Insuring your vehicle
Insurance companies have policies to cover any kind of vehicle — from the family minivan used to cart kids and gear to soccer games to motorcycles used for cruising to RVs for long trips and to ATVs for fun on the trails. In addition to cost-reducing options offered by some insurers, there are certain laws and regulations that vary by state that you may need to consider.
It’s common knowledge that bundling all your policies together with one company can save you a bundle, as can having a good student and good driving records. Some companies go a step further. Young drivers who complete State Farm’s Steer Clear Course and have a clean driving record can get discounts, said spokeswoman Missy Dundov. Progressive and Allstate have programs that use technology to provide additional discounts of up to 30 percent, according to company web sites. Allstate’s DRIVEWISE collects mileage, miles per hour and time driven. Progressive’s Snapshot looks at how much and when consumers drive, but instead of speed they consider hard stops and braking, according to progressive.com. The programs are not available in all states.
An RV policy covers much more than regular car insurance, according to carinsurancecomparison.com, including the TV, DVD player and other gadgets inside, plus the awnings, sliding doors and other parts of the vehicle. Warning for long-distance travelers: crossing the border into Mexico will require a Mexican rider added on to your current policy to cover collision and comprehensive plus a separate Mexican policy to cover liability. Without the separate policy, your U.S. policy can’t help you.
If used solely at home, an ATV is typically covered under a homeowner policy. However, if you plan to hit the trails elsewhere, a separate ATV policy would be needed, Dundov said. If it will be used on the road, it would be rated as a private passenger vehicle under a six-month policy. “This is allowed in several counties throughout the Midwest, often requiring an appropriate ‘tag’ from the DNR,” Dundov said. Taking a safety course could result in some savings, according to allstate.com.
Most states require a motorcycle permit and eventually a motorcycle endorsement along with a regular operator’s license, Dundov said. With Allstate, you can save an additional 5 percent by passing a motorcycle safe driving course in the past three years and another 10 percent on some premiums by belonging to a motorcycle association such as the American Motorcyclists Association, Motorcycle Safety Foundation or Motorcycle Touring Association.
At State Farm, boat insurance covers the boat itself, motors, equipment, trailer, medical payments for the insured and other occupants, emergency service and watercraft liability. Optional coverage is available if you plan to entertain a client onboard, Dundov said. You don’t need a valid driver’s to operate a boat; however, some states require completion of a safety course. “One needs to know what these requirements are for their state, and/or the state in which they will be operating their watercraft,” Dundov said.