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whichwaysup

Learn from my mistakes - Insurance Learnings

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Hey all -

I wanted to put this post out there because, from time to time, topics come up here that get debated hypothetically, but we really don't walk away with any specific answers.  One of those topics came back to haunt me, so I wanted to share a real experience with you all in the hopes that you all can benefit from it.  For you "cliff notes" kind of guys, you can scroll right to the bottom and get the punch line.   For those who like drama and morbid entertainment, keep reading:

Disclaimer:  Please, guys, I have purity of intent here.  This isn't a sour grapes, trash-people-for-making-me-a-victim kind of post.  I bought a used boat, I skipped some steps, and it came back to bite me, and it's going to cost me a lot of money.   And I am at peace with that.  When you buy what today would be a 60K boat new 17 years after it's new, and you get it for a "good deal" you take risks, you know those risks, and you better be prepared to accept the consequences.  So, no sour grapes.  Only sharing this to help others reduce those risks in ways I didn't.

So, quick history before we get to the lessons learned:

I had a beautiful 1987 Maverick Master Angler for about 4 years and fell in love with the hull.   At 30 years old (and a tough 30 years from the looks of things when I bought her), it was still tough as nails and structurally sound, and the ride, oh the RIDE!  For a flats boat, it was a Cadillac.  I decided that, for the way I fished, it was the only boat I'd own, and I still feel that way.

A year ago (almost exactly) a beautiful 2000 MA came up for sale.  It was in near mint condition, had a great engine, bottom of the hull hardly had a scratch on it, everything about the boat screamed "I've been babied!"   And the price was right, especially after a little negotiation.  Time for an upgrade to a newer model!

Folks, this isn't my first rodeo buying a used boat.  I thought I was pretty good at knowing what to do, what to look for, how to protect myself.  Ironically, about that time, there was a discussion on the forum about whether to get a survey when buying a used boat.  We ended up with a hung jury, with half of the folks saying "you should do it (but most admitting they didn't), and the other half saying "you idiots, it's not a fricken' yacht, it's a toy!"   I was in the first camp when advising others, and I was a hypocrite - Always recommended others do it, but I didn't do it when I bought this boat.  After all $500 is a lot to spend on a boat that you pay less than 20K for . . .   And besides, this boat was clean as a whistle.

Lesson 1:  GET A DARNED SURVEY.   It is not guaranteed to save you from my situation, but it will do one of two things:  a)  Catch damage you can't see, and/or b) establish an unbiased, documented baseline of the structural and mechanical condition of the boat at time of purchase.  That would have helped me . . . a lot.

To be clear, I did take what I thought were appropriate measures to ensure the boat was in the condition it appeared to be.   I made the seller complete a questionaire - in writing - about the condition of the boat (no damage, no repairs, no known issues, etc, etc.).   I had two guys from the forum do a visual inspection on the outside of the boat to see if I was missing anything, and even take pictures of every issue they saw.   It made me feel very good about my decision, but in the end, that's all it did.   In hindsight, it was extra effort for no benefit, at least in my case.  

Lesson 2:  When buying a boat, take pictures of EVERY part of the boat, not just the issues.   That way, if an issue shows up later, you have a record that proves that the issue WASN'T there before.  It may or may not help you with an insurance claim, but it will at least eliminate any doubt in your mind about whether maybe you missed something when you bought the boat.   Heck, do it annually, you will be glad you did.

So, fast forward to last Friday.  I've been doing a lot of work on the boat - had some wiring breakages, pumps not working, switches, etc.  Little stuff, but I address little stuff.   Having knocked out my entire list, one item remained.  I had a small leak that was bugging me.  It had been there when I bought the boat, and it was small enough to chalk it up to a through-hull fitting coming unsealed.  It seemed to be getting worse, but it was still pretty minor.  Fish for a few hours, end up with a gallon or two, but some of that was happening during wash down. . . .

Lesson 3:  Take leaks seriously.   Got a leak?  Fill the hull up with water, plug in, wait and then check EVERY AREA of the boat.  Don't think you know what it is.

So, since I finally had a few minutes and the boat was completely dry, I put the plug in, turned on the hose, and filled the hull up with water.  Nothing.  Fill it up more.  Nothing.   Fill it up more.  NOTHING.  I am kind of beaming with pride, what a great boat!  Gotta be the livewell plumbing.  Fill it up more . .  Ohhh, what's this?  A little drippage from the bolts for the engine.  Okay, gotta address that, maybe when I install that jack plate!   Fill it up more, to see if it will impact the upper bolts too  . . . no, looking good . . . .  Check the rest of the hull . .. . 

Uh oh . . . .

What's this?  Why are there drips there on that chine??  There's no through-hull there, no fitting . . . OH . . HOLY @#$%^, that's a fricken' CRACK in my HULL!   11 inches long, and there's another crack running perpendicular . . . . HOLY @#$%^&

Now, the axis of my world is being shifted by a cataclysmic mental earthquake.  WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?  HOW????   Okay, breathe, breathe, think think think think . . . A million little possibilities come to mind:  I hit a pothole HARD the other day while trailering, bottomed out the trailer . . . did that do it?  Every wake I've ever hit hard comes to mind, or . . . could this have been there when I bought the boat?  Did I miss it?  I go back and retrace what I did when I bought it.  No, no way I missed it.  It's plain as day.  Three different guys looking at it three different times would not have missed it.  They caught stuff WAY smaller than an 11" crack in the chine next to a 5" crack along the transom.  I did too.  It wasn't there . . . but I can't prove it.

I call Nagjuice, and run it by him.   He immediately reminds me of our last trip, when I about knocked out his teeth on a big wake in the ICW that I misjudged.  I remembered it, it was recent, and it was a hell of a hit.  But, it's a good boat, good manufacturer, certainly this boat is designed to handle that, right?  

Now, I've got a decision to make.   Sell my soul and tell the insurance company that "I hit a wake hard and now I have a crack in my hull" implying that I know that it is the cause, which I don't, or be perfectly honest with them and let the chips fall where they may.  Easy decision.  It may take me a few years to earn the money to fix this if they decline me, but it's an eternity in hell if I lie.   I'll take door number 1, thanks.   Let's see where the chips fall,  with my soul fully in tact, even if that means the checkbook won't be.

Lesson 4:  (no, this isn't "Lie like hell next time," LOL):  Keep a log somewhere for any incident that happens on the boat.  Major impact on a wake?  Document it.  Pothole under the trailer?  Document it.  May not win your claim, but at least you don't sound like you are making stuff up when you tell them.  Also, WHEN that stuff happens, do a visual inspection.  Seriously.  It takes 30 seconds.  Had I done that after the wake impact, I would have been able to say "I hit a wake hard and now I have a crack in my hull . . . that wasn't there when it was surveyed when I bought it . . . or last year in this picture I took of this same portion of the boat."  

I called Progressive up and told them exactly what you see above, as you see it.  No BS, no shady implications.  Poor way to get a claim approved?  Yeah, probably, but that wasn't my goal.  I know what I know about what's happened, and I also know what I don't know.  I give them both.  Unfortunately, it sure sounds like I am either:

A) An absolute idiot (yeah, I didn't do a survey when I bought it, yeah, I didn't take pics of that spot, yeah, I didn't check the hull after the impact) - funny how all your foolish decisions become evident at once.  

B) A guy trying to make a (very weak) case for them to pay for something they shouldn't.

I doubt that they deal with many "C" people - "C" being "A guy who is just trying to be honest and hoping somehow this thing is covered, cause it's gonna cost more than I can afford to fix."  But that's fine, I'm the one that has to sleep with me tonight.

The insurance guy is a nice enough guy, but doesn't know a stringer from a transverse.  He didn't do much to convince me that he understood much about boat construction, or had an expertise in damage causation.  I directed him to the chine where the damage was, shared my facts again, then showed him the damage again, because he didn't seem to know what a chine is, because he was looking at an area nowhere near the chine.  The livewell made it impossible to see the damage from inside the hull, and he made a few minor attempts, but didn't have the equipment to snake a camera in there.  I could tell that he was going through the motions, waiting to figure out how to tell me that it wouldn't be covered.  He seemed to know that before he looked at the boat.

Ten minutes later, he breaks the news to me.  This is wear and tear, he says, excluded by the policy.   Not covered, you're on your own.  Not the official answer, he says, but that's what it's probably going to be.

Folks, this is my second MA.  This is a premium brand boat.  My last boat was 30 years old and didn't have cracks in the chine.  I am not sure how MBG would feel about someone stating that their boats have a 15 year or less shelf life.  I would tell you that there may be a lot of reasons that there is a crack in the bottom of my hull, but "normal wear and tear" is not one of them.   I suspect that most of you would agree.  

But I don't have a leg to stand on, because:  I can't prove the condition of the boat when I bought it a year ago, I can't definitively give them a SPECIFIC cause, because I didn't document it.  I have no doubt that Progressive would still have tried to deny the claim.  These "lessons" I'm sharing with you are not bullet proof, but I'd be in a hell of a lot better position, but from a moral sense (being absolutely confident that I KNOW the facts) and a legal sense to fight for a better result.

Here's the funny part - and I share this because it only highlights how much the burden of proof will rest on you, should something like this happen.   I pushed very very very hard on Progressive on the reason for the denial.   I even had someone from MBG put in writing that this was not "normal wear and tear" for a 17 year old boat - it had to have a specific cause.  I wasn't fighting for the claim to be approved, I was fighting for them to give me a reason that made sense and wasn't directly contradicted by the manufacturer.  The adjuster had told me that "his boss and two other guys" had made this determination from the pictures (remember, only from the exterior of the hull), but none of them were an expert in the field.   

Eventually, I got him to agree to send the pics over to a 3rd party surveyor that he mentioned that Progressive uses and trusts.  He was clear that this was "above and beyond" what he was required to do, but he was confident that they would absolutely back up their position.   I said fine, let's start there.   

An hour later, the adjuster called me and said, "Well, it turns out the surveyor says you can't determine the cause from these pictures.  They would need to see the boat physically and actually see the damage (from the inside)."   I of course challenged him with this - "Wait a minute, an expert in the field is telling you that a determination of cause cannot be made using the exact same photos you all are looking at to make a determination that this is normal wear and tear.   Does that seem strange to you?"

I pushed for them to hire an objective 3rd party to assess the damage before decisioning the claim.   They absolutely refused.  They told me I could hire a surveyor on my own, but they would strongly discourage it, since, even if the surveyor agreed that it was caused recently by an impact, they still might not cover it.

 

Again, folks this isn't a sour grapes attempt to throw Progressive under the bus.  I suspect the outcome would have been the same for a lot of insurers, as a lot of them use the same underwriters anyway.  I simply want you to see how this situation played out - no hypotheticals, no BS, no excuses for my stupid decisions.  Learn from my mistakes.  

I am not a rich man.  I have 5 kids I have to put through college, and my wife's van is 11 years old and is going to need to be replaced.  Those priorities are going to take precedence over getting this boat fixed, so I may be a less frequent contributor for awhile.   Had I done things differently, things that you can do RIGHT NOW, I may have had a very different outcome.

So, for those of you who don't want to read the novel above, here's your cliff notes version:

1)  When buying a used boat, get a survey.  Just do it.  Do NOT rely on your own expertise to know what's going on in that hull.  Even if their findings agree with your findings, their report is a hell of a lot more powerful should something happen in the future.   DO IT.

2)  Take pics of the hull, everything, in detail, not just the stuff that is "bad."  It's the areas that AREN'T damaged that will become critical evidence should a future incident happen.   I'd even recommend doing it annually.   Again, may not help you, but it sure will put your mind at ease about when something did or didn't happen.

3)  Take leaks seriously.  Do NOT assume it's "just a fitting that needs to be resealed," or "the live well plumbing."  Especially if they seem to be getting worse.  

4)  Keep a log of incidents that happen that are memorable.  Big wake impact that rattled your teeth and scrambled your brains for a moment?  Log it.  Trailer get an opportunity to put it's springs to the test?  Log it.  AND THEN INSPECT THE BOAT AFTERWARDS.  Good time to update those pics from item #2.

BTW, for those who aren't buying a boat and already have one, it's not too late - if it's out of warranty, you can still do this . . . . 

ALTERNATIVE OPTION:

If the 4 items outlined above are too time consuming, costly, or tedious, you can choose to do as I did and NOT do them.  These are GREAT boats.  They are really well built.  I'm the only guy I've ever heard of with an 18.5 MA with a broken, cracked, or delaminated stringer (I think that's what it is, but at best it's a crack in the hull).  You will undoubtedly save $500 in a survey that may or may not help you.  But if you choose this option, make sure you CHOOSE it, not default into it like I did.  So, right now, go out to your boat and look at it.  Then pretend for a moment that you are me.  You have a beautiful boat that you love, but that you will need to spend somewhere between $5 and $15K on it to be able to use, money that you don't have to put towards a toy you've already poured money into because, like me, you have kids to put in college, or vehicles to be replaced, or fun equipment you'd rather buy for the boat.  If you are okay with that, then ignore this and if you DO end up in my situation, shoot me a PM and we'll get together over a beer and exchange war stories about our (failed) battles with insurance companies.  

I'll even pick up the tab.

(BTW, this isn't a sob story either.  I'm far from starving to death and I'm not asking for help on this.  Just take a learning from my experience.)

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Also something to add. The wake we hit that may or may not have caused this wasn't from a big boat. I want to say it was a 25ft Center Console. It was just one of those deals where the geometry of the boat, the wake, lined up and combined with the SOG created a perfect storm. Whichway didn't beat the boat and I don't think it was beaten before. This is just one of those deals where the stars lined up and something unfortunate happened.

 

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Unfortunate....I agree with the Survey...I always recommend; however, I bought my 1995 MA17, sight unseen (I gave a $1K deposit from the internet pics), listened to the story of the wife who's husband died 5 years ago....

Puckered up and said....for $11K, let's take a chance....

Now, I have a nearly perfect, 22 year old, 21 years in the garage, MA17, that still smells of Fiberglass when you open a hatch....

Sounds like in your case it went sideways on you and you didn't pay attention to the details....or ignored the "signs" of potential issues as you described above......it happens to all of us

for me, it was a calculated risk and since I'm a major DIY'r, I felt it was worthwhile....can my fuel tank go tomorrow?  Yes, it's 22 years old, but, for now, it's perfect....that' about all that I'm worried about at this point...and, when it does, I know it will be $2-3K for Bob at Inshore Marine to replace it, or, I'll attempt it myself....at least the pull out and reinstall and have Bob do the finishing glass work....

I doubt you have $15K in work....maybe $3-5K to cut out the floor and replace a stringer.....

I would call Maverick...they had a couple of guys who did Refurb work in the area.  They worked at the factory and were part time on the weekends to do some work.....take it back to the mothership, drop it off, give them a few months in the winter, come back in the spring, and your baby will be new again....

Remember, its' only a boat...when you keep it in perspective to some type of health issue that my family endured for 2 years and over $1.4MM in medical bills, ain't much to worry about in the grand scheme of things...easy for me to say I know....but, thanks for sharing and bearing your soul....

It will get better......it's only a boat....as I used to say as I have broken 3 skegs, tore off feet of gelcoat from oysters, nearly sunk my Pathfinder 5 miles off shore tailing, broke hatches from doing stupid things, took out chunks of gelcoat from dropping a 18 lb anchor on the deck, bashed the side of the boat into a coral rock pit because I wasn't paying attention and had broken axels and spun hubs.....it all can be fixed with a bit of $$$ and time. 

 

DC

 

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Great write up Gus, but sad story. That totally totally ***, I don't know how the Adjuster and Survey guy  could feel a cracked hull is normal wear and tear?? It takes a special event for a crack to happen not just normal operation.

You should call Morgan and Morgan!

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That ***, bro, sorry to hear. I have had a Progressive for a long time and they were great when my old flats boat burned up but as I’m finding out post Irma, they’re not gonna do anything without a fight. I would at least take it to a glass guy and have him evaluate it, kinda go from there. I would have bought that boat too, don’t sweat it.

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I had a very similar situation happen with my 2002 MA 21 and at the end of the day it cost me roughly 9k to get the boat fixed but luckily progressive covered my claim. With that being said the company who fixed the boat for me did not have the nicest things to say about how the bottom of these boats are built. On the MA 21 with the long ride pad, he said that area was such thin fiberglass with not much reinforcing he was surprised that it lasted this long. It really took me by surprise as he was showing me problem areas with the stringers as well at the bottom of the boat and how it was laid up and put together. Hopefully now I have a boat that won’t crack down the road but I’ll keep enjoying it as much as I have been. It really is a great boat.

wish you luck on the rebuild, just make sure you take it to a competent shop otherwise you’ll have two headaches on your hands.

also don’t bother calling maverick as they aren’t repairing any boats that aren’t warranty claims, I called them first when looking to get my boat fixed earlier this year.

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3 hours ago, mminassian said:

lso don’t bother calling maverick as they aren’t repairing any boats that aren’t warranty claims, I called them first when looking to get my boat fixed earlier this year.

Agreed....but, the guys who were doing the refurb work, worked for MHP during the week, and had a side business of doing MHP non-warranty work, on the weekends...

This was 5-7 years ago, I don't know if they are still around.

dc

 

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Excellant things to think on! I too share the sentiment on Progressive. They are going the wrong way in my opinion. Not just marine but auto  as well. I would say seek legal counsel and recourse through the insurance company as well. In a scary and weird set of circumstances in a years time both my wife and I were rear ended. No fault of our own..both other drives ticketed. State Farm had one driver Progressive the other. SF claim we made was an absolute painless experience and they offered us a settlement that was more than generous in regard to diminished value. Progressive hemmed and hawed and was sluggish on every aspect of our claim. Downright condescending and rude on the phone too. Thankfully no one injured but it took a letter from counsel to get them to even return our correspondence and pay the expenses incurred from their insured who was 100% at fault.So...in my opine....they are going the way of AIG... and I would pay twice the premium to get insurance anywhere but Progressive. 

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Man...Sorry to hear this. 

Is it bad enough that you think cap will have to come off?  Or think it can be fixed from outside?

 

Also is a delaminating stringer something that a surveyer would actually have caught if  hull wasn't cracking yet?   Seems to me they don't have ability to get that deep in bilge.  

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Yeah probably pay more. But would never go to progressive for insurance. A friend of mine owns a auto body shop. He says the cut rate insurance company's are horrible to try to work with. 

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Just FYI, my engine (F150), and my trailer (Ameritrail) were both stolen, and Progressive handled the claims  professionally, very easy to work with,  and covered both with full replacement value within a week from both incidents.  I would highly recommend Progressive for boat insurance. 

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I had Progressive when the tree killed the boat and they were painless to work with. I think my biggest takeaway from this is insurance companies will work with you as long as they have nothing to argue i.e. Tree crushed it or stolen. When they get into a claim where the causative factor creates a shred of doubt it could be difficult. Gus's boat cracked and the adjuster could have/ should have gone the other way. WE all know it isn't normal, but does a insurance adjuster with little to no knowledge on marine construction?  As stated above if there was certain knowledge of the cause it could've gone another way. 

On another note, how many people fill their boat up with water yesterday and reviewed their policy?

 

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Okay, folks, moment of truth - how many of you boys were out there with hoses in your boats filling up your bilges this weekend?   LOL :)   

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and sympathetic responses.  When you get hit with something like this, it's nice to have a community around you to help you through it.  This really stinks, but I've had some really good advice from folks like Conocean, Nagjuice, etc, and some REALLY funny PMs from FSUSteve that provided some comic relief after one of the responses.

As for how bad this thing is, I'll let you all know as I know more.  I'm going to start getting opinions and quotes and determining what route to go down.   First thing I want to determine is how wide the spectrum of options is, from "fix this specific issue only and kick other cans down the road" to "Complete and total refurb, wiring, plumbing, fuel tank, etc."   I'll start a thread either way in the Maverick forum for those with a morbid interest.

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5 minutes ago, Nag Juice said:

I had Progressive when the tree killed the boat and they were painless to work with. I think my biggest takeaway from this is insurance companies will work with you as long as they have nothing to argue i.e. Tree crushed it or stolen. When they get into a claim where the causative factor creates a shred of doubt it could be difficult. Gus's boat cracked and the adjuster could have/ should have gone the other way. WE all know it isn't normal, but does a insurance adjuster with little to no knowledge on marine construction?  As stated above if there was certain knowledge of the cause it could've gone another way. 

On another note, how many people fill their boat up with water yesterday and reviewed their policy?

 

HAHAHA - great minds think alike, Nag!

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That is a tough story!  But you have taken the high road at every turn.  Sometimes, when things don't go my way or the way I thought they would, I just drop back to a position that it was just meant to be, and ultimately, it will be in my favor!  Not many people (including me) would survey a skiff or bay boat.  In fact, I bought my 2007 Pathfinder out of Connecticut  based on a couple of telephone conversations and pictures on Boat Trader.   Knowing how much you enjoy fishing and boating, especially with your kids, I have a feeling that you will be fishing again,  sooner rather than later!

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4 hours ago, whichwaysup said:

Okay, folks, moment of truth - how many of you boys were out there with hoses in your boats filling up your bilges this weekend?   LOL :)   

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and sympathetic responses.  When you get hit with something like this, it's nice to have a community around you to help you through it.  This really stinks, but I've had some really good advice from folks like Conocean, Nagjuice, etc, and some REALLY funny PMs from FSUSteve that provided some comic relief after one of the responses.

As for how bad this thing is, I'll let you all know as I know more.  I'm going to start getting opinions and quotes and determining what route to go down.   First thing I want to determine is how wide the spectrum of options is, from "fix this specific issue only and kick other cans down the road" to "Complete and total refurb, wiring, plumbing, fuel tank, etc."   I'll start a thread either way in the Maverick forum for those with a morbid interest.

I would find someone with a good bore-scope camera, this will tell you whats going on inside. There is a chance its just outer hull crack and easily ground out and fixed. But if the cap comes off a new tank goes in, wiring can be done anytime. 

I have one like this, it might be a starting place to look around inside. However I think a quality camera will be needed in the end.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/7mm-6LED-Wireless-Endoscope-OTG-Borescope-Inspection-Smart-Camera-for-Phone-H/382274634079?hash=item590158015f:m:mAGMtHEw8E2eyEmnoheZjDg

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Gus-  It was nice speaking to you the other day. Sorry about the circumstances.

All boat/yacht insurance policies need an "occurrence" to happen in order for physical damage coverage to be triggered or the company will almost always go with coverage denial due to "wear & tear, gradual deterioration and/or manufacturer defect in design" especially in instances like yours based on the age of the boat. Your situation is not uncommon.

The #1's you stated in your post (survey) are of great importance to every used boat buyer. Spending $10-20k on a used boat and deciding not to get a pre-purchase survey is worth gambling for some people....that is, until something like this arises and the gambler wishes he would've surveyed the darn boat! I'm to the point now that I'm not even comfortable with insuring a used yacht that isn't surveyed. I'd rather that the buyer get their insurance thru Boat US or NBOA. 

As we discussed, a pre-purchase survey wouldn't necessarily make it so that Progressive would be covering your claim right now. And it's very possible that a surveyor wouldn't have found pre-existing damage. But it sure would give you and/or your attorney (Morgan & Morgan lol) something to work with as a baseline for the condition of the vessel before you purchased it. A clean survey accompanied by statements about the teeth chattering wake you hit prior to the leak being discovered would put you in a position for coverage negotiation IMO. (I've seen that happen several times with at least 50% success rate of overturning a coverage declination in circumstances like yours.) 

Destructive testing is protocol to determine the extent of damage; cameras can only show you so much. IMO it's worth fixing the hull, re-glassing the stringers then refitting the boat with new fuel tank, hoses, wiring, pumps, etc if you're going to pop the cap, cut the floor, etc. You already know that your hull design fits your needs perfectly so you may as well get 'er done then repower as needed in the future. If you do this then you should have a fine vessel to enjoy for many more years to come. Just make sure a reputable repairer does the work so you have piece of mind. 

All skiffs and bay boats are purpose built pieces of Kevlar and/or fiberglass joined together. There's nothing "heavy duty" about them. Hull cracks, stringer pops, floating floors, fuel tank ruptures, etc can happen to any of us regardless of vessel age! 

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Thanks Paul, and thanks for the great convo the other day.  We send our kids off to college for outrageous sums of money, so I am gonna chalk this experience up to "higher education."

Hopefully folks on here will benefit from my mistakes.  It is fair for the insurance company to require a cause, and sometimes, with boats, you dont always know the cause or recognize when it happened.  To your points, though, there are some steps you can take to prove that there was a specific cause, both to yourself and to the insurance company.  

 

1) Survey prior to purchase

2) photograph entire boat periodically, and the older the boat, the more important this probably is

3) Log incidents

4) Take leaks seriously.  

Mods, this may be worth shortening and making a sticky in the classifieds, titled, "should I get a survey"

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I would put one of the Kidde recalled fire extinguishers in it and set it on fire.

To be honest even a surveyor may not save you this grief. I had my 99 that i sold to a member here develop a stringer issue. He had the boat surveyed before he bought it. I had no idea and helped the guy that bought it get the repair handled. Some times problems just develop on older boats through wear and tear.

 

Good luck with it.

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I may be wrong but I do not think any of that would have made the insurance company pay up. It's really as simple as you bought a boat that did not have a hull breach. Now you do. Now I suppose you could liken it to a car who has a rusted out fender or a crashed finder. Obviously the rusty fender happend over time and the crashed finder could be identified as an accident. Even if the rusty fender was the one in the crash. I know it's stupid but if the boat would have sank or caught on fire the insurance prolly would have paid up.. Thereal  learning May be make sure you have a catistroohic incident before u call them. 

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6 hours ago, conocean said:

Gus-  It was nice speaking to you the other day. Sorry about the circumstances.

All boat/yacht insurance policies need an "occurrence" to happen in order for physical damage coverage to be triggered or the company will almost always go with coverage denial due to "wear & tear, gradual deterioration and/or manufacturer defect in design" especially in instances like yours based on the age of the boat. Your situation is not uncommon.

The #1's you stated in your post (survey) are of great importance to every used boat buyer. Spending $10-20k on a used boat and deciding not to get a pre-purchase survey is worth gambling for some people....that is, until something like this arises and the gambler wishes he would've surveyed the darn boat! I'm to the point now that I'm not even comfortable with insuring a used yacht that isn't surveyed. I'd rather that the buyer get their insurance thru Boat US or NBOA. 

As we discussed, a pre-purchase survey wouldn't necessarily make it so that Progressive would be covering your claim right now. And it's very possible that a surveyor wouldn't have found pre-existing damage. But it sure would give you and/or your attorney (Morgan & Morgan lol) something to work with as a baseline for the condition of the vessel before you purchased it. A clean survey accompanied by statements about the teeth chattering wake you hit prior to the leak being discovered would put you in a position for coverage negotiation IMO. (I've seen that happen several times with at least 50% success rate of overturning a coverage declination in circumstances like yours.) 

Destructive testing is protocol to determine the extent of damage; cameras can only show you so much. IMO it's worth fixing the hull, re-glassing the stringers then refitting the boat with new fuel tank, hoses, wiring, pumps, etc if you're going to pop the cap, cut the floor, etc. You already know that your hull design fits your needs perfectly so you may as well get 'er done then repower as needed in the future. If you do this then you should have a fine vessel to enjoy for many more years to come. Just make sure a reputable repairer does the work so you have piece of mind. 

All skiffs and bay boats are purpose built pieces of Kevlar and/or fiberglass joined together. There's nothing "heavy duty" about them. Hull cracks, stringer pops, floating floors, fuel tank ruptures, etc can happen to any of us regardless of vessel age! 

WELL SAID !

The game of used boats bites and sours many people......especially when you are new to the game.

 

dc

 

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Apology Post...

 

It's come to my attention that I was maybe being a bit rough on the OP...in some of my comments...

I throughly apologize if that was the case....I had nothing but good intent and a few of my stories of other experiences...

1.) this is my 4th MHP product- I started with a RF 2003 (new), a 2015 Pathfinder (new), a 1998 17t used and needed a full rebuild, a 1995 MA17, bought sight unseen pretty much..I've put out over $2500 in engine repair and other things, needs a new trailer, and maybe a new tank someday....but.....as you can see, my boats get older as my experience got better....as did my price points and limits for risk.

2.) The only points I was trying to make was - things happen when you have a boat or buy a used boat....without a warranty, you sometimes get sideways...it's happened to me as well years ago with a 1972 Roballo...for some, they loose interest in the hobby...for me, it was just $$$ out of pocket....and I continued...it's part of the game and I feel really bad for anyone who has had a bad experience in something that is supposed to bring fun to the day.....

.I hope, as Conocean said, you make the right decision for you, if my MA17 had a major problem...it would be simple...a rebuild....but, that's just me...enough said...

 

off the thread and once again, apologies to Whichways...if I came across as making fun or chastising you for a decision...never my intent.

DC

 

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Dino, no worries, we're all friends here.  And dont worry, I am so busy insulting my own intelligence that it is hard to notice when others join in.  

 

Yall suppose I could start a go fund me page for this, some kind of sob story about my first world problems?

  • Haha 1

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First off, it's very possible, absolutely probable that this damage occurred from the wake incident or who knows how else, post purchase. When you run boats, things happen, there seems to be an assumption that he missed obvious damage to the hull when he inspected it, I don't know Gus personally but from what I've seen him post I highly doubt that. He's merely stating that when dealing with insurance companies it's not always black and white.  Everyone's an expert

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