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Insurance For Your Off Road Recreational Vehicle

Understanding how insurance for your off road vehicle works

How Do I Obtain Coverage for an Off-Road Recreational Vehicle? Can I Be Turned Down?

Insurance for your off-road recreational vehicle is offered in a competitive market. You can shop around for coverage from agents and companies available in your area, but an insurance company can also decide to turn down your application for coverage.

In order to obtain an insurance policy for your off-road recreational vehicle, you must fill out an application to help the insurance company learn about you, your assets, and the risks the insurance company would be responsible for if they insure you. After reviewing the information, the insurance company will use its own standards, known as underwriting guidelines, to decide whether to issue you a policy, and the rate it would charge for the coverage.

If an insurer agrees to consider your application, the producer or company may issue you an "insurance binder", a legally binding statement indicating that you have immediate protection for a specified period of time during which the company will decide whether to issue you a policy. If the company formally accepts your application, it will issue a policy, usually covering a one year period. If your application is rejected, you will need to apply to another insurer.

What Type of Coverage Do I Need to Protect My Off-Road Recreational Vehicle?

You should consider a property coverage limit that is high enough to help you replace or repair your off-road recreational vehicle at today's labor and material costs. This cost may be very different from the market value of your off-road recreational vehicle.

In addition to choosing the type and overall limits to your coverage, you will choose a deductible level. This level will be the amount you will be expected to pay for covered losses before the insurer pays for claims. The higher the deductible that you choose - and greater proportion of low-dollar claims that are yours and not the insurer's responsibility - the lower the premium that you will have to pay.

Basic Coverages Available

There are differing packages of insurance that may be offered to protect your off-road recreational vehicle. It is important to know which risks a policy covers and which risks are excluded. Each policy protects against a specific number of perils (events that cause damage to property), including, for example, collision, fire, windstorm, theft, lightning or vandalism.

In addition to knowing the risks or perils covered, it is important to consider the expenses that are covered in the event of a covered peril. Each policy usually contains coverage for the following:

  • Property damage to your off-road recreational vehicle
    • Typically an off-road recreational vehicle owner's policy includes coverage for damage to the off-road recreational vehicle and its parts, as well as the equipment used to transport the off-road recreational vehicle. The coverage also can include equipment that is permanently attached to the off-road recreational vehicle, including for example, fuel tanks, motors, horns, lights, or two-way radios. Typically, such a policy does not include coverage for personal property, including clothing, food, jewelry, or portable gear. It also does not typically provide any coverage for damage to your vehicle when it is operating in an official race or speed contest.
  • Personal liability lawsuits
    • Most off-road recreational vehicle insurance policies include personal liability coverage that protects you against any claim or lawsuit alleging bodily injury or property damage to others arising out of your ownership, maintenance or use of the off-road recreational vehicle. Since the personal liability coverage limits differ among companies and a company may add certain company-specific exclusions, you should read your policy carefully. You should also check to determine what limit is appropriate for you.
  • Limited medical payments for certain accidents arising out of your use of the off-road recreational vehicle
    • Medical payments coverage pays for any medical expenses incurred by persons not living with you who are accidentally injured while in, upon, boarding or leaving your off-road recreational vehicle. Although the medical payments coverage limit is usually set at a low dollar amount, you may wish to check with your producer or insurance company to determine if the amount of medical payments coverage on your policy is sufficient, or whether a higher limit would be more appropriate for you. [You should know that this is intended for minor injuries; all other injuries caused by you may be insured under the personal liability coverage.

Additional coverages:

  • Uninsured Off-Road Recreational Vehicle Owners Coverage
    • If purchased, this provides coverage for injuries resulting from an accident that is the fault of an uninsured off-road recreational vehicle owner or "hit and run" operator.
  • Personal Effects Coverage
    • If purchased, this may provide coverage for your clothing, portable radios or other personal items.

What Is My Off-Road Recreational Vehicle's Value Under An Insurance Policy?

Your off-road recreational vehicle's value can be looked at in three very different ways:

  • Market value - represents what your property would sell for on the off-road recreational vehicle market.
  • Actual cash value - represents what your off-road recreational vehicle is worth today after adjusting for the normal wear and tear that may have reduced the value of the off-road recreational vehicle.
  • Replacement cost value - represents the cost that it may take to replace or repair your off-road recreational vehicle if it were destroyed or damaged.

Each of these may be significantly different than the other and should not be confused in determining the amount of coverage that you may need to repair or rebuild your off-road recreational vehicle. An off-road recreational vehicle that you bought for $20,000 may actually cost $30,000 to replace. Some policies will pay for the cost of replacement (either the cost to repair or replace the vehicle); others may offer actual cash value; and others may use an "agreed value" negotiated by both parties when the policy is issued. When considering the limits of your coverage, you should talk with your producer about how much it may cost to replace your off-road recreational vehicle.
If your coverage is for less than the replacement cost, your insurance company is not obligated to pay all the costs of the repairs. In the case of a total loss, the company will pay the lesser of the cost to repair the vehicle or the policy limits. For partial losses, an insurance company may only be obligated to pay a percentage of the loss based the percentage that your policy limit would pay toward the cost to replace your off-road recreational vehicle.

What May Affect the Cost of Insurance for My Off-Road Recreational Vehicle?

  • Amount of Coverage: The amount of coverage you buy will affect the price you pay.
  • Deductible Amount: This is the amount that you would choose under the policy that you would pay for a covered loss before the insurance company will pay any losses. The higher the deductible, the lower the price for the insured. You should keep in mind, however, that deductibles apply separately to each loss that may occur throughout the year.
  • Age and Condition of Off-Road Recreational Vehicle: New or remodeled off-road recreational vehicles may have certain safety features to reduce risk while older off-road recreational vehicles may be subject to more damage in case of an accidental event.
  • History of Accidents: If you have a history of off-road recreational vehicle accidents, this may be used as a factor in setting your rates, based on the likelihood of your having future accidents.
  • Discounts: Most insurance companies offer a variety of discounts, including some of the following based upon projected reduced risks for certain features including:
    • Multi-policy discounts for covering off-road recreational vehicle insurance and other insurance with same carrier;
    • Safety equipment discounts for equipment that may be part of the vehicle
    • Training discounts for taking safety courses sponsored by snowmobiling or off-road vehicle associations

How Much Will It Cost to Insure My Off-Road Recreational Vehicle?

When you shop for insurance for your off-road recreational vehicle, it is useful to obtain premium quotations to compare different companies' products. However, when you ask for price quotations, it is important that you give the same information to each producer or company.

To give you an accurate quote, the producer or company will usually ask for the following: 

  •  A description of your off-road recreational vehicle;
  • If you have security devices;
  •  A picture of your off-road recreational vehicle;
  • The coverages and limits you want; and
  •  Any prior property or liability losses.


Can an Insurer Ever Cancel or Non-renew My Coverage?

Yes, an insurer can cancel or non-renew your coverage. You should read your policy carefully to determine the conditions for cancellation and non-renewal. Companies can cancel or non-renew coverage, but only according to the conditions that are spelled out within the policy. If a company ever intends to cancel or non-renew coverage, it is to give you advanced written notice of cancellation or non-renewal and indicate the reasons for cancellation or non-renewal.

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