Proper insurance critical for outdoor recreation

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Published: May 25,2009

In a kind prodding sort of way, my local insurance agent, Jess Hinton in Brandon, is always hounding me.  At least he is an avid outdoorsman, though more of a fisherman than a hunter, so I try not to hold that against him.  He is the only insurance man I have ever had that always seems to be looking out for my family’s best interests. 

Well, after all, it is his business to offer security coverage for all the tangible things we own and hold dear, because of all the hard-earned bucks we have invested.  Of course that includes the house, its contents and our vehicles.  Probably more often than not though, us outdoors-type people never think much about having equal insurance protection for our outdoor gear and related equipment.  That could prove to be a highly costly mistake. 

Outdoor equipment is expensive.  Bass boats can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.  A basic no-frills ATV can run $5,000 and the Chevy Z71 4×4 can easily go $40,000.  Hunting property, camp houses, liability protection and on and on.  We should not only be protecting all our goods against damages, loss or theft, but we have to protect ourselves against others’ lack of responsibility or accidents even though no fault of our own.  It’s the way of the world these days.

 

Outdoor sportsman’s protection categories

For your consideration, here is a listing of categories of items hunters and anglers are likely to own and use.  Each should be protected with adequate insurance coverage. 

Firearms.  Guns are only covered for theft out of your house up to the limits of their policy.  If they show receipts, we can add to a homeowner’s policy for $10-$40 bucks a year, depending on the value of the firearms.  This coverage can even be arranged for the big-game hunters traveling anywhere in the world. 

Think it can never happen to you?  An embarrassed friend from Madison stopped in a gas station in Flora last year to buy gas and a nab.  He left his Benelli shotgun on the seat and the truck unlocked.  He wasn’t gone five minutes, but that was long enough for the gun to disappear.  It was not insured.  The vehicle coverage didn’t apply either. 

 

All-terrain vehicles

“Despite what a lot of people believe, your ATV is not covered under the homeowner’s policy unless they are used on the home property, but if you take it off that property to, say, a hunting camp, then it is not covered by that policy,” advises Hinton.  

Full coverage is only about $100-$200 a year depending on the ATV and liability is only $25-$40 a year.  According to Jess, if you are in deer camp not having it is like driving down the interstate without insurance.  

“If you have a four-wheeler in the back of your truck, the straps come loose, it falls out…not covered unless you have a policy for it.  Same as if it is on a trailer.  The auto policy doesn’t cover that.  It will in some cases cover a trailer, but not what you have on the trailer. The auto liability will carry to the trailer,” says Hinton.  Know this, too, that as popular as golf carts are for hunting and property cruising, they need coverage like ATVs.. 

 

Small tractors and implements. 

Tractors used for food plotting and land maintenance up to about 40 horsepower can be covered.  Implements like bush hogs, discs, spray equipment and seed/fertilizer spreaders should be insured, as well. 

 

Boats, jet skis, 

and other watercraft  

Insurance can be written to cover your fishing gear and the boat gear contents.  Just think about the electronics on board these days, fish finders, radar, com radios, GPS and other gear that can find its way off the boat when owners are not careful.  Rods, reels and tackle boxes can add up into some huge investments.  A theft of uninsured items could be devastating. 

Boat insurance can even have an uninsured/underinsured policy, as well.  This would be similar to auto coverage.

 

RVs and campers

“These are no-brainer types of vehicles and wheeled housing units. They have to have coverage. Camping trailers can be added to the auto policy and can have comprehensive, as well, to cover tree limbs, etc.,” Hinton added. 

Of course, there are any number of other categories of our outdoors “stuff” that ought to be covered by insurance. If you are party to a hunting club or allow anyone on your lands to hunt, fish, ride four-wheelers or even to walk around.  You best be covered.  Even if you allow a friend or neighbor onto the land to “cut some firewood,” don’t do it unless you are covered.  This coverage will also protect you when an unauthorized person “wanders” across your fence, falls over it and breaks an arm.  Trust me, it happens. 

Sure, most people with any measure of business sense or at least some iota of common sense knows to have insurance.  Sometimes you can be insurance poor, but no poorer than when a major item is stolen, wrecked or somebody is hurt.  Outdoors people have to have comprehensive coverage.  If you have insurance questions about your outdoors vehicles, equipment, gear, goods and stuff, drop Jess Hinton an e-mail at JessHinton@allstate.com, or call him at 601-825-1367.  Maybe he’ll hound you some and lay off me. 

 

Dr. John J. Woods, PhD. is vice president in charge of economic development and training, Eagle Ridge Conference and Training Center, the Workforce Development Center and contract training services at Hinds Community College in Raymond.

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