Does car insurance cover off-roading?

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

Plenty of drivers love taking their vehicles out on the open road. From motorcycles and classic cars to pickup trucks, sometimes you can’t beat an adventure out on the highway or down scenic country roads. Other drivers, meanwhile, prefer to travel off the beaten path. Whether it’s in an old truck or a Jeep with aftermarket parts, these off-road enthusiasts love to take their vehicles up mountains, over rocks and through rough terrain. 

Unfortunately for them, however, auto insurance companies don’t share that same enthusiasm. If something happens while driving somewhere you’re not supposed to be, insurance companies won’t cover the damage. If you decide to take your insured vehicle off-road, you’ll be on the hook for any damage or injury that happens in an accident. Insurance companies will typically deny any claim that involves taking your vehicle off-road.

Unless, that is, it’s approved for off-road use (or subject to a specific off-road insurance policy). That’s why it’s important to know just what your auto insurance covers before you decide to take your vehicle off the beaten path.

What is an off-road vehicle?

Off-road vehicles are those types of vehicles that are 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, as off-road vehicles. 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

Off-Road Vehicle Insurance Covers:

If you’re taking a vehicle off the road, you need to be aware of what is and isn’t covered. Traditional auto insurance policies usually don’t provide coverage for off-road incidents. You’ll need to add a rider to your policy or buy an insurance policy specifically related to off-roading. Even if you have off-road insurance coverage, the incident or accident 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

If your off-road adventures take place in approved vehicles and on your own property, some insurance claims can be handled by your homeowner’s insurance. In other cases, however, you’ll want to purchase similar insurance to what you have on street-legal, road-ready vehicles. This coverage 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 rocks. 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 excursions occur on a regular basis or you’re a weekend warrior, finding the right kind of coverage for your auto and home insurance needs can make the difference between expensive repairs and full coverage.

If you have questions about insurance for your off-road vehicles, SelectQuote can help. We can shop for coverage and find the right insurance policy that meets your needs.

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