In the U.S., most auto insurance policies only cover “normal usage” of road-legal vehicles, which means driving on the highway. However, Americans love off-road driving. To give you an idea, the U.S. off-road vehicles market was worth around $9 billion in 2017 and has been growing steadily since then, as reported by the Global Market Insights. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service has reserved at least 150,000 miles of trails and 440 wilderness areas for people who enjoy outdoor recreation activities, including off-roading. However, standard auto insurance policies typically exclude damage resulting from off-roading. Here is some more information about auto insurance off-road coverage.
Risks Involved in Off-Road Driving
Off-road driving is typically more dangerous because of hazards such as large obstacles, rough terrains, and reduced visibility. To mitigate the risks associated with off-roading, standard off-road vehicles come with large tires, open deep treads, and a flexible suspension to enhance balance and safety, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Even so, off-road driving comes with risks which include:
- Rolling over in slanted areas
- Collision with obstacles
- Losing car balance in uneven terrains
- Punctures and general car damage
Does Car Insurance Cover Off-Road Driving?
In 2018 alone, there were at least 3,500 off-road vehicle-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Considering the many risks that come with off-roading, it is important to note that car insurance does not cover off-road driving, although there are exceptions. For instance, a car crash can happen off-road just like it can happen on the road, in which case your car insurance may cover it. However, it may not cover accidents that are related to off-road driving, such as rolling over a slope. This purely depends on the type of car insurance coverage you have. In the worst scenarios, driving a car on the side of a mountain instead of a highway can make you ineligible for insurance coverage for any related claims.
Insurance Coverages That Are Available for Off-Roading
Since standard car insurance may not cover off-road vehicles, you should purchase an additional off-road policy that incorporates all the important coverage, including:
- Liability insurance – Driving off-road means you are more likely to hit people and damage property. For this reason, liability insurance will cover any third-party injuries and property damages that may occur when off-roading.
- Collision coverage – While it may be less likely to collide with other vehicles when driving off-road, you have an increased risk of hitting obstacles such as trees and rocks. Collision protection will pay for any damages resulting from those collisions.
- Bodily injury protection – This policy covers any injuries that may occur to the vehicle occupants during an off-road crash.
Although off-road vehicle insurance may be a bit more expensive than regular auto insurance, you can lower your premiums by maintaining a clean motor vehicle record.
Off-Road Car Insurance Coverage
Generally, the scope of coverage depends on the named perils. For instance, some policies cover off-road roll-overs, while other policies do not. If you wish to increase the coverage of your off-road car insurance policy, you can add riders to your policy. It is important to note that an off-road car insurance policy will not cover damage if:
- You have modified your car without informing the insurer
- You were conducting illegal activities during the accident
- The crash resulted from mechanical failure
- The crash was caused by wear and tear
To protect your car during off-road driving, get the right off-road car insurance coverage. To learn more about off-road vehicle insurance, contact Jack Stone Insurance Agency today. Our experienced agents will help you find the right policy for your off-roading needs.