Are off road vehicles covered under typical car insurance?
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Off road vehicles are can be a lot of fun but, if you are not properly covered, it may cost you. They are not typically covered under a standard car insurance policy. You will need a special policy to cover any off road vehicles you own such as dirt bikes, all terrain vehicles, and 4x4s. Not all car insurance companies will write these types of policies either.
Most states do not require you to carry insurance on off road vehicles unless you plan to use it on a public street. If your vehicle has been modified for street use, you will need to register it and carry the required state minimum liability insurance. Many states do require however, that a person operating any vehicle, even off road, have proper licensing.
Standard vehicle insurance will not cover your off road vehicle even if it is stolen off a truck or trailer covered by your policy. Homeowners insurance also does not cover the theft of off road vehicles from your property. Having a policy designed specifically for these types of vehicles will be your only protection.
Off road insurance policies will usually require that you show proof the vehicle is only used for off road purposes. If you plan to use the vehicle for off road and street driving, you may be required to carry standard vehicle insurance, as well as an off road policy. This is to cover you for both types of use as the policies do not overlap in coverage generally.
What does off road vehicle insurance cover?
Off road vehicle insurance policies typically cover you for things including fire, theft, vandalism, wind, lightning and other events. Some will also cover you for liability also. Liability rates are usually higher than a typical car insurance policy because there is more risk involved. Some policies will cover not only the vehicle, but also your safety equipment and trailer for damages. Companies also offer non-collision accident coverage as well. You should always read your policy closely to find out the exact coverage provided.
There are three different types of payout methods used by insurance companies. It is important to understand what they are and which one you have. You will want to find a policy that would best fit your needs if you ever had to make a claim.
Market value policies will pay what an item would be worth if it was to be sold. They use comparisons of similar vehicles being sold in your area at the time to determine this value. If people are selling vehicles of similar make, model, and year for a low amount then that is what you will receive.
Actual cash value means the insurance company will pay you the cost for the item when it was new minus depreciation. The older a vehicle is the more value it has lost the less money you will get if it is deemed totaled or stolen.
Replacement value policies generally have the highest premiums. They pay what it would cost to replace your vehicle with a comparable model. This will have the highest pay out in the event of a loss.
How much does off road vehicle insurance cost?
Off road insurance policies can cost anywhere from $70 to $1000 a year depending on the type of vehicle and your age, driving record, and credit. Higher priced vehicles or ones with many custom modifications will raise premiums dramatically. Some car insurance companies may not cover modifications at all.
Young drivers or people with multiple moving violations can also expect to pay more. Insurance companies view both of these as high risk for accidents. They use this risk assessment to determine how much it will cost them compared to how much they can expect to collect in premiums from you.
Some companies will not write a policy if you are too much of a risk. Unlike car insurance, there are no companies specializing in high-risk policies for off road vehicles. These vehicles are considered a luxury item.
Where can I find off road vehicle insurance?
Not all companies who write car insurance policies will cover off road vehicles but many do. If your insurance company does not, many big name companies and smaller private companies do specialize in them. Make sure you research different companies and compare the coverage they offer. You may find a company that offers a slightly higher premium, offers better coverage. Sometimes private companies can offer lower prices and higher coverage. Look at the total policy not just the price.
Ask for discounts they may offer as well. Often, companies have unadvertised discounts you may qualify for. Companies will usually give you a discount if you combine insurance packages with them. Make sure the discount for combining is not lost in higher premiums for your other insurances though.
If you have outfitted the vehicle with any type of anti-theft device or tracking system, you may be able to get a lower premium. Theft makes up a large percent of off road vehicle claims and this reduces your risk.
Sometimes companies will offer a discount if the driver has completed some type of off road safety course. These courses are widely available and the insurance company may be able to provide a list in your area. Your local Department of Motor Vehicles may also have a list.