Insurance Implications for Aquarists

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by R2R Articles, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. R2R Articles

    R2R Articles New Member Staff Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor Article Administrator

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    Insurance Implications for Aquarists

    A large aquarium
    [​IMG]
    Photo from the Reef2Reef archives courtesy of Tusi, ©2018, All Rights Reserved

    When you’re setting up a new tank, aquarium liability is probably the last thing on your mind. And no one is going to force you to get a specialty policy to cover your aquatic wonderland. But here’s the thing, accidents happen. An appropriate insurance policy may be your golden ticket should a time come when you need it.

    To determine what sort of coverage you may need, here are some questions to ask yourself:

    · If your aquarium breaks, who’s responsible for replacing it?

    · If your aquarium leaks into your downstairs neighbour’s home, who pays for the damage?

    · If someone breaks into your home and steals or breaks some of your gear, are you covered?

    Cracked tank.
    [​IMG]
    Photo from the Reef2Reef archives courtesy of Ori, ©2018, All Rights Reserved

    While every insurance policy is different, and different companies cover different things, a lot of insurance claims come down to cause. What caused the water escape? What caused the tank to leak? If damage was caused by something your insurance policy covers, then it will cover your aquarium. If it was caused by something not covered by your policy then it won’t.

    If you carry homeowner, content, or renter insurance, there’s a good chance your current insurance policy covers damage caused by a broken aquarium or water spill. However, this often won’t cover the tank itself or the life inside it. Check your policy and see what it covers and what it doesn’t.

    The smartest thing you can do is read your policy. If you’re not clear on what it does or doesn’t cover, call your insurance broker and ask specific questions. Ask about what’s included but also pay attention to what’s excluded in your policy.

    One policy exclusion to watch for is anything mentioning pets or aquariums. If this is in your policy then it could mean damage caused by a broken aquarium may not be covered so make sure to double check the details.

    Once you’ve checked your existing insurance policy, your next step is to decide if this is good enough or if you want or need additional coverage. Some people are satisfied with basic insurance and are willing to cover the extra costs out-of-pocket should something happen.

    There are a few helpful Reef2Reef forum discussions on this topic with great advice from the community:

    · Insurance for Aquarium Equipment, Fish, or Coral

    · Aquarium insurance

    · Whose insurance company covers water damage?

    · Renters Insurance

    · Has anyone reinforced their floors?

    For those who’d like extra coverage (something more specific than basic coverage), it’s best to research different insurance companies and learn about the different types of specialty insurance available. Every provider is different so you will have to do some emailing and calling around. Some will have policies available for hobbyists, some will customize packages to suit your needs, and some will offer a rider covering your aquarium. It all depends on what your insurance needs are and how much you’re willing to spend on a policy.

    There are specialty insurance policies available for any number of unique things although not every insurance company will take on the risk. The most famous example of this is from the 1940s where a movie studio took out a $1 million policy on actress Betty Grable’s legs. So don’t worry about how random your insurance request is—chances are they’ve heard (and insured) it all--and it's likely you can find insurance if you're willing to pay the cost.

    If you’re not sure what questions to ask when researching insurance coverage, here are a few to get you started.

    · Does an aquarium count as “pets”?

    · Are there rules about tank placement and weight distribution in this policy?

    · Does the size of my aquarium matter? Can it be any size?

    · Does my landlord need to approve my aquarium?

    · Will this policy cover my exotic fish?

    Interior water damage, exaggerated.
    [​IMG]
    Photo is a royalty-free image from Pixabay.

    Additional resources:

    · Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pet Damage?

    · What Kind Of Aquarium Insurance Policy Do You Need?

    · Does my insurance cover damage caused by my aquarium?

    · If I have a large aquarium, will my renter’s insurance be cancelled?

    · Fish tank insurance.

    · What kind of fish tank insurance do I need?

    · Fish insurance


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We encourage all our readers to join the Reef2Reef forum. It’s easy to register, free, and reefkeeping is much easier and more fun in a community of fellow aquarists. We pride ourselves on a warm and family-friendly forum where everyone is welcome. You will also find lots of contests and giveaways with our sponsors.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    About the author: Robyn Roste


    With more than 10 years of experience in writing, marketing, and audio editing, Robyn Roste’s experience combines new media, broadcast media, journalism, public relations, and social media. She has a Bachelor of Journalism and loves learning new things and helping people understand complex subjects. Robyn recently won a prize from the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and was shortlisted for a Literary Arts Award in British Columbia.

    Now living in British Columbia, Canada’s beautiful Fraser Valley, Robyn enjoys rural living even if it means running into the occasional wild animal. When there’s spare time, Robyn and her husband travel to places where they can snorkel and see the fish from The Blue Planet for themselves.
     
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  2. cromag27

    cromag27 octoaquatics.com - acrylic & anemone god R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Toys For Kids Sponsor 2018 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    i’m a licensed insurance agent and i can guarantee you one thing - insurance companies evaluate risk on a case by case basis if a claim is filed. insurance companies will pay as little money as they can and they will utilize loopholes to their advantage. regardless of what you’re told or what you see in writing, you’re at the mercy of the claims investigators. they make the final decision and you most likely will not be 100% satisfied with the results. this subject is way too broad for a beneficial article.
     
  3. Seawitch

    Seawitch Water, water everywhere, Staff Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Article Administrator

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    Well, I think you're right about insurance companies always trying to pay as little as possible, which is why I've always found it useful to have a close relationship with your broker.
     
  4. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I agree with CroMag - its an interesting reminder to check with your agent. That said - If you pay a small amount for home owners insurance from a 'cheap' company - you will likely have more problems than if you use a good agent and broker - and disclose all of the issues when you sign up for the policy. Example - was a severe hail storm. Our insurance covered a new roof 3 new skylights. Neighbors 200 feet away said 'no damage'. Neighbors 300 feet away covered entire roof. Neighbors 100 feet away - not covered. You get what you pay for.
     
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  5. Geebs19

    Geebs19 Give me all the Euphyllia R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    I disagree with this, your broker cant do anything when it comes to how the claims department handles your claim once your policy is setup. They only thing they can do at that point is relay information and provide customer service. Ive been an insurance adjuster for quite sometime. I also disagree with the statement that they are going to pay out as little as possible. That is also no true and everyone tends to believe it. Policies are setup so that you are being reimbursed for the value of the item at the time of the loss as long as it is covered under your policy. There are many many factors that come into play there, im speaking more in terms of your home and auto, I dont do casualty or anything on that side so im not sure how that works in regards to factoring payouts but I know its not just oh here is our bottom dollar and thats all we are going to give you.
     
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  6. cromag27

    cromag27 octoaquatics.com - acrylic & anemone god R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Toys For Kids Sponsor 2018 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    it is a good idea to have a relationship with your broker/agent but again, they don’t handle claims. their job is to sell you insurance and make money.

    also fyi, you pay extra fees and commissions when dealing with a local agent vs direct.
     
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  7. Geebs19

    Geebs19 Give me all the Euphyllia R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    From experience I would prefer a local agent who is usually more informed on the policies and what they are selling then calling into a 1800 line. The agent should tell you what’s best for you while and 800 line isn’t going to be as helpful.
     
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  8. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I think you're right - I have never felt any insurance company tried to minimize losses. instead - they wanted to make sure that the losses occurred. That said - There are companies out there that charge an extremely low premium - in the hope that they dont have claims - and they deny claims. IMHO. I dont know if its the majority or the minority - but its certainly out there. I think you get what you pay for.
     
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  9. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    The other thing - never 'talk to you agent'. If there is a question - I always email the agent - like - is my aquarium covered if it breaks - when he answers I have something in writing. Otherwise things can be misconstrued.
     
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  10. cromag27

    cromag27 octoaquatics.com - acrylic & anemone god R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Toys For Kids Sponsor 2018 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    not always. direct agents are more trained on the coverages they sell. i work for a big company direct and i can’t tell you how many customers were given false information from a local agent. it can go both ways, but odds are always in favor of direct when it comes to accurate info. and when i tell them how much money they could have saved if they bought from us direct, they usually aren’t too happy. always caveats though.
     
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  11. cromag27

    cromag27 octoaquatics.com - acrylic & anemone god R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Toys For Kids Sponsor 2018 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    having it in “writing” from an agent means little to claims investigators. that’s not a battle customers want to be in. trust me.
     
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  12. Seawitch

    Seawitch Water, water everywhere, Staff Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Article Administrator

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    That's interesting. We've stayed with the same broker for 20+ years because we've felt like he had an influence on claims (and we never had a problem getting claims paid). Maybe we've been wrong?
     
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  13. cromag27

    cromag27 octoaquatics.com - acrylic & anemone god R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Toys For Kids Sponsor 2018 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    not necessarily. i’m speaking in very broad terms.
     
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  14. cromag27

    cromag27 octoaquatics.com - acrylic & anemone god R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Toys For Kids Sponsor 2018 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    428BC3B0-2D0B-4269-8CF2-925C2AC47B8E.jpeg

    this is how some of my calls go. no joke.
     
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  15. Daniel Waters

    Daniel Waters Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award ETRC Member

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    The benefit of having something in writing is that you could file a claim against the individual broker if they gave you incorrect information (but that has its own hassles also). Almost all insurance agents carry errors & omissions insurance for instances such as this. As a general rule, I practice "trust but verify" I try to double check anything someone tells me by verifying it straight from the source (i.e. read the actual policy provision). If I can't verify at the original source, I try to confirm from other sources or multiple parties. Don't just assume your doctor, lawyer, accountant, agent, mechanic or whoever is 100% correct all the time. Healthy skepticism may save you some $$$ or your life one day.
     
  16. cromag27

    cromag27 octoaquatics.com - acrylic & anemone god R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Toys For Kids Sponsor 2018 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    yes, you can file a complaint with the state’s department of insurance. but like i said, not a battle you want to be in.
     
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  17. Geebs19

    Geebs19 Give me all the Euphyllia R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    I work now as a fire theft and vandalism investigator. The stuff I hear on a daily basis! I could write a book at this point haha.
     
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  18. chefjpaul

    chefjpaul Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor

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    I've had to file 2 claims involving my tanks.
    Both times, the insurance company, (one of the biggest, if not the biggest), paid out the claims without issue to my downstairs neighbor.

    They only will cover dammage as a direct result of my negligence, not the tank or any equipment involved. They wouldn't pay if a tank burst or a controller malfunction etc...

    I basically had to either take blame or fabricate the story a bit regarding what happened to let the flood fall my mistakes, not physical property malfunctions.

    But if my refrigerator exploded and did damage, it would be covered. Crazy.
     
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  19. saf1

    saf1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter

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    I can't speak for most of this but will just say how I go about it. I don't use a broker, I use an agent. I also asked what is, is not covered, up to how much, and once that is done start asking about extra things that may or may not be covered such as:

    Fish tanks
    Dogs
    Specific dog breeds

    You get the idea. Same with life insurance. Under what conditions, time of war, hobbies, scuba diving, etc. Then get it in writing. This way it is all clearly laid out and I know what I'm paying for and what they will cover. Then I do a review about every two years which includes a video capture / walk around of my house, garage, and some important items. That then gets backed up and also put in a safety deposit box (yes, old school).

    What I agree with here is the part about money. When money is involved it is always best to have your six covered.
     
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  20. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Exactly..... That was the point
     
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