Preface: I am not in the insurance business; I'm just a consumer... Therefore I have had several marine insurance brokers [in the USA] contribute to, and vet this page because I am dependent upon those professionals for the integrity and accuracy of what is stated here...
Of course, our preferences outlined below are of our own choosing...
For our marine insurance needs, we prefer working with an insurance broker.
Why? Because brokers represent us; insurance agents represent their company...
Al Golden at IMIS has earned a great reputation [and is an ex-cruiser...] He gets our business, and is always competitive... IMIS puts together a policy [Al developed the Jackline Policy for cruisers] to meet our specific needs, and has an ongoing reputation for no fuss claims handling and quick payouts. [Though, thankfully, we have no first-hand experience in this regard...]
Key points for us when shopping insurance include:
We specify All Risk [vs. Named Peril] coverage.
All Risk covers everything not on the excluded list; Named Peril tells you specifically what is covered, but not necessarily what isn't. We prefer to not have to read between the lines...
For Total Loss [of the vessel] we prefer an Agreed Value [negotiated replacement price] vs. Actual Cash Value policy [the insurance company's adjuster's estimate of what it is worth after the loss...]
There are no surprises with an Agreed Value policy; you know what you will be paid when the policy is written, and are not at the mercy of an adjuster's estimate at the time of loss.
For Partial Loss [e.g., stolen items, lightning destroyed electronics, etc.] we prefer Replacement Cost [new for old] vs. Actual Cash Value [depreciated value of item(s) to be replaced... often pennies on the dollar...]
When comparing policies, be sure to only compare the ones that have matching criteria as outlined above, otherwise you aren't comparing similar products. [e.g., Comparing All Risk to Named Peril policies is a common mistake...]
Important things to know about the Marine Insurance industry: [In the USA anyway...]
- Marine Insurance is NOT regulated by State or Federal Government
- The product that you buy has not been approved by anyone
- The price that you pay has not been approved by anyone
- You need to either understand what you’re buying, or commission an agent in whom you can place your trust
- How to get the best Insurance Quote [An informative and detailed article by a fellow cruising sailor...]