When you take part in a hunt at your hunting club, you act responsibly, follow all the required safety protocols and surround yourself with people who take the same sensible approach to hunting. We understand that. Unfortunately, we also know that even when people make every effort to do what is right, there are still times when things will go badly wrong. When that happens, having the proper hunting club insurance can protect you, your family, your fellow hunting club members and the person who owns the land you hunt on from financial disaster.
Do Hunting Clubs Really Need Insurance?
Hunt club insurance, which is sometimes referred to as hunting lease insurance. or hunting insurance, is form of liability insurance that shields the assets of the hunters and landowners it covers in the event of an accident or event that they could be held legally responsible for, and it is something that no hunting club should do without. The sad truth is that a fun adventure in the woods can become a tragedy in the blink of an eye. A fall from a tree stand, an all-terrain vehicle crash, a firearm-related incident, a boating accident, a nasty cut or a fierce fire can cause serious injuries or even deaths. Without sufficient liability insurance, an incident that results in property damage or bodily harm can put the personal assets of the hunting club members on the line.
Are you under the impression that other common forms of insurance offer hunters enough protection? Think again. ATVs may be vehicles, but automobile insurance does not cover them. Homeowners policies might provide a little liability coverage in certain circumstances, but there are often exclusions, so the protection offered will likely be insufficient. Having a hunting insurance policy in place helps to ensure proper coverage, which means that a moment of negligence on your hunting club will not destroy your family’s financial well-being.
What Should Be Covered?
What coverage should you be looking for when shopping for hunting insurance? Generally speaking, experts recommend a hunting insurance package that includes appropriate amounts of coverage for general liability, member-to-member incidents and events involving guests of the hunting club; the general aggregate, which is basically the maximum amount the insurer will pay for damages during the policy period, is also worth considering. In addition, you should verify that the liability coverage extends to things commonly associated with hunting and woodcraft, including:
- Hunting dogs
- Tree stands
Understanding the Ins and Outs of a Hunting Insurance Policy
When comparing hunting insurance policies, knowing what is covered is important. Understanding what is not covered is equally imperative. Some hunting insurance policies have exclusions that might leave a hunting club’s assets vulnerable if misfortune strikes. It is crucial that club officers review any policy under consideration carefully so that they are confident that they are actually receiving the coverage they need. In fact, policies should be reviewed annually to ensure that they continue to meet the hunting club’s needs effectively.
Are you considering a hunting insurance policy that is offered through an organization? Membership in that organization may be required in order to qualify for the insurance policy. With a policy like this, remember to examine the fees associated with both the policy and membership in the organization to determine the true cost of the policy.
What Can Hunting Clubs Do to Reduce Risks?
Having hunt club insurance is best viewed like learning CPR; it is an important part of being prepared that you hope you will never actually have to use. Quite simply, it is far better to prevent a problem than deal with its consequences. Hunting clubs that want to reduce the risk of an accident or injury can take a proactive approach. This can include:
- Enlisting a club member to serve as a risk-reduction officer who will identify and minimize potential hazards
- Requiring that all members and guests sign a liability release form
- Offering regular hunting safety refresher courses
- Ensuring that all emergency numbers are posted
- Creating and enforcing firearm safety rules for the hunting camp
- Marking all property lines clearly to prevent episodes of trespass
- Using highly visible signage to prevent anyone from wandering onto the shooting range by mistake
- Maintaining a map of the property that members can mark with their intended hunting area before entering the woods
- Removing any unstable tree stands to prevent falls
- Filling in any old wells and addressing similar hazards promptly
- Creating emergency response plans for potential scenarios like missing members or forest fires
- Installing smoke detectors in all hunting club buildings
- Placing fire extinguishers near fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, the camp kitchen and any outdoor cooking areas