Insuring Your 4wd Vehicle For Offroad Use
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Every car owner is used to having insurance, and most of us have had to claim on it at some time in our lives. How does it apply to driving off road though? Will your normal policy cover you when you head off the highways and start getting back to nature? Unfortunately this can be complicated, and a lot of people don’t know exactly what they’re covered for. It can be an expensive thing to get wrong as well. If you make a claim then find out your policy doesn’t extend to off road driving you can find yourself with some hefty bills to pay, and maybe legal problems too.
Some standard motor insurance policies have an exclusion for off road driving; check the small print to see if this applies to yours, and if you have any doubts at all phone up your insurance company and ask them. Nobody’s going to say that insurance policy small print is always the clearest writing in the world, and it’s easy to get the wrong end of the stick. Much better to ask some direct questions and, if necessary, ask your insurer to put the answers in writing.
So you call up the insurance company and ask them straight out, “Am I covered for off road driving?” If they say yes, don’t relax just yet. The next thing you say should be “Great! Now what does that mean?” To you it might be obvious what going off road means, but don’t assume your insurer has the same idea. A lot of policies will cover you for driving on off road tracks. If you like to go places that have never felt a tyre before, or plough through deep rivers to see what’s on the other side, you might find they’re not so helpful. Ask simple, straightforward questions to find exactly what you are insured for, and don’t leave any room for doubt.
If you find that your policy doesn’t cover proper off roading – and a lot of them don’t – you should consider looking for a specialist off road policy that does. Luckily off road driving is popular and there are some companies who do these policies. If you’re a member of a 4x4 club or association ask about any insurance deals they might have for members. If you’re not a member of a club, for $30 a year you can join the Tread Lightly Association, which qualifies.
With the cost of a decent 4wd vehicle and the kit that goes with it, insurance isn’t something you can take any chances with. An uncovered accident or loss can be financially devastating. Checking what you’re covered for, and filling in any gaps, needs to be one of your highest priorities before you head into the outback again.