Off-road driver? Here's the impact on your insurance

June 12, 2015

off_roading2Do you have an old pickup truck that you like to drive through the woods? How about a Jeep Wrangler? No matter your vehicle of choice, many drivers today want to enjoy both the paved city streets as well as the mud and dirt off-road paths in their area.

While off-roading can be a popular, enjoyable activity, it is one that is often frowned upon by your insurance provider. This means you could be at risk if you get into accident, suffer bodily injury or another standard, claim-worthy incident while off-roading.

So then, what can happen if you are off-roading and need to file a claim? Here is what you should know:

Not all policies offer coverage

“Read the fine print in your insurance policy.”

The first thing you should know is that very few insurance policies include coverage for off-road driving. This means if you take your road-legal, insured street vehicle off the beaten path, you will be driving uninsured. Every claim you file will be denied.

However, some policies do provide limited coverage at no extra cost. These are few and far between, though. Before you drive off-road, make sure you read the fine print. You are only covered if it is expressly written into the plan itself. If not, you may want to compare car insurance policies and find one that has the coverage you need.

Furthermore, a provider that doesn’t offer off-roading insurance may also be more likely to drop you altogether if you are caught driving on dirt and mud tracks. You could end up having your insurance canceled or be dropped during the renewal phase of your coverage. Know your coverage, know your rights and don’t drive off-road without first making sure you’re protected.

Find your own policy

While many standard insurance plans don’t include off-road coverage, there are plenty of insurance agencies that have plans specifically for this purpose. With that said, you may want to shop around for additional coverage for your off-road vehicle.

If you want to go this route, keep in mind that you’ll want:

  • Collision protection – This is perhaps the most important insurance component. Driving off-road means you’ll be at risk of hitting rocks, trees, fences and other debris. Get a policy that covers off-road collision damage.
  • Bodily injury protection – The same can be said for bodily injury. Driving off-road can be risky, so have a policy in place that prevents you from being liable should a passenger or bystander be injured from your off-road driving.
  • Property damage – Property damage is the third major risk of off-road driving. Have coverage that will handle the costs if you damage someone’s home, yard, vehicle or other property.

Pick the right vehicle

off_roading_rzdYou know how certain vehicles are cheaper to insure than others? For example, an SUV from a popular manufacturer is cheaper than a convertible sports car. The same goes for off-road vehicles.

This means an insurance policy for your off-roading sports car will be sky-high, but coverage for a hard-top, four-door Jeep will be much more affordable. When you’re thinking about insurance, remember to think about your vehicle too. You may even want to shop around for a new off-roader to ensure your rates are as cheap as possible, and that you can enjoy as much off-road driving as you want without worrying about cost or the risk.

Other insurance-related elements include alarms, low-mileage vehicles, older models or a safe driving record. So, consider buying an off-road vehicle with some of these features, so you can save some money otherwise spent on this type of specialty insurance.

With that said, compare auto insurance quotes and have fun with your next off-road adventure!

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