One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, "Can I get an insurance discount with your system?" The short answer is that it varies, but in most cases Siren Marine customers are eligible for discounts anywhere from 4% to 10%. We are actively in contact with insurance companies in an effort to expand the number of providers that offer discounts for remote monitoring systems, and help them better understand the risk mitigation a boat monitor provides.
Each year, thousands of insurance claims are made for items stolen from boats and for boats that have sunk or been damaged, that could have been easily avoided with the installation of a boat monitoring system. The Q&A below provides answers to questions that insurance companies most frequently ask about boat monitoring systems.
Why should boats have a monitor or security device?
- Monitor critical systems: A basic boat monitor will keep watch on a boat's critical systems, 24/7: Bilge, Battery, Position and Security.
- Low or dead battery alert: A dead battery is at the heart of a significant number of major insurance claims. A dead battery will not allow a boat to be started, or the bilge pump and other vital systems to be operated in the event of an emergency.
- Prevent boats from damage and sinking: A bilge alarm alerts the owner that a boat is leaking. A flooding bilge causes major structural damage, frequently resulting in a total loss.
- Position Alert: Knowledge of a boat's position alerts an owner to a dragging anchor – potential for all manner of damage or total loss. Knowledge of a stolen boat allows for rapid intervention and recovery. Knowledge of a charter boat in a "no-go zone" allows the charter company to mitigate claims due to charter agreement breach.
- Security: With expensive electronics now common on the average 25' boat, and with boat-related theft on the rise, security is becoming a primary concern. A quality boat monitoring system will alert the owner and the authorities to a potential theft, or trigger alarm systems to prevent theft in the first place.
- It will become the standard: Just as electronic door locks and basic security systems are now standard on new cars, the dawn of boat monitoring is here, and it is here to stay. A boat monitoring system provides boat owners with peace of mind, maximizing the value of time on the water.
What size boat should have a monitor?
- With reliable monitors now available for around $500, any boat with an outboard motor and permanent battery will benefit from a monitor, at an affordable price tag. Small boats are as susceptible to theft, sinking and dead batteries as larger boats, if not more so. No one wants to arrive at their boat for a fun day on the water with friends to find a dead battery or flooded boat. Or worse, no boat at all…
- Many mid-sized boats are left unattended on moorings or docks for weeks at a time. According to the USCG, 80% of all sinkings happen where the boat is permanently moored or docked. Any boat of any size left untended should have a monitor.
- As boats increase in size and complexity, the value of having a monitor goes up exponentially. Larger boats are plugged into shore power and are frequently left for days or weeks at a time with systems running. A boat monitor will alert the owner and marina operator about a loss of power, avoiding a refrigerator full of spoiled food or a bait locker with 100 pounds of rotten fish.
What type of carrier: Satellite, Wi-Fi or Cellular?
Understanding the mission of a monitoring device is critical to determining the best method of communication to use. To provide maximum benefit to the consumer and the insurance underwriter alike, the system needs to be reliable, affordable, operate around the clock, and work internationally. Options include Satellite, Wi-Fi and Cellular.
- Satellite – Commonly misunderstood as the communication standard of choice, the benefit of satellite is that it works in remote regions and far offshore where other systems do not reach. Unfortunately, that is the sole benefit. Satellite uses significantly higher battery consumption, has much higher communications costs, lacks basic monitoring functionality, and is only optimal for far-reach applications.
- Wi-Fi – The connectivity of Wi-Fi is simply not stable enough for a security device. Also, if a boat is stolen, as soon as it leaves the Wi-Fi range, all monitoring and tracking ceases. Logging into a router presents hardware challenges, with router lockup being a constant issue. If the router goes down, is unplugged by mistake, or if a shore power breaker trips, all goes dark. Wi-Fi is simply not an option.
Cellular – The only true option:
- GSM cellular connectivity is a true global standard.
- GSM cellular devices roam seamlessly, with excellent coastal coverage in nearly every populated port and coastline on the planet.
- Cellular technology is extremely stable.
- Cellular modules are affordable and draw very little power. If a boat with a GSM based system is stolen, the theft event will be captured and communicated, tracking the vessel up to 30 miles offshore. International jurisdiction limits offshore recovery. When the boat resurfaces in a foreign port, GSM cellular connectivity resumes and the vessel can be located and recovered. GSM is the ultimate solution.
How can boat monitoring systems mitigate insurance payouts?
- A small hidden or integrated monitor system will alert owners to theft, potentially damaging or catastrophic events, and aid in the rapid recovery of stolen property.
- Modern marine monitors draw very little amperage, allowing them to be installed on smaller vessels (25-40'). These small open boats are generally the most at risk and represent the largest category of boats by a significant factor. They generally receive the most use, are large investments relative to the net worth of their owners, and are a source of continual claims for insurance underwriters. A decrease in small boat incidents, sinkings and theft is a direct increase in profitability for insurance underwriters.
- Small cellular-based monitor devices can be installed in difficult-to-access "secure" sections of the boat, making them difficult to locate and destroy or take offline.
- Remote monitoring systems are here to stay.
- Any marine asset with a battery and motor left unattended merits a monitor.
- The cost of a boat monitor is now within reach of the average boater.
- GSM cellular connectivity is the only valid communication technology.
- As boat monitors proliferate, insurance underwriters will enjoy fewer claims and increased profits.
It is our mission to create a world in which all boats are equipped with a remote monitoring device. We envision a marine environment in which costs are mitigated for both customers and insurance providers alike. For more information on how Siren Marine systems can help reduce insurance claims and damage to property, please contact [email protected] or visit our website at www.sirenmarine.com.