Survey & Photo requirements

Why Do I Need a Survey or Photos?

You’re purchasing a boat, or we’ve asked for a survey or photos with your policy or before we issue your policy. Why do I need a survey or photos? Marine Surveys have been a standard requirement in the boat insurance industry on older vessels (15-20 years and older), and we continue to recommend them if you are purchasing a boat. It may also be required.  Surveys provide boat buyers with peace of mind prior to purchase, identify potential safety and maintenance issues and can provide an up-to-date value of the vessel, which helps to determine if it’s over insured or under insured. And most importantly, the seaworthiness of the vessel.

When is a survey required?

Our insurance companies request surveys when your boat is:

  • Greater than 20 years of age, and
  • 30 ft LOA, and greater, or
  • $50,000 in value, and greater;
  • Or maintaining Agreed Value Coverage from 15 years of age;
  • Or Sea-Doo jet boats 

All collector & antique boats with Gallagher Skippers’ Plan will require a survey regardless of age.

A marine survey can be requested by an insurance company’s underwriting at any time. If the marine survey or valuation report is deemed unacceptable, they reserve the right to decline the risk / cancel the policy.

The underwriter is requesting a marine survey with my renewal, when will it be due?

A survey request is sent out one year prior to its due date. If your documents note that a survey is being requested, then you will have until the following year’s renewal date to have it done. Surveys are usually performed prior to launch or right after haul out as they must be performed while out of the water, and so we suggest scheduling your survey to be performed during one of those times within the next year.

How long is a survey valid?

Surveys are valid for two (2) years for new policies, and for our existing clients and their renewals, Surveys will be requested every five (5) years from the last survey date.

I have a survey on file with Skippers’ Plan, and my documents say that the next survey required will be in the year 20XX. What does this mean?

It means that the survey will be requested on that year’s renewal date and you will have one year to have the survey performed after being provided notice. For instance, if it says “Next Survey Required: 2024”, this means a survey will be requested on your 2027 renewal date, and you will have until the 2025 renewal date to have the report submitted to for review.

What is done during a marine survey?

A marine survey is a detailed inspection of your boat’s exterior, rigging, interior, safety equipment, electronics, and mechanical components. As the surveyor inspects the boat, they’ll note any potential issues and present you with documentation that lists the current condition and seaworthiness of the vessel, as well as a value estimate. The surveyor will include many photos with their report. If a value estimate is provided, the value is not utilized by most insurance companies. (The insurable interest, the amount you purchased your vessel for plus tenders, accessories, improvements and betterments plus tax, is the value the insurance companies allow you and us to insure your vessel for).

What if the surveyor notes any potential issues?

Your surveyor will note its importance to seaworthiness and safety. The insurer will require the urgent and non-urgent items to be addressed in a timely manner. Some issues may affect your insurability.  Your broker would reach out to you regarding these issues to discuss them further with you once the survey report has been reviewed with the underwriter.

How much does a marine survey cost?

The cost of a boat survey for insurance is usually charged by the size of the boat, typically per foot. You can generally expect to pay around $20 per foot or more. In addition to vessel length, boat survey costs may be affected by the age of the boat, its construction type and location.

Who pays for a marine survey?

Usually, the prospective policyholder of the vessel pays for the survey. An insurance company won’t pay for a survey needed to satisfy their requirements.

If you’re looking to buy a boat and want to survey it before you get it, you may be able to work something out with the current owner to have them cover some of the costs. But, generally, you should expect to foot the bill for any insurance surveys you need.

The cost of a haul-out isn’t generally included in a survey price, either, but you’ll likely need to pay for that, too, if it’s not already out of the water. This is another reason to know what your insurer expects before having the survey done. If you find out you’ll need to haul your boat for an inspection, you’ll need to organize it with the marina ahead of time. Most boat owners tend to schedule surveys prior to their Spring launch or right after their Autumn haul out, so be sure to schedule surveyors ahead of time as they are the most busy during those times of year.

How do I find a marine surveyor?

To find a boat surveyor near you, a good place to look is the American Boat & Yacht Council whose members have received their training, however we recommend an accredited member of either the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors or International Association of Marine Surveyors. They have databases by country, province and state, and you’ll be able to find one close by. Surveyors will often travel to survey a boat.

Can I submit photos in lieu of a survey?

Photos are an alternative to a survey when your boat is on an Actual Cash Value coverage form and:

  • Greater than 15 years old, and
  • Less than 30 ft LOA, and
  • Less than $50,000 in value, and
  • not a Sea-Doo jet boat

Does my boat need to be out of the water for a survey and photos?

Our insurance companies do require out-of-water surveys and photos. For Marine surveys, a surveyor will measure the moisture on your hull and deck. In order to have accurate moisture readings or soundings, they may recommend that your boat to be out of the water for seven (7) days or more.

Some surveyors will suggest to you to do a portion of the survey in the water, and an out of water portion on a different date. This is not an issue and is acceptable so long as the out of water portion is still extensive to cover all the related items of interest (for instance, moisture readings can’t be done in water and would still have to be included in the out of water portion). Please note that, if doing a survey in water and out of water, the full survey is required prior to the deadline to meet the requirement. Submitting only the in water portion of the survey and asking for an extension to do the out of water portion may not be granted.

What Photos are required in lieu of a survey?

Photos of all exterior sides of the boat, the interior, the engine or engine compartment(s), electrical system(s), electronics, Hull Identification Number (HIN) and or Serial Number of the hull.

Still want to learn more – Discover boating has a great article here.

When it is time to go boating the crew at Gallagher Skippers Plan are ready for you.   For a no obligation quote click on Get a Quote or call us at 800-661-7211.