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Old 03-08-2019, 12:27 PM #16
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I don't know a specific answer, but in general it'll be up to two things: the insurance contract language of your policy and the laws of the state you're in.

I would guess that the general rule is that you're covered for anything you do with a full coverage policy. The full coverage policies are largely in place to protect the lender, not the owner. So the banks typically would lobby in each state for very comprehensive coverage. But that will depend on what state you're in.

I do think it's completely reasonable to both ask and expect an answer regarding whether a certain type of activity is covered by your contract with your insurance company. In any contract it is important to understand the rights and obligations each party is agreeing to. I also think your insurance company would want to know if you have modified your vehicle, how you did it, and what your overall level of risk is. You can buy insurance for anything. Whether you currently are paying for what you want is a different issue. I think it's fine to ask what the limits are of the policy and/or if you need to buy another policy to cover what you want it to.

Out of curiosity I reviewed my personal policy. It has no exclusions for off-road use, or even track use. I suspect my state prohibits such exclusions. The risk of loss due to offroad or track use is small compared to the risk of medical bills in a regular crash. The language states;

Subject to the limits of liability, if “you” pay the premium for Comprehensive Coverage, “we” will pay for a
sudden, direct, and accidental “loss” to:
A. “Your” “covered auto” for which Comprehensive Coverage has been purchased, as stated in “your”
Declarations page;
B. A “non-owned auto”; or
C. A “trailer” titled to “you”.

There are a lot of exclusions, but basically they are: you can't rent your car to someone else, use it for hauling people or stuff for money, and they won't pay for anything you modify or any personal property inside the vehicle or trailer.

Last edited by Jetboy; 03-08-2019 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:24 PM #17
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Look at it this way...
Insurance companies of ANY kind don't make money by paying claims.
So, they will use any loophole they can.
If they can find a way to deny your claim in a regular, run-of-the-mill fender bender...
you can be pretty sure they won't cover you for an off road accident.
Same as if you got in an accident driving on the sidewalk.
Mainly because "it could be avoided".

But I am not an insurance professional.
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:42 PM #18
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I have a bunch of friends in the insurance game, but I don’t do it personally.

1st off I would work with a better insurance provider… Geico is notorious for weaseling themselves out of claims… On top of that, the person in a web window chat is NOT making any of these decisions, it’s going to be up to claims if you have an accident. Your history as a customer will come into play when they determine if they even pay you out if it’s in one of those “gray areas” when it comes to definition.

2nd, you want to work with a company where you actually have an agent who is responsible for their own book of business… you develop a relationship with that person, and they will often go to bat for you in a situation where you gave examples. If you have multiple lines of business (home, auto, life, umbrella) with them, it’s going to greatly work in your favor if/when you need to actually file a claim.

I was covering OHV, trailer, and my truck… some items stays with the primary carrier, things like ATV went with foremost insurance. In my current policy, I am covered comp, collision, and liability off-road.

You really need to work directly with an agent who has the ability to talk with underwiring to answer the types of question you are asking.

Last edited by Bumbo; 03-08-2019 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:53 PM #19
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I live in Georgia and we have plenty of fire roads and dirt roads that are maintained by the state. State maintained roads, regardless of physical make up (gravel/dirt/asphalt/concrete), are covered by insurance. There are many wrecks on dirt and fire roads and I've never heard of a case in which insurance hasnt covered an accident..

If you put one tire off of a stated/federal maintained road you probably arent getting coverage regardless of insurance provider, however....and I've seen a LOT of denied claims from ORV parkes and wheeling power lines..
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Old 03-08-2019, 02:22 PM #20
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If you want REAL off-road insurance... you need buy specialty coverage… which is also freaking expensive.

You just have to pay to play.

If you want “normal people” insurance, for a passenger vehicle, then it’s completely unreasonable to think a claim will be paid if you owned yourself, upside down in the middle of nowhere with a trashed truck needing to be recovered and paid for.
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:45 PM #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetboy View Post
I don't know a specific answer, but in general it'll be up to two things: the insurance contract language of your policy and the laws of the state you're in.

I would guess that the general rule is that you're covered for anything you do with a full coverage policy. The full coverage policies are largely in place to protect the lender, not the owner. So the banks typically would lobby in each state for very comprehensive coverage. But that will depend on what state you're in.

I do think it's completely reasonable to both ask and expect an answer regarding whether a certain type of activity is covered by your contract with your insurance company. In any contract it is important to understand the rights and obligations each party is agreeing to. I also think your insurance company would want to know if you have modified your vehicle, how you did it, and what your overall level of risk is. You can buy insurance for anything. Whether you currently are paying for what you want is a different issue. I think it's fine to ask what the limits are of the policy and/or if you need to buy another policy to cover what you want it to.

Out of curiosity I reviewed my personal policy. It has no exclusions for off-road use, or even track use. I suspect my state prohibits such exclusions. The risk of loss due to offroad or track use is small compared to the risk of medical bills in a regular crash. The language states;

Subject to the limits of liability, if “you” pay the premium for Comprehensive Coverage, “we” will pay for a
sudden, direct, and accidental “loss” to:
A. “Your” “covered auto” for which Comprehensive Coverage has been purchased, as stated in “your”
Declarations page;
B. A “non-owned auto”; or
C. A “trailer” titled to “you”.

There are a lot of exclusions, but basically they are: you can't rent your car to someone else, use it for hauling people or stuff for money, and they won't pay for anything you modify or any personal property inside the vehicle or trailer.
So if you refer back to the declarations page that they mention, you'll find comprehensive is for things other than a collision. Comp protects you from; fire, theft, vandalism and "acts of nature" so if you hit a deer which you'd think would be a collision, it's not it's comp, or if a tree falls on your car that is what comprehensive covers. really if you're off roading what would come into play would be the collision portion if the policy, if you hit another vehicle off road, rolled your vehicle or hit a tree, that's collision not comprehensive or "other than collision". These things are all covered under normal circumstances. If you read my first post on this thread you'll see I mention "reasonable and prudent" so if you are driving down a state highway with a double yellow line and lose control of your vehicle and hit a tree it's covered. Because that is a place a reasonable and prudent person would be driving. However if you're not somewhere a reasonable and prudent person would be, or not on a road at all that coverage is not in effect. the reason the answer is vague is that coverage is situational. if you ask an insurance company "am I covered if I roll over" the answer will be yes, because if you roll in an accident on a public road it is covered. Similarly you are not covered for track driving, if you're looking for specific exclusion language you'd want to maybe look for "racing" or "timed driving events." this also would likely appear in the "liability" portion of your policy, if you don't believe me it is at your own peril. As I previously stated go to a private track and in the second turn wreck a $300,000.00 super car and let us all know how that works out for you. I have watched it happen in California, New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire, admittedly never in Utah.

Also, and I am editorializing here, I don't think it's reasonable to ask your insurance company to assume such a risk. if I am attempting a particularly tricky obstacle over or around a rock in my 4Runner and do body damage, why should I expect my insurance company to cover that? it is a risk I chose to take, that is beyond the scope of normal everyday driving. similarly if I am driving 160 mph and decide to brake late coming into a turn to try to beat a personal best lap time and meet the wall, why should I expect my insurance company to cover that? people need to take personal responsibility for their own choices and actions. A bill was recently proposed in the state of CT that would allow insurance companies to deny claims in the event of a DUI, in other words if you're driving drunk and hit someone and put them in the hospital, those bills are paid out of your account and not the insurance companies. I for one am all for this. If any of you are or know an actuary or underwriter you'll understand that rates are calculated based on probability those variables don't account for people driving impaired, because driving impaired is illegal. So if you're doing something that is in and of itself risky you should own the consequence. be that driving drunk driving off road or performance driving at a track.
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:49 PM #22
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I have a bunch of friends in the insurance game, but I don’t do it personally.

1st off I would work with a better insurance provider… Geico is notorious for weaseling themselves out of claims… On top of that, the person in a web window chat is NOT making any of these decisions, it’s going to be up to claims if you have an accident. Your history as a customer will come into play when they determine if they even pay you out if it’s in one of those “gray areas” when it comes to definition.

2nd, you want to work with a company where you actually have an agent who is responsible for their own book of business… you develop a relationship with that person, and they will often go to bat for you in a situation where you gave examples. If you have multiple lines of business (home, auto, life, umbrella) with them, it’s going to greatly work in your favor if/when you need to actually file a claim.

I was covering OHV, trailer, and my truck… some items stays with the primary carrier, things like ATV went with foremost insurance. In my current policy, I am covered comp, collision, and liability off-road.

You really need to work directly with an agent who has the ability to talk with underwiring to answer the types of question you are asking.
I whole heartedly agree GEICO is cheap to own but often getting a claim paid is like pulling teeth. Working with an insurance professional is key for many reasons. Most people don't have the coverage they need. I have a Foremost policy for my UTV as well, and it DOES provide coverage off road, because it is an OHRV policy, specifically designed for off road vehicles. however my 4Runner which is on a pretty standard personal auto policy doesn't provide off road coverage.
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:52 PM #23
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I live in Georgia and we have plenty of fire roads and dirt roads that are maintained by the state. State maintained roads, regardless of physical make up (gravel/dirt/asphalt/concrete), are covered by insurance. There are many wrecks on dirt and fire roads and I've never heard of a case in which insurance hasnt covered an accident..

If you put one tire off of a stated/federal maintained road you probably arent getting coverage regardless of insurance provider, however....and I've seen a LOT of denied claims from ORV parkes and wheeling power lines..
this is totally correct. a road being dirt doesn't mean you're off road and up her in NH like in GA there are plenty of people who live on very well maintained dirt roads. Wheeling power lines is technically trespassing (I am guilty, are you?) so def. no coverage, and more trouble to boot. same as ORV parks, usually they have you sign a waiver that says somewhere in it that you understand that your insurance is VOID while in the park, same with tracks!
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:01 PM #24
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Closed Roads

Off on a tangent here, but as I read this I recalled a road down in Inyo County, which the County routinely posts as "closed," not because it is impassable, but because they can avoid liability if someone drives into a new wash. Out in the desert, things can change quickly, and they have a lot of roads to maintain. So they put up "road closed" signs but don't enforce them.

I'm thinking your insurance wouldn't cover it either if you had an accident on the wrong side of that sign. Never considered it before. Thanks, Op, for the thread. It sounds like Geico is saying, "we need to evaluate each situation to see if driver was an idiot," but really, without explicit, legal definitions, they can screw us bad.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:13 PM #25
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Exactly. They will stay vague until the time come and they can deny your claim. I hate all insurance companies. What a racket!!
You should try owning a business. Insurance on top of insurance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumbo View Post
I have a bunch of friends in the insurance game, but I don’t do it personally.

1st off I would work with a better insurance provider… Geico is notorious for weaseling themselves out of claims… On top of that, the person in a web window chat is NOT making any of these decisions, it’s going to be up to claims if you have an accident. Your history as a customer will come into play when they determine if they even pay you out if it’s in one of those “gray areas” when it comes to definition.

2nd, you want to work with a company where you actually have an agent who is responsible for their own book of business… you develop a relationship with that person, and they will often go to bat for you in a situation where you gave examples. If you have multiple lines of business (home, auto, life, umbrella) with them, it’s going to greatly work in your favor if/when you need to actually file a claim.

I was covering OHV, trailer, and my truck… some items stays with the primary carrier, things like ATV went with foremost insurance. In my current policy, I am covered comp, collision, and liability off-road.

You really need to work directly with an agent who has the ability to talk with underwiring to answer the types of question you are asking.
Working with a TRUSTED local agent is KEY. Had my old agent go to bat for me and my folks numerous times over the years. (Family business been with the same company for 25+ years) I switched to a 'new' guy last year to save money and I don't get any of my questions or issues answered. When this policy updates I'm going back to the old company. I only pay $12,000 a year in insurance, at least you could do is answer my emails.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:50 PM #26
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You should try owning a business. Insurance on top of insurance.



Working with a TRUSTED local agent is KEY. Had my old agent go to bat for me and my folks numerous times over the years. (Family business been with the same company for 25+ years) I switched to a 'new' guy last year to save money and I don't get any of my questions or issues answered. When this policy updates I'm going back to the old company. I only pay $12,000 a year in insurance, at least you could do is answer my emails.
One thing I learned over the years is that not all insurance is equal… being correctly covered is one thing, but working and building a relationship with standup people who work for reputable firms is a completely different thing. Don’t expect that stuff from Geico… it’s not their target consumer base, and my agent doesn’t even want “Geico clients” as they complain every year about small incremental increases and are generally the most costly to service and insure.

I spend good money with my agent, but I also expect first rate service, my claims to be paid, and them to go over and above the call to service me as a client.

A friend covered by the same agent recently had a leak behind their fridge at home, it didn’t effect a large area, but their flooring in the kitchen was damaged. The same flooring was used across the ENTIRE HOME. They were not able to find a replacement match for the wood. Instead of paying out some budget claim for just the affected area, the agent went to bat for her when it went into claims and they replaced the entire thing (good long term client, nice home, multiple lines of business). For something that really should have been around 5k, they ended up paying 30k to make sure the customer was taken care of.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:51 PM #27
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this is totally correct. a road being dirt doesn't mean you're off road and up her in NH like in GA there are plenty of people who live on very well maintained dirt roads. Wheeling power lines is technically trespassing (I am guilty, are you?) so def. no coverage, and more trouble to boot. same as ORV parks, usually they have you sign a waiver that says somewhere in it that you understand that your insurance is VOID while in the park, same with tracks!
Most of my powerline driving is in an OHV area, federally owned BLM land.

Would it really be trespassing at that point, almost seems like it would be easement for the power company.

Not expecting to be insured if in a regular vehicle, but in a properly insured ATV/UTV, I don’t see this being a problem. It often times serves as a “road” for most people traveling the area.

Curious to hear your thoughts.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:14 PM #28
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Most of my powerline driving is in an OHV area, federally owned BLM land.

Would it really be trespassing at that point, almost seems like it would be easement for the power company.

Not expecting to be insured if in a regular vehicle, but in a properly insured ATV/UTV, I don’t see this being a problem. It often times serves as a “road” for most people traveling the area.

Curious to hear your thoughts.
So no if you're on BLM land you're fine. another state variance, my apologies. Here in New England BLM means something TOTALLY different. More to your point the power company owns the land that the lines are on and the land the trails to service those lines is upon. They also prosecute. I am friendly with certain cops in certain towns, they are tasked with stopping both ATV an automobile trespassers. if it's a designated OHRV trail on BLM land I imagine that would be like those we have here in the White Mountain National Forest, and you're fine.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:06 PM #29
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if I am attempting a particularly tricky obstacle over or around a rock in my 4Runner and do body damage, why should I expect my insurance company to cover that?
To be clear, I’m not trying to get one over on anyone; I’m trying to understand the rules of the game... and whether I need a different insurance company.

If I’m on a maintained gravel road on US Forest Service or National Park Service land, just driving along... and something happens... I expect to be covered. If I’m not going to be, then I have the wrong carrier.

If I’m rock crawling and there’s no road around, then my expectations are different. (But still raises the question of whether I have the right carrier.)
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:32 PM #30
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To be clear, I’m not trying to get one over on anyone; I’m trying to understand the rules of the game... and whether I need a different insurance company.

If I’m on a maintained gravel road on US Forest Service or National Park Service land, just driving along... and something happens... I expect to be covered. If I’m not going to be, then I have the wrong carrier.

If I’m rock crawling and there’s no road around, then my expectations are different. (But still raises the question of whether I have the right carrier.)
Sorry, that wasn't really directed at you. if it's a maintained public way, you should be good. Especially if you're in a place where you don't even really need 4WD. if you couldn't get through without 4Lo and a locking dff… you're most likely not gonna be covered. Another advantage around here (in NH) that makes things crystal clear is this time of year, the roads where you wouldn't have coverage, don't have city or town plows on them, makes it pretty easy to tell. I imagine in your neck of the woods it may be harder to tell. all of our Class VI roads and other trails for example in the white mountains are being swarmed by snowmobiles at this time, after mud season they'll be our off road trails again.

Regarding carrier, there isn't a company I know of that includes this coverage in their personal auto policy. as previously mentioned if you obtain an "Off Highway Recreational Vehicle" policy, an OHRV policy like I have for my SxS then yes they expressly cover off road use, this was important to me in regards specific to liability coverage. I haven't asked and don't really know if I could put My 4Runner on such a policy, but I do know that if I did it would be an additional expense as the OHRV Policy doesn't cover what a personal policy does, so you'd basically need to run dual insurance policies which is a whole other can of worms.
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