I’m at that point during the year where safe ice is sparse and open water is a few weeks away. Fortunately, I am getting a new boat and will take this time to rig it properly—that should keep me busy for a while.
In the last few years I have heard horror stories from friends of friends with boat insurance. Most claim to not have had the coverage they thought they did and not getting even relatively close to what they owe when a claim takes place. As a guide, I found out many years ago that many policies limit the number of trips you can run.
Fortunately, I ran into Bob Luellen several years ago at a walleye tournament and I now have the coverage I thought I had years ago. Bob owns Worldwide Marine Insurance and is the largest boat insurer in the US. He specializes in boat insurance for large boats, hardcore fisherman and guides or tournament anglers. According to him 3 keys will help you be more informed and not unhappy in the unfortunate situation you have to file a claim.
- Agreed Value—Most policies do not have this and it’s a must. Anglers tend to finance boat longer than five years and they aren’t worth what you owe on them if you are to have a claim before your boat is paid off.
- Specialized Program—Bob’s key is to offer specialized plains to cover what serious anglers need. His high volume of clients allows him to tailor these plains with the insurance companies. Bundling auto and home often works great and can provide some great discounts, but rarely can you get the coverage you need regardless of price.
- Knowledge—In the advent of a claim having someone speaking as a middle man to the adjusters that actually knows the difference between an outboard or stern drive is key. Uninformed people can’t help fight for you.
As you redo your boat policy or add a new boat, make sure your coverage is what you think it is and your agent knows about boating. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant to buy a car, the same is true for boat insurance coverage.
Capt. Ross Robertson