We have heard it called hunting club insurance, hunting lease insurance, hunting insurance and hunt insurance. Whatever name you choose to use, it is a form of liability insurance that is specifically designed to protect both individuals who engage in hunting and hunting-related activities and the people who permit those activities to take place on their property. It is an essential tool that anyone involved in hunting should have in their arsenal.
The Dangers of Hunting
No driver likes to dwell on the possibility of being involved in a car crash, but vehicular accidents happen every day, and even the most safety-conscious drivers can get caught up in one. Like driving, hunting has certain inherent dangers. What types of hazardous situations are hunters likely to encounter? Every year, there are reports of various hunting mishaps, including:
- Accidental shootings
- All-terrain vehicle crashes
- Falls from tree stands
- Lacerations caused by sharp instruments like knives and hatchets
- Boating and watercraft accidents
- Brush fires that endanger lives and property
Sadly, a bad situation can get even worse once everyone is out of the woods. Catastrophes often trigger lawsuits in today’s world. If a hunter, hunting club or landowner is found liable for an accident that causes injuries or damages property, then their personal assets could be vulnerable unless they have the proper insurance in place.
Why Hunting Insurance?
Do people involved in hunting really need hunt insurance? If you already have signed waivers, auto insurance and homeowners insurance, why would you need anything else? The simple truth is that while waivers and other common types of insurance are useful, they do not provide enough protection. A signed waiver is legal documentation that a hunter has acknowledged the risks involved in hunting, but is does not necessarily absolve others of their liability. Auto insurance protects drivers operating cars, trucks and other vehicles on the roads, but that coverage generally does not extend to ATVs being utilized on a hunting lease. Likewise, homeowners insurance policies offer only very limited coverage for hunting scenarios; they simply do not provide sufficient protection. In contrast, hunting insurance is designed for hunters and those who allow hunting on their land. With the right policy, trouble on a hunting trip will not endanger your family’s financial security.
Selecting the Right Insurance Policy
Deciding that you need hunt insurance is an important step, but it is only the first step. Next, you have to select the right policy for your needs. How do you choose a policy? When evaluating hunting insurance policies, it is wise to consider the following factors:
- Coverage. Look for a policy that offers general liability coverage and coverage for events involving members and guests. Be sure to check that it also covers incidents with typical hunting activities and tools like firearms and other weapons, ATVs, tree stands, watercraft, hunting dogs, and fires. In addition, verify that the general aggregate, the largest amount the insurance company will pay out over the length of the policy period, is adequate.
- Costs. The total price of a policy may be obvious. In other cases, a little detective work is necessary to determine the final price tag. For example, organizations sometimes offer their members special access to insurance policies. Anyone interested in taking advantage of a member-only insurance offer would need to consider all the fees and costs involved in membership to determine the true cost of the policy.
- Exclusions. When it comes to exclusions, insurance shoppers have to pay attention. When shopping for hunting insurance, read any exclusions carefully to ensure that you will not be left with unexpected vulnerabilities.
Over time, people’s needs and insurance offerings change. We recommend that you review your hunting insurance policy annually to ensure that you have the policy that best suits your unique situation.
Minimizing Hunting’s Risks
While hunting insurance provides an invaluable safety net in the event of an incident where a hunter, hunting club or landowner might be found liable, savvy hunters recognize that taking steps to prevent injuries and property damage can lower their exposure to risk. To minimize hunting’s hazards, use the following tips:
- Encourage everyone who hunts on the property to attend hunter safety education courses.
- Require all hunters to learn and follow firearm safety rules.
- Ensure that all property lines are clearly marked to discourage trespassing.
- Create emergency response plans to handle urgent situations like an injured member in need of evacuation or a fast-moving forest fire.
- Make it easy for hunters to report potential hazards like old wells, dilapidated tree stands and abandoned fencing; take steps to correct these problems promptly.