Moving Next Month: Insurance/Utilities/Random Questions
Hello! My husband and I are moving next month to the island of STJ. We have a temp. rental booked and will be in search of a long term rental once on the island. Although we have most everything else in order to go, I do have some questions/concerns that hopefully you all can help me out with.
We are in the process of shipping our Jeep. We have scheduled with Blue Ocean Transport to get it to St Thomas, and have started speaking with a broker to get the vehicle registered and plated, etc. The broker we spoke with was pretty short on the phone. Does anyone have anyone they've worked with that they recommend... or some to definitely avoid? Blue Ocean said we could have the Jeep waiting for us at the airport and drive it to the car barge.
We were told they need our insurance info for the broker to start the process, so we will be calling around for quotes this week. Many people recommended USAA, but we do not qualify for that (no military in the family). I was going to contact St John Insurance and Guardian... any others you recommend?
So, WAPA. Realistically for 2 people in a small apartment- 1 bedroom or studio hopefully, what am I looking at? Wasn't planning on having AC, but don't want to be shocked when that first electric/water bill comes. I have looked up average costs online but see a huge differences in numbers. I know it depends on the person though- just wanting a realistic estimate.
Lastly, this might sound goofy, but wardrobe. Hoodies? Jeans? Should I even bother or will I want them more than I realize? Any other small household items or anything for that matter that you WISH you brought with you, or are glad you did?? Or that you brought and didn't need?
Thanks for any advice or tips. We are moving with just our suitcases (and our Jeep). We have been planning for almost a year and I can't believe we leave next month!
I have found that Daniel of Beep Business services is a wonderful person to deal with on car importing - very exacting but easy to work with. He gets it done right and on time for me.
Blue Ocean does sound like they will get the job done - I have no experience with them.
Wapa is going to be what it is -- before you commit to a longer term rental you can always ask to see the past bills for a realistic idea. Also ask about recent water bills or historical purchases.
jeans/yes - hoodies/I own a waterproof foul weather one - household items/ if you love to cook, your favorite chefs knife -- NOT in carry on though!!
Perhaps the lady at Beep that you spoke to sounded 'short' if she was just answering a typical questioning phone call with the brief answer that you need Insurance to start this process - follow up on it and if you don't feel comfortable or feeling good customer service get insurance and continue elsewhere.
A nice "Good Morning, how are you today?" is the expected and polite greeting here and will smooth things in a very different way often.
You can add Theodore Tunick and PGU Insurance to your list for a quote. I've always used St John Insurance; when I got quotes years ago they were all pretty comparable. Understand what will and won't be covered very clearly, as the options may be different from what you are used to in the states.
WAPA for two people in an average one-bedroom on STJ will likely be $100-$150/month, depending on a lot of factors. If you use AC it will definitely be higher.
Wardrobe - definitely pack some fall/winter clothes. I didn't bring jeans when I first arrived, and on "chilly" days I wanted them. You might not feel cold during your first tropical storm/hurricane or winter season, but you likely will if you stick around for long.
Best of luck with the move!
IMO, sweaters, long pants, jeans, rain gear are a must.
If you're traveling back to the states or living at a higher altitude they'll come in handy.
There are times, especially in the winter months, it can get chilly and you'll find socks and blankets/comforters, etc., will be appreciated.
Heck, you'll need a sweater just to sit thru a movie.
Oh, you'll be on STJ.
No movie theater, there.
$100 -$150 is not unreasonable to expect to pay WAPA.
It is completely dependent on your usage.
If you have a rental in a breezy location, you'll rarely need to use AC but it's good to have for sweltering summer months. Of course, if you run 24/7 then you'll probably be bankrupt fairly quickly!
You can find notices and ads for rentals at Connections in Cruz Bay, just up the street from the passenger ferry dock. You can also contact a Realtor, see what the local Tradewinds newspaper has to offer.
Realtors don't change to show their rental listings.
You can also contact Marlene or Bob at Star Villas to see if they have any availability. They have both long and short term vacation rentals.
Most of the people I know on St. John use either St. John Insurance or PGU (that is who I use). Rates are comparable and customer service has been good at both as well in my experience. You can't get insurance on the car without it being here so you will need to get the Bill of Lading from Blue Ocean to get your insurance. Getting insurance is a step in the process that a logistics service can't do for you.... but they can probably help you get the BOL if you need help with that. I've used International Logistics before, Meme St. John. But I'm not sure if she deals with Blue Ocean or just Crowley exclusively. She has an ad on this site.
I agree with everyone, bring some jeans and hoodies. Best to have them on rainy days or in the winter months in the evenings.
Bring any special 'kitchen' items if you like to cook. I would also say bring linens. Unless you know exactly what you are ordering online, it can be hit or miss as far as quality once it arrives. I also say don't bring a lot of books or pictures especially since you aren't planing on being somewhere with AC. You have to store them carefully or they get ruined in this climate.
There is a management company that does long term rental if you haven't tried them yet. Scenic Properties 340-693-7777. But the board at Connections will have the most options for sure. Scenic regularly posts their openings on the board as well.
Edw94, thx for your post, your questions were good practical ones most of us are wondering about in considering a move, and thx again to all living there who provided the great firsthand insight. Just out of curiosity, mind sharing roughly what they quoted you for shipping the jeep, as I am gonna be shipping a Kia Sorento from here in Michigan?
Thanks for all the info Julie! Very helpful. I am thinking I will set up camp at Connections our first week there... haha 😉 I will follow up and post on this thread and let everyone know which insurance we went with/who seems to have the best rates/service.
Yes I will bring some kitchen utensils. We are hoping to find a furnished apartment- do you know if those typically include any kitchen utensils/plates?
Several people have recommended I check Scenic Properties and Star Villas. I will definitely be contacting them once on the island. Thanks again!
Wolverine888 Thanks!! I was quoted approximately $3,100. That includes Blue Ocean picking up my Jeep from my apartment in Indianapolis, IN, getting it to the port in FL, broker fees to get it plated/inspected (they referred me to a broker, blue ocean doesn't do this part) and having it ready at STT airport when we land. It's based on size/weight though.
I can follow up once we are there and let you know if the quote was accurate and how smoothly getting the Jeep there went. We fly in June 20th and they are picking up our Jeep at the end of this month to ensure it gets there on time for us.
Supposedly we won't get charged for whatever amount of time the jeep sits between when they get it there and when we fly in. They wanted to pick it up sooner than later in case due to weather they couldn't put it on a ship right away. According to what they told us, they have one ship that goes to STT per week.
Heads up, vehicle must have a quarter tank of gas or less, and nothing other than your jack can be inside the vehicle. We were kind of hoping we could stuff it with boxes, even for a fee, lol. Not the case.
A bit of background-I'm on STT, and live alone. Don't use AC, as I'm on Crown Mountain, and the breeze cools everything down.
My WAPA ranges from $90-110 a month.
I store all dry food goods in plastic bins and sprinkle bay leaves in. Keeps the weevils out, and works great. So I wish I'd brought more food storage rubbermaid containters, ziplocs, and bay leaves with me. I also have my friends save me all those little silica packets that come in things, and just place them in drawers to help keep the mold at bay.
I agree with some jeans, hoodie, sneakers. Don't need them much, but have occasionally. Don't need a lot of them, but a few favorites come in handy. Most days I wear shorts, short sleeve shirt and sandles.
I love my books, and brought too many with me. Don't make my mistake. Same with paper items, such as pictures.
Check the noise level at your potential apartment before you sign a lease. At night there is a raging pack of dogs here that is totally out of control. Owner does nothing about it. I love dogs, but this is insane. Had to start wearing earplugs at night to block them out. Next time I move, I plan to stake out the area at night and see what sounds there are. I love the roosters and the coquis. But the howling dogs-ugh!
Good luck and welcome to the VI.