ATVs Lawn Tractors, and the Barbie Dream Car

Erika Killmon -

If I had to take a wild guess, I would say that over half to three quarters of the households in the country own some sort of recreational vehicle.  Now I am not talking about a motor home. I am talking about the many other vehicles on the market designed for fun leisurely activities.  There are a variety out on the market today - ATV, golf cart, razor scooter, snow mobile, and even a Barbie Dream Car! 

These items are all fun and useful,  but depending upon circumstances, they might not be covered under your homeowners policy

It's impossible to give a firm answer in a blog post like this, because coverages vary from company to company and from state to state.  Many insurance companies use coverage forms developed by an organization know as the insurance services office (ISO).  ISO periodically updates the forms, and sometimes these revisions can create major differences in coverage.  Let's start by looking at lawn tractors.

Lawn Tractors

    The old version of the homeowners policy (which is used by most insurance companies in Virginia) covers both liability and physical damage (meaning coverage for damage to or theft of the lawn tractor) if it us "used to service an insured's residence."   However, the newer versions of the homeowners policy only cover a lawn tractor if it is "used solely to service an insured's residence."  They added one word: solely.  This means that if you use the lawn tractor one time to mow the neighbor's lawn because you are a nice person, you just voided coverage on that lawn tractor forever.  If you use it to give the grandkids a ride around the property, you just voided coverage on that lawn tractor forever.  Even if your policy is currently written under the old version of the policy, the insurance company might some day adopt the new version, and then your coverage changes as of the renewal date.  Liability coverage may be available through an endorsement to the homeowners policy at a cost of around $20 per year.  Physical damage coverage may be available under a separate policy, or as an endorsement to the homeowners policy. 

ATV's and Snowmobiles

     Coverage for all terrain vehicles likewise varies depending upon which version of the homeowners policy you have.  Without getting into specific policy language, a homeowners policy often will not provide any coverage for damage to or theft of the ATV.  It may provide liability while on the residence premises, but almost certainly will not cover an ATV off the residence premises (such as on trails in the neighborhood).  To cover an ATV properly typically requires a separate policy.  Liability only might cost $100 per year.  Adding physical damage typically takes the premium up to $125 to $200 per year per ATV.

Golf Carts

    Most homeowners policies cover liability for golf carts while used on a golf course for golfing purposes.   Depending upon which policy you have, coverage gets a little foggier for commuting to and from the golf course on a golf cart, and for use of a golf cart for non-golfing purposes.  Coverage may be available as an endorsement to the homeowners policy, or as a separate policy, similar to an ATV policy.

Barbie Dream Cars and Razor Scooters

     Who ever thought you would need to buy car insurance for your three year old for that battery powered car they drive around the yard?  Or for your teenager on that little battery powered scooter?  But you should!  Most homeowners policies do not cover liability for these amusement devices once they leave the premises.   Liability coverage is available as an endorsement to the homeowners policy for around $20 per year. 

Mopeds and Gas powered Scooters

     Again, most homeowners forms provide no coverage once you leave the premises.  Small scooters and mopeds usually do not require registration with DMV, and therefore are not required by law to have insurance.  But you are still liable if you cause injury or damage with them.  A policy covering a moped or scooter is typically less than $100 per year.

     If you have any of these exposures, call us to discuss proper coverage.

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