To answer that rather obvious question, procrastination gets you nothing. But to answer it in a much more matter-of-fact way, it gets you far less than that. Case in point, boat insurance. If you’re thinking of buying a boat, you probably know what type of boat you’re looking for, how much you’re going to spend, and where you’re going to use it. If that’s the case, then you’re ready to start talking about your boat insurance with an insurance company (or companies) or your broker.
“You can go to any of the yacht insurance companies and get an estimate of what it’s going to cost,” says Cary Wiener, president of Pantaenius USA (www.pantaenius.com). “You start developing a relationship with that insurance company or insurance broker.” And when you start the ball rolling, it’s easier to stay in touch with them throughout the process.
“As you hone in on the boat you’re buying you start giving the insurance company or agent more details especially if your navigations are going to be a little bit more complicated,” Wiener says. “Issues that you should flesh out at the very beginning are your experience with the boat, whether the insurance company will have requirements on crew or navigational limitations. Certain insurance companies will require paid crew if the boat is a certain size or you have certain limited experience. Others don’t.” But how will you know if you don’t start the conversation? Entering into a boat purchase is a big decision, and you don’t want to encounter any surprises related to the cost.
Knowing your insurance company’s expectations for the purchase are helpful as well. “Most companies will require a survey on anything but a new boat,” Wiener says. “Obviously if you’re buying a boat you’re going to get a survey. And insurance companies will require surveys based on the age of the vessel and the number of years vary between companies. Some insurance companies will give you time to comply, it’s called “rec compliance”—recommendations compliance—to meet the survey recommendations. They’ll give you 30 days or 60 days depending on what the issues are.”
Keep in mind, insurers see all kinds of boats in all sorts of conditions. “If the boat really needs a lot of fixing up, they may put the boat on ‘port risk,’” Wiener says. “That means you can’t move the boat out of port but it will give you an opportunity to get the boat worked on, sometimes it’s limited transit to get it to a shipyard.”
But knowing expectations of all parties up front is a good thing, and keeps surprises on all sides to a minimum. So what are you waiting for?