If You Think Your Boat Is Safe In A Barn! You’re Full Of Pooh!


Last week we heard the horrible news regarding the fire at a well known boat restoration shop. Texx and I noted that it seems like most of the damage we hear about usually is not stuff that happens on the water… So we asked our gurus of such things.. Hagerty Marine Insurance. After all they are the final place that all mishaps are reported.. Follow the money I suppose..I know… after every event like this it seems like reminder time to sell something. BUT.. In this case its about being smart. Thinking of all the angles. You don’t have to turn into a Eor..You don’t have to look at everything and wonder if that’s whats going to get you.. You get to live the life of Pooh! Being an Eor is what insurance people do.. And no one does it better than hagerty marine insurance. So we invited Chris and Carla from Hagerty to comment on the topic. And below.. Is Chris’s wonderful statement. I could not have said…or spelled it better..

“It’s that old saying….the safest place to be is in the middle of the lake……Sure, there are lots of things that can happen when boating…actually out in the lake classic boating…..but we (Hagerty) have in some years, had as many claims on boats when they are not being used, as when they are in the middle of the lake.   Storage buildings collapsing, trailering mishaps, heat damage, storms of every type, and yes….fires….some of these risks can be moderated. But others, like a million volts of lightning incinerating your $75k fresh bottom up restoration into a small pile of dust, are a little harder to plan or protect against.  Yes, this will sound a lot like a insurance commercial…..If your boat is not being used and is stored in your garage or storage barn, do not make any assumption it is covered by your homeowners or even a contents endorsement. Most every standard market homeowners policy will specifically EXCLUDE boats as contents…just like a car. Some may offer limited coverage for small boat and motors but will not cover real boats.” Christopher Schmaltz, Hagerty Marine Insurance.
  We also often hear that the boat is with a restorer or in commercial storage and the owner assumes it is covered by their insurance….are you sure??? Did you sign a contract? Did you read the hold harmless clause?? We have had boats in climate controlled buildings, loose power, go to 120 degrees and split in half.  This year we have lost boats to floods, tornadoes, wind shear, snow load, fires, theft, and that was just over the weekend… So what can you do to protect your boat?  See contact info below…
In the big picture, there are 17 less wood boats in the world….and that is a bummer!

18 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    The day had seemed to start out so well. I went kayaking at sunrise, caught some fluke and opened up WoodyBoater. Now I’m just depressed. I know it’s his job to know this stuff but I wonder how many parties Chris doesn’t get invited to. Are his friends on suicide watch? I know, don’t shoot the messenger. I think I’ll go out and hug my boat (I was going to say hug my woody but that just sounds bad).

  2. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    We are restoring a 1958 Century Coronado The owner has been upping his insurance with Hagerty as the restoration goes along… Some others’ have chose not to… ( I feel this is a mistake)…

    Some people feel ok with self insuring when it comes to a total loss… Some choose not to have insurance when using the boat also… This is an even bigger mistake… Not only do you have the loss of the boat, you can loose everything else you own…

  3. Chris
    Chris says:

    Well some of these questions come up with the Restorers…We discussed bottom and hourly charges some time back….do we consider the difference in rates for a shop that has true Garage Keepers coverage vs. one that is just running blind? Many shops require their Clients to carry primary coverage on their boats. In the case where the shop does have coverage, those policies have fixed limits as well and they aren’t cheap. If times are slow for the shop, this may be one of the first expenses to get cut….

  4. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    A boat I own suffered a mishap in a shop last year, but because it was near completion and I had been upping the insured value of the boat as it progressed, the deductible became too high to make a claim possible. I would try to avoid that circumstance in the future, if indeed there is a way to do so.

    However, in talking to Hagerty at the time, they did say that most losses that occur while a boat is in a shop are total and caused by fire. Mine was one of very, very few in their experience that was a partial loss due to a mishap with the boat itself.

  5. Texx
    Texx says:

    OK – I can’t stand it any longer… What is the boat on today’s Woody Boater Banner?

  6. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    It’s Dick Dow’s boat. It’s a 1939 Batchelor built runabout named Sinbad. It strongly resembles a Chris Craft, but it isn’t one. It’s a great boat and was at the Mahogany and Merlot event last year.

  7. Alex
    Alex says:

    Last fall, a buddy suggested I consolidate my boats “under one roof,” or have a separate shed built, so I could store them all together.

    Then another buddy of mine suggested that might not be a good idea in case of lightening/fire. (He knows just where to find my paranoia buttons, and likes to press them for sport.)

    So now they are divided among sheds. And they are no longer allowed to fly together either.

  8. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    I have always pefered to take no chances with boat insurance, and unfortunatly proven correct back in April as many of you wittnessed first hand here on Woodyboater. There is also the constant mention of Hagerty Ins. envaribly on this topic. Althought Hagerty served me well for many years, I feel compeled to pipe up about the excelent service I recived from the new KID on the block. After switching to Grundy Ins. earlier this year due to almost a 600.00 lower rate on my four boats, and a lower 500.00 deductable , I will have to admit I was somewhat concerned as to how my claim would be handled. I recived excelent service from a very knowlegable survyor, and appraiser. My claim was settled in four weeks which appears to be about the norm. All in all I am happy with the dission I made earlier this year and feel the new kid on the block deserves a pat on the back for great service. Now if I could just get Ace Hardware to sign me for one of those million dollar advertising gigs, life would be good:):):)

  9. Chris Finks
    Chris Finks says:

    Here’s a story that I have mixed feelings with sharing. Partly because I should have been more careful in allowing someone else operate my boat and partly because of pride. In any case, I cannot say enough good about Hagerty and have insured 3 classic cars and two classic boats with them. Mostly without incidence, but when there was an issue, they were outstanding.

    Last summer, after a fantastic Sunday evening dinner and with 6 people on board, I allowed a friend and experienced boater take the helm of my beloved Chris Craft Constellation while I visited the head. Prior to going below, I gave him clear instructions on where to turn and not thinking any further stepped into the cabin and suddenly I heard a horrendous sound of breaking frames and planks, a major jolt followed by tons of water pouring into the cabin. He had steered into pilings just below the surface (low water year and likely bad navigation) I grabbed my 9-year-old son and went back up to find my wife thrown about and bruised, but okay as were our other passengers. I also found my friend that was piloting the boat in sheer shock apologizing for what had happened.

    Again, I thank God that we all were okay, but in a state of shock and the Coast Guard arrived on the scene immediately. My son instructed the young Coast Guard officers to “please save my daddy’s beautiful old boat.” I’d be a liar to say that I didn’t shed a tear about what could have happened to everyone on board and what did happen to our boat.

    By early the next morning, Hagerty and Vessel Assist helped me think through a plan to get the boat out of the river and off its perch on the pilings, avoid any environmental damage and assess what would need to be done with the boat. I could not bear the thought of cutting up our beautiful Constellation and have spent the time since the incident bringing her back and surpassing where she was prior to the accident. Today, she is back in the water and getting better everyday. And, Carla at Hagerty insured my boat, but admonished me to never let anyone but me drive again. As “captain of the ship”, it is totally my responsibility for what happened, but I am heeding Carla’s words. So, for me, there is no other insurance company other than Hagerty. Thanks to Carla, our old Chris Craft Constellation will go on to live another 51 years!

  10. randy & ginger
    randy & ginger says:

    my biggest fear of having damage done to the boat is when we are travelling over the road.

    last year we went around atlanta on a weekday about 10 am, i was in the truck pulling the boat and randy was following me in our bus, as i pulled onto the eastern bypass i was confronted with about 10 lanes of traffic all coming together and at least seven of those lanes were semi-trucks weaving in and out of lanes, jockeying for position; it looked like a bunch of dragonfly’s skimming across a pond…

    i looked in the rearview mirror at my darling husband in that 1959 double clutch bus and said a little prayer (ok…a big one) i gripped the wheel a little tighter and joined in the fracas…he was soon gone from my sight and i could only hope i would see him again on the other side…

    nothing happened to either one of us but it was one of the most stressful stretches of road we have ever encountered… it was insane…after getting out of that mess we pulled off at an exit just to re-group before continuning on to our destination…

    once there, we learned that another boat had been hit while travelling to the show but thankfully had only a little damage done to it…

  11. matt
    matt says:

    OK, I will say it.. Other than Roanoke VA, Atlanta has the worst driving on the planet earth.. Roanoke is the worst by far..They are insane on the road.. Exit ramp stops.. Left lane at 40mph.. But Atlanta.. 80mph in tight traffic.. I avoid Atlanta like the plague when traveling south..At least in Boston its a sport.. LA cars go to slow.. NY its the pot holes.. DC is a 24/7 grid lock.. with close to 50K miles last year, and living and working all over the US.. aatlanta takes the cake for big Cities.. Roanoke VA for small towns.. Glad yo all made it..

  12. Alex
    Alex says:

    Matt: Worst driving I’ve seen (and lived in) is Chicago. A thousand different first generation ethnicities each bringing his/her own driving style with him/her. White-knuckled every time.

    At least in NYC, the driving is “consistently” intense.

    Best I’ve seen is Sao Paulo, by far! Cars driving hard and fast, all over the lines, inches apart. But they rarely seem to touch. There’s a reason so many top F1 drivers are from Brazil. To my knowledge, none from Chicago. Or Roanoke.

  13. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    worst traffic and driving conditions I have ever seen were in Hanoi. Very few lights and no lane discipline at all. Unbelievable. Millions of scooters, most with three or more people on them – unless you have driven in a third world country it is hard to imagine.

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