February 22, 2011

Are you sure you're insured off-road?

Years ago, after State Insurance had treated me like scum of the earth, I went seeking another company that would cover non-competition off-road activities. It wasn’t easy. Most didn’t want to know. Eventually, I found NZI, which would be happy to insure me “anywhere in New Zealand” whether on a formed road or not, so long as I wasn’t engaged in any sort of competitive activity. I was assured that tag-alongs and club trips were fine. All good.
Fast forward 12 years to when I was insuring the Jeep. “Of course, you’re not using it off-road,” the voice on the phone said. What followed was a nervous conversation. Clearly, NZI’s earlier attitude had altered. Eventually, the customer service person agreed that I’d be covered off-road if I was “going from A to B”. Well, fair enough, any off-roading I do pretty well falls into that category and, to be a stickler for accuracy, there’s usually a way to find a handy B just a few metres away from A! I sought a confirmation in writing that it’s still okay to go off-road and, weeks later, none has arrived.
Because my house and contents insurance are with NZI, I get an excellent price on the auto insurance, but now I’m getting twitchy and maybe it’s time to re-think, even if it means paying more. There are alternatives. For example, years ago John Barley of Auckland’s Barley Insurances Ltd developed a policy for NZ4WD Association members that covers holders on- and off-road, no ifs, ands or buts. An insurance broker, if you have one, may also be able to find you a peace-of-mind policy.
The point of this post is to suggest you be very sure your policy covers off-roading. You also need to understand what the insurer understands “off-road” to be. If you get nervous about their answers, it might be time to look around.
I have no connection whatsoever with Barley Insurances, but here’s a link to the off-road policy.

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