Insurance Companies and Towing / Emergency Services
OK, so you have insurance on your boat. Good. Your agent
says you have $XXX worth of towing or sometimes called “emergency assistance coverage” added to the policy
for free or for a nominal fee! Great! That means you won’t have to pay that towboat company membership any
more for free towing coverage, right?
Well…. let me give you some insight first from another
perspective to help you make your decision.
MARINE ASSIST is a local company. It is
not some huge national conglomerate that pulls in billions of dollars from millions of customers to provide
payment assistance to pay you back for invoices from service providers you owe for covered services, or to
replace damaged goods that may be covered. We are an actual service provider. What we sell is basically a
service contract. It may sound the same, but it is not.
When you purchase a MARINE ASSIST membership, you are buying a plan that covers you when
you are boating and need assistance due to a mechanical breakdown on the water. What you are also doing is
supporting a local company that is ACTUALLY PROVIDING THE SERVICE you are
expecting to receive. Your membership dollars go into the pool that supports day to day operations and ensure
we can remain ever ready to serve you and others on the lake 24/7 throughout the season. Both of these are a
direct benefit to you, the boater.
An insurance company collects your premium and tells you there is reimbursement
coverage for towing. This may seem like a boater benefit on the surface, but if you really look into it a
little, is it? What they don’t tell you (and what many may not think of is:
1) Insurance companies do not own towboats. They are not in the service
2) Most insurance companies do not dispatch towboats for you when in need. You are in
“self help” mode.
3) Insurance companies usually have a “cap” on what they will
4) Insurance companies will only reimburse if you have an invoice from a professional
5) Insurance companies will not pay the towing company directly. You pay and they pay
6) Insurance companies may consider a tow claim "ratable" when renewing your policy
and raise your rate.
7) Insurance companies may take as long as 30 days or more to pay you back, if deemed
a covered loss.
8) Insurance companies do not all have tow coverage on their
9) Insurance companies may allow you to drop their tow coverage for a decrease in
10) Insurance companies are banking on the fact the average boater will call for a tow, get a
price, think about getting reimbursed and filing a claim and then wait for a good samaritan to tow them for
free instead. This means the insurance company collected the added premium for the tow coverage, but paid
nothing out. A win-win for them.
When the choice comes down to whether to buy a MARINE ASSIST policy or to fall back on your insurance policy,
remember this; if there is not enough support for the actual service provider company to survive, there will
simply be no one to pay to tow you when you need it. Regardless of whether you have insurance coverage or not
and regardless the time of day or night and who else may or may not be around, without support there may not
Many of the above statements hold true when comparing a MARINE ASSIST membership to a TowBoatUS or SeaTow
membership as well. Neither of those companies offer service on these lakes. Buying into either of their
programs does nothing to support the company that is here actually providing the service.
Support the company that is here 24/7 for your benefit. We are here for
And, here is another benefit. If you have any questions, pull up to my towboat on the
water, stop me on the dock or give me a call with any question you may have about our program and how it
compares. Try talking to the owner of any of the other companies listed and see where it
Captain Don Hunter