Your Marine Coverage… Look For The Differentiator


By Bruce Claflin, Scuttlebutt Magazine

It’s March and our daylight is getting a little longer every day. We can only pray that our temps will begin to rise too, but that’s all we can do. As our thoughts slowly return to spring and the impending joy that our boating season will bring, we can do some things to start prepping for it now. I’m not assaulting you with yet another ‘Spring Boat Prep’ article, just passing along some common sense advice that we all need to hear again every so often. Since it’s still a little early to peel shrink-wrap, and since we’re digging in financials anyway in prep for tax time, let’s review insurance coverages. This is good advice for ALL your coverage, but we’ll stick to your boat insurance needs.

The purchase of insurance is designed to do one thing: Shift the risk of loss (or at least most of it) from the property owner to the insurance company. So it would make sense that we should regularly make an assessment to determine whether or not we have adequate coverage for the potential risks. Cost is always going to be an important component, but understanding what we are covered for and what we are NOT covered for is critical information.

During the Minneapolis Boat Show this past January I had an opportunity to sit down with Kevin Gruys of Aircraft-Marine Insurance (Burnsville, MN) and Liz Robertson of Premier Marine Insurance (Seattle, WA.) Premier Marine Insurance is a large managing underwriting agency of insurance specializing in marine pleasure-craft for over 30 years. They are working in partnership with Aircraft-Marine to expand into the Great Lakes region. They are marine insurance experts so I asked them specifically what things we should we be looking for, and what sets Premier Marine coverage apart from others. They both encouraged readers to review policies carefully to make sure they have true “ALL RISK” policies that carry very few exclusions. Exclusions are of course, those things that are specifically NOT covered under a policy. Kevin Gruys advised that we “look for differentiators”, those things that set a policy apart from others. Look for policies that contain fewer exclusions, enhancements, broader coverage, competitive pricing, etc. He added that he felt Premier Marine was bringing some differentiators with them as they continue expansion into our area. Robertson added that Premier Marine brings some benefits of coverage that are rarely seen in other policies. Among them are competitive pricing, replacement cost basis on machinery with no depreciation, and consequential property damage protection.

Consequential property damage protection is unique language that affords coverage for basic marine perils regardless of cause, whereas many other forms often contain absolute exclusion clauses. She went on to remind me that many policies exclude damage from vermin or other marine life, while policies from Premier Marine can cover both–think muskrats here. Premier Marine even offers enhancements for larger vessels valued at $500K that include 115% inflation protection and more. These are all items that should be carefully considered when reviewing policies or selecting new coverage. Remember that ‘the devil is in the details’, but that is also where you’ll find the differentiators!

As you gear up for one of the best boating seasons ever, now is the very best time to contact a true marine insurance specialist. Having the right coverage for your boat(s) will give you peace of mind and more quality time on the water, and the pros at Aircraft-Marine Insurance can certainly help.