Few hunters enter the woods with the intention of getting hurt or causing injury or property damage, but bad things can happen to even the most safety-minded people. Sadly, a moment of inattention, a touch of complacency or simple bad luck can have serious consequences. If disaster strikes while you are hunting, are you prepared for the fallout? If you do not have a good hunting leases insurance policy in place, then the answer is probably no.
What Can Go Wrong?
Hunting is a great way to spend time enjoying the outdoors, but it is not without risks. What can go wrong? Every year, we hear stories about hunters who find themselves confronted with a wide range of dangerous scenarios. These include:
- Crashes involving all-terrain vehicles
- Injuries from firearms
- Accidents while operating watercraft
- Falls from tree stands
- Cuts from knives and other sharp instruments
- Fires that escape control
Without hunting insurance, an accident that results in property damage or bodily injury could trigger a lawsuit that puts the personal assets of the hunter or the hunting club they belong to at risk. Why take a chance that a moment of negligence while hunting could destroy your family’s financial security?
Why Hunting Insurance Is a Must
Hunting insurance, which is also known as hunting leases insurance and hunting club insurance, offers special liability insurance that is specifically designed to cover the risks hunters are likely to encounter. Why do hunters need it? It provides coverage for things that other common insurance policies do not. For example, auto insurance policies do not cover ATVs, and most homeowners insurance policies exclude off-of-premises usage of ATVs. This means that hunters who use their ATVs to transport people and equipment on property that has been leased for hunting activities are operating without a safety net unless they have hunting insurance.
Many hunting clubs and landowners require hunters to sign liability waivers. While these documents provide proof that hunters were aware of the inherent risks involved in hunting, they are no substitute for insurance. The right insurance plan provides coverage that protects hunters, their guests and the people who own the land that they are leasing.
What Should Hunters Consider When Selecting a Policy?
When shopping for a hunting insurance policy, how do you know which one to choose? There are a number of factors that you should evaluate carefully, including:
- Coverage. Experts recommend selecting a policy that includes coverage for general liability and incidents involving both members and guests. Hunters need to make sure that the policy they choose provides liability insurance for common hunting tools and activities like firearms, tree stands, hunting dogs, ATVs, watercraft and fires. They should also check that the general aggregate, the maximum amount the insurance company will pay out over the policy period, is sufficient.
- Exclusions. Savvy insurance shoppers always evaluate any exclusions carefully. When shopping for hunting insurance, try to avoid policies with exclusions that leave you vulnerable when involved in common hunting activities.
- Costs. In some cases, the price tag for the policy may be clear. However, some insurance policies are through organizations, and only members qualify for them. This is not a bad thing, but in this situation, it is important to investigate all the fees and costs involved in membership and consider them when determining the true price of the policy.
We understand that both your needs and the details of your policy may change over time, so we suggest that you review your hunting insurance policy each year to verify that it continues to be the best fit for your purposes.
How Can Hunters Minimize Their Exposure to Risk?
Hunting leases insurance shields hunters’ personal assets, protecting their financial security and offering invaluable peace of mind in the event of an accident. While it is important to have it, it is best for everyone involved if the policy never has to be used. There are many steps that hunters can take to minimize their exposure to risk. It can be as easy as holding annual refresher courses on hunter safety and requiring everyone who hunts on the leased property to follow firearm safety rules. Marking all property lines can help prevent trespassing, and being proactive in addressing potential hazards on the property like rickety tree stands or old wells can help keep everyone who uses the property safer. We also encourage hunting clubs of all sizes to think ahead, identify potential problems and create emergency response plans before disaster strikes.