates. No US carrier would even look at us for the passage from Japan to Alaska. For various minor and unrelated reasons, we decided to flag our FPB 70 in the Marshall Islands rather than the US. As an unintended consequence, we were able to get great coverage at a decent cost from Pantaenius Europe using a broker in Germany who is terrific. This was only possible because we were not US-flagged. The “flag of convenience” process is pretty easy, and something to consider if you are having similar insurance challenges.

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    • Paul Bartomioli

      Thank you. I have wondered that, as well. WHAT if you are not a US-flagged vessel? Look at commercial shipping. Are there ANY US-flagged vessels? While the reasons are many, reducing operating costs has to be pretty high up on the list

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    • Michael

      There you go. i knew it was possible.

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  • Marjorie Nehlsen

    Going through the same thing now with house insurance and managed to find one that was $600 less than original insurer. Had to have a $100 house inspection but still saved $500. All done checking different insurance companies for another year, except for auto.

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    • Paul Bartomioli

      You don’t bundle your home and auto?? I can hear the cries of anguish from Flo and Jake

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      • Sam W

        Due diligence, annually. Once we had USAA on the house, and GEICO for the cars. Now we are bundled with Jake. Next year, who knows. We are honest about our risks and desires, but there are many things demanding our dollar. There are no loyalty points with insurance or phone plans. Years ago we bundled with Progressive. Every year it went up. “Well, things go up.” Until we took stock, and, WOW. Nikki and Jason don’t face complacency. With their nomadic lifestyle, they must search every year. They say, with extraordinary power, comes with extraordinary responsibilities. The same goes for joy and difficulties. Only you can make the trade off work.

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  • Diane

    As an insurance Underwriter for 20 years (Home & Auto) I cannot begin to tell you what a service you have provided to other potential sailors. It’s all about being fully educated before you launch and truly a major decision. Good luck and most importantly, stay safe.

    reply
  • Monica Cordell

    Thanks for all the recommendations like gear on the boat and Surf Shark!

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  • Brad

    Thanks guys – interesting stuff and great refs.
    Brad & Kyra, Carrollton.

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  • Heidi

    Great insight. We have the same thing with our classic cars as far as agreed upon pricing. Anyhow, that’s interesting. Lots of great information here. Yeah. Your insurance is more than double our 5000 Sq foot house! Wow.

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  • Chris and Barb in Loudon TN

    Have you inquired if the ProTeng RV fire suppression or the Elide Fire Ball suppression options? Perhaps insurance won’t recognize those as real solutions?

    Keep up the great work
    We enjoy sailing with you both each week

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  • Brian D.

    Thanks so much for this detailed post Nikki/Jason! Our new boat arrives later this fall and we’re headed your direction so we’re anticipating insurance issues and this will be a huge help! Question – is there any benefit to flagging a vessel outside of the U.S. for insurance purposes that you’re aware of – i.e., easier to get coverage in remote areas, less expensive, etc? Thank you both again for sharing your cruising adventures and experiences with all of us!

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    • Michael

      Yes, that is my question, too. Why not change your flag?

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    • Curious Minion

      There’s a lot of info on that if you Google it, but 2 big negative points are that your vessel is now bound by the laws of whatever country you pick, and it can also affect where you’re allowed to travel (as in, 2 countries with bad relations prohibit vessel entry into each others’ territories). You will also loose some protections that U.S. citizens aboard a U.S. registered vessel are given.
      Curious Minion

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      • Michael

        There must be big reasons why most of the worlds shipping is done that way. Since most countries hate us, I doubt that there are many protections left. Picking a good country solves the rest of the problems.

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        • Dillon

          They’re called “flags of convenience” for a reason. Panama has very low annual fees and little in the way of inspection. They also allow transfer of ownership with very little paperwork. And crew can be from wherever the owner can find them. US flagged commercial vessels must have American officers and at least 75% deck crew (it used to be 100% but that changed a few years ago).

          None of this is of advantage to Curiosity. And likely not of much interest to the insurance companies since they would ask “and what’s YOUR flag?”

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      • Michael

        By the way, it is your passport that matters; not your ships country.

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  • Roger Franz

    Good post with plenty of good information. What struck me as a land lover, boat insurance is sort of a combination of home and auto insurance. Hitting that mega yacht will be a cost that a home owner would not incur. I wonder if what you are experiencing is like homeowners in areas where wildfire risk is greatest. Their premiums for years were considered reasonable. What then became known is that yearly wildfire risk was not adequately figured into premiums. What was reasonable then doubled or tripled. Counties allowed home developments in areas where the home would likely burn done before the fire department reached the home. While development will occur, those homeowners are now adjusted to the new normal of much higher premium levels and in some cases insurance only available through state programs. So, $11000…sounds high to the past, but if you think of the future it likely will be the norm. Good luck. Great details.

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    • Paul Bartomioli

      I worked for a company inspecting homes for insurance, new, renewal. The company I work for got a new client in 2019. California based. I live in CT. So, why would a California insurance company decide to expand in CT and other northeastern states?

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  • Roy V Bertalotto

    I sold my boat last year when the total amount of insurance I’ve paid over the past few years was greater than the value of the boat! And like you stated, more and more I was being asked for insurance, especially with a Hazard Material rider……Big $$ …..Sold the big boat and bought a 14′ Aluminum boat with a 30hp motor…..and I’m having WAY more fun with the little boat……Trailer it, haul it out and store next to the house. No worries when storms brew and zero insurance cost. Good Luck to you two….

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  • Mary

    I can’t believe you have to do this every year! I’m so glad you guys have coverage and you can Put that troublesome task behind you!

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  • Doug C.

    Great post Nikki/Jason. We feel your pain on this subject as well! Our insurance jumped from $3800 in year one, 2017, to well over $12,000 annually in 2021. We are a bit different as a Charter Dive Boat operator (on a sailing catamaran), but the industry has completely lost its mind! I fear that many of the 100k boats you mentioned is an excuse by the industry participants and sadly, many claims are somewhat less than legit. We have friends who have given up and started their own funds to protect themselves. The challenge, as you aptly pointed out, is those marinas, nations, etc. that require proof of insurance. Pretty difficult to create your own insurance company. I’ve had friends who checked into it. UGH!

    All the best in your travels to NZ and beyond!

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  • Dean Allen

    Love watching y’all even when discussing boring crap like insurance.

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    • James Mertz

      amen

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    • Sam W

      Not boring so much as scary.

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