Does car insurance cover off-roading?

A muddy vehicle drives through an off-road path in the middle of the woods

For some drivers, you can’t beat the thrill of taking a vehicle off-road. Whether you’re exploring mountains, forests or other landscapes, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is covered if something goes wrong. Before the next time you take your car out on uncharted terrain, you may be wondering if your auto insurance will cover damage that happens while off-roading.

Unfortunately for off-roading enthusiasts, auto insurance will not typically cover an accident that takes place off-road. Because these environments pose a greater risk of accident or injury, carriers will almost always deny a claim from damage caused by off-roading. If your vehicle is damaged or destroyed in an area not designated for  safe, everyday driving, expect to pay out-of-pocket for the repairs or replacement.

However, there is one exception. If your vehicle is approved for off-road use or subject to a specific off-road policy, you may have coverage for these situations. Before you take your vehicle off the beaten path, make sure you review your policy details so you know what is and isn’t covered.

What is an off-road vehicle?

Off-road vehicles are types of vehicles built specifically for the purpose of taking them out into the wild. You could technically consider vehicles that have been modified for personal recreational use, such as pickup trucks, Toyota Land Cruisers or Jeep Wranglers. Designations and available coverage vary by carrier, and it’s important to understand that just because a vehicle is capable of going off-road doesn’t mean it should.

Types of Off-Road Vehicles

Common-types of off-road vehicles include:

  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Dune buggies
  • Golf carts
  • Snowmobiles
  • Minibikes
  • Trail bikes
  • Camping trailers

What Off-Road Vehicle Insurance Covers

If you’re planning on taking your vehicle off the main road, you should be aware of what is and isn’t covered by your auto insurance policy. Traditional auto insurance typically doesn’t provide coverage for off-road incidents. If you want additional protection while off-roading, you’ll need to add a rider to your policy or purchase a policy specific to off-roading. And, even with off-road insurance, certain accidents or damage may not be covered.

Several reasons for denied off-road claims include:

  • A crash caused by mechanical failure
  • A crash caused by regular vehicle wear and tear
  • Illegal activities during the accident
  • Unauthorized modifications to the vehicle

One thing to consider with off-road vehicle insurance is that you’ll likely pay a deductible when filing a claim. Higher deductibles can translate to lower premiums, but it could also mean insurance may not pay for repairs.

Types of Insurance Coverage for Off-Road Vehicles

While most auto insurance will not cover damage that occurs while off-roading, you may actually have some coverage from your home insurance policy. If your off-road excursions take place in approved vehicles and on your own property, some claims can be processed by your homeowner’s insurance carrier. However, in other cases, you’ll want insurance that you purchase for off-roading to be similar to insurance you have for any street-legal, road-ready vehicle. This includes:

  • Property damage liability coverage: Off-road driving might increase the chances that you’ll hit people or damage property. Liability insurance provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage that may occur. 
  • Collision coverage: You may not run the risk of crashing into another vehicle while taking your vehicle off-road. There are, however, countless other things you can collide with, such as fences, trees or embankments. Collision coverage pays for damages resulting from these crashes. This coverage can help repair or replace your off-road vehicle if you damage it in a collision.
  • Bodily injury liability: Off-road driving can often be more dangerous than a trip down paved country roads and highways. Bodily injury coverage can help pay for injuries that may occur to you or other vehicle occupants during an off-road crash.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Trees and rocks aren’t the only thing that can damage your vehicle out there. Comprehensive coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle due to hail damage, wild animals or theft. Closely read your policy for more information about comprehensive coverage. Many of these types of policies include coverage limits.

Protect Your Off-Road Vehicles with the Right Insurance Coverage

Whether your off-road adventures occur on a regular basis or are an infrequent pastime, finding the right kind of coverage for your home and vehicle can be the difference between expensive repairs and financial security. At SelectQuote, our licensed insurance agents can quickly and easily search a variety of trusted insurance carriers, finding you the right policy for your needs and budget.

Article Categories

Get Your Free Home and Auto Insurance Quote Today.

We do the shopping. You do the saving.