While I generally do not receive many questions via email, I do get asked quite a few things during each day that I would like to share. I would like to take a few minutes to clear up a few things and to explain about Towing Memberships vs. Hull Insurance. The short answer is you need BOTH! For purposes of this article I will compare TowBoat US Unlimited Membership vs. Full Coverage Hull Insurance. Hull insurances, just like towing memberships, come with a varying selection of coverage. Some basic hull insurances offer limited towing coverage also. Ask questions; read your policy(s); check all the fine print; know what you do and do not have.
Q – My boat is on a mooring, (in a slip; tied to a private dock; at the ramp) and I need it moved. I live in Raleigh. Can you Move my boat?
A – Of course we can move your boat – HOWEVER – this is not a covered incident under your TowBoat US Membership UNLESS you are an unlimited GOLD Member. The reason for this is that Towing membership covers Emergency Towing. If you were to breakdown on your way back, (or even on your way out) to our mooring, slip, dock or ramp, then you would definitely be covered. Check your hull insurance policy to see if your policy covers any dock-to-dock or non-emergency towing.
Q – My boat was sitting on the beach and the tide fell away? Is this a soft ungrounding? A – Yes. You are covered because your boat is potentially in peril of further damage. However, if your boat ended up beached because of a rouge wave or incident involved while piloting the boat, then that would need further observation. Which leads to my next question……
Q – My boat is _________, (YOU fill in the blank). Can you tell me how much it would cost to _______________?
A – Oh no no no! I have learned that sometimes a caller might say their boat is sinking when actually it is SUNK! Other times they may say that all they need is a tow and their boat is sitting on a rock jetty! I can only suggest that we get a captain on scene to see what we are dealing with.
And now for some actual situations……..
Caller – “If I buy a membership with you on the phone right now, can I use it for you guys to come get me today?”
A – I generally have to bite my tongue because I really want to say something like, “why in the world would you leave your dock without insurance and a TowBoat US Membership???” But the short answer is “no.” Membership goes into effect as of midnight of the day you sign up. Which ultimately leads to the next question…..
Caller – “So if I sign up today can you come and get me at midnight?”
A – “Again, no. Unfortunately towing membership does not cover any pre-existing conditions with your boat. Just like you would not be able to buy health insurance after your doctor said you needed to be hospitalized.”
Caller – “I bought a Lake Membership and your competition told me that it only covers the first $58.00 of the tow.”
A – This is soooo untrue. The truth is that the competition charges DOUBLE what we do for the same coverage. A TowBoatUS Unlimited Lake membership costs $58.00 per year and covers your recreational boat for any amount of per incident towing, soft ungrounding, and fuel delivery and jump starts away from your home dock on any inland lake or river.
Here is a link for even more TowBoat US FAQ. http://www.boatus.com/towing/faq.asp And you can always call us here for any questions about towing, ungrounding, salvage, dewatering, and especially TowBoat US Membership! 252-728-5088