Insurance is an unusual thing, something you pay for hoping you never have to use.
There is no question that Carrie and I believe in the value of being adequately insured, based on our recent experiences, so it follows that when we purchased Brilliant we would seek out an appropriate amount of insurance coverage against a catastrophic loss.
Given that, Brilliant is very different than Firefly; it is shorter in length, of a different sailing design, and several years younger, and we didn’t know just what coverage would cost. Factoring in that we had a claim only 10 months ago, the numbers were totally unknown to us.
What we found was that every broker we contacted declined to cover us. The only insurance we could secure was liability coverage, and that would only cover us while in the US. Not good. It seemed that the boating insurance industry was different in this respect, that instead of charging more they would just deny any coverage altogether.
So the next discussion onboard Brilliant was: do we continue with our travel plans with no insurance, or sit at the dock until such time as the Insurance Gods saw fit to grant us coverage? We owned Firefly for the 2 ½ years without insurance coverage as we initially didn’t have much invested in her, so this concept was not foreign to us. We did purchase coverage after realizing that over that period we had invested a great deal in her equipment and the labor it took to install and maintain it (mostly our own), and our recent experience proves that you never know when something catastrophic might happen.
At the recent SSCA meeting in Melbourne, we encountered the owner of an insurance brokerage that had covered us in the past. We like the company, as much as one can “like” an insurance company, but their coverage in the Caribbean didn’t agree with our needs and we switched to another carrier for several years. His company was on our recent insurance shopping list and they had also denied us coverage. Our question to him was, “how long do we have to sail without coverage before being welcomed back into the fold?” His response surprised us.
He said with a rather puzzled look on his face, “that’s not right.” He felt we should have been able to receive coverage from someone. We told him our experiences and that his company had also declined us, and he promised to look into our file to see what he could do.
We’re not sure what he did, but when we followed up a week later we were given a quote for full coverage at a price that was not as bad as we had expected, and we accepted his offer. The underwriter has asked that we focus on some specific recommendations of our survey, which will likely mean more money spent in the near to medium term, but the peace of mind granted by coverage against unseen but very real possibilities is very rewarding.