By Joshua Rhind
5 MINUTE READ
In this blog piece, Joshua, General Manager and Adviser from Velocity’s Fire and General Insurance arm, CAVEO, shares with us the nitty gritty on insurance cover for any off-road mishaps in our beloved Utes and 4X4s.
Advertisements for Utes and 4X4 vehicles often show them powering through shallow rivers, driving across rugged terrain, and adventuring off road in the most exciting ways. And sometimes, being the outdoor-loving kiwis that we are, we may be tempted to spontaneously do these things ourselves in our new beloved Utes and 4X4s.
However, just because your 4X4 can navigate off the beaten track, doesn’t mean your insurance will always cover you if you have an accident while doing it.
So New Zealand, before you take off on your off-road adventure, make sure you’ve asked the question – Am I covered by my car insurance policy if I have an accident?
The short answer is: Not necessarily. Some insurance policies don’t cover off-roading at all.
Some insurers specifically exclude damage caused by off-road driving, simply because mountainsides, ravines, and rivers are not intended for vehicles.
Some insurers offer limited cover for genuine loss, other insurers don’t specifically exclude off-road vehicle use, but they limit the cover you get and will only be covered for ‘genuine loss,’ where there was nothing you could do to prevent damage or harm.
If your insurer excludes off-road driving, and you decide to take your vehicle off the beaten track, it’s important to know that you’ll be driving uninsured.
Under Vero’s cover, for example, we would consider claims for off-road driving if the damage is accidental and unforeseen, and if you have taken all reasonable steps to prevent the loss.
Your current insurer would likely assess the circumstances of each claim individually, but as an example, if you were off-roading and unexpectedly got caught in a hailstorm that batters your windscreen, you might be covered.
If you drive through a river, knowing that the water is deeper than axel level and your engine floods, the claim is likely to be declined.
Similarly, if you are driving along a bush track and get hit by an oncoming vehicle, you’ll probably be covered, whereas if you drive into deep ruts or through trees, where broken axles and panel damage would be an expectation, you won’t be covered.
It’s important to remember that while these policies leave room for insurers to consider ‘genuine loss’ claims, it’s likely that vehicle damage caused by off-roading still won’t be covered.
As a rule of thumb, you won’t be covered for anything that is not expressly written into your policy. Read your policy wording carefully and make sure you understand what you are, and aren’t, covered for. If you intend to drive your car anywhere that is not a residential road, talk to your adviser about whether your policy covers you, if any damage were to occur as a result of driving off-road.
While some standard insurance policies don’t include off-road coverage, insurers may offer add-ons or specific plans which can provide cover for your vehicle for this purpose. It’s important to understand what you’re covered for, before you leave for your off-road adventure.
Joshua and Ben at Caveo, our general and fire insurance arm, are here to answer your questions.
If you want to find out about the benefits of having an insurance broker, or perhaps you are currently with a direct insurer and want to deal with one person, instead of a large corporation, then give Joshua an email email@example.com.
Disclaimer: Joshua Rhind (FSP637909) is a Financial Adviser with Caveo (FSP729451). He operates under the umbrella of IANZ (FSP26221). No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available upon request.