Insurance for “Big Boy” Toys

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They say the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Many households have these high priced toys in them and never think about whether or not they have the proper insurance to protect them. We buy an insurance policy to protect our assets in case we get hit with a claim that could bring about financial harm.

Let’s review. If we mess up and have an accident that is our fault, we legally owe the people we harm for their lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering.  We also owe them to put their property back like it was before the accident. Property and Casualty policies (homeowner insurance, auto insurance, etc.) contain liability coverage to protect us from having to pay these amounts out of pocket. However, they don’t cover everything. In addition, if the limit on our policy isn’t enough to cover what we owe, the court will garnish wages and take the assets of the at fault person.

Now, back to the toys. Many households have pleasure items such as boats, jet skis, motorcycles, all terrain vehicles (ATV’s) and 4-wheelers in them that we use to help us have fun. These toys put a lot of smiles on faces while we’re using them in our leisure activities. However, people don’t always consider the type of insurance coverage they need in order to protect them.

ATV, 4-Wheeler and Dirt Bike

Consider the ATV, 4-wheeler or dirt bike (off-road motorcycle). Homeowner policies have exclusions saying these are recognized as motor vehicles, and thus won’t be covered under a homeowner policy if a loss occurs.

It doesn’t even matter if the motor vehicle isn’t eligible to be licensed to operate on roadways. So, if it’s stolen, there’s no coverage for the bike itself. And, if an injury or property damage occurs while it’s being operated, there’s no coverage for that either.

However, if the motor vehicle is used solely to service the residence premises, for example a lawn mower, then the homeowner policy will cover losses caused by and to the mower. There could even be a circumstance where an ATV is being used only on the property for purposes of service, and could be covered. However, if the grand kids get on it and start riding to have fun, there’s no coverage. The word “solely” means just that.

Watercraft

Same thing with watercraft, such as boats and jet skis. Watercraft can be covered under a homeowner policy for physical damage, up to $1,500. This amount might take care of a canoe, or small “john boat”, but not that 24 foot cabin cruiser.

And, when it comes to liability, the homeowner policy will cover accidents caused by the insured, if certain length and motor horsepower requirements are met. The exclusion says more than 25 horsepower. This knocks out most boats and all jet skis. Yet, every weekend on Lake Lanier and waterways across the U.S., people zip across the water in a boat or jet ski that has no insurance coverage.

Policies for “Big Boy” Toys

In order to properly protect yourself and your assets, you need to have specific policies on your toys. Many times they’re very inexpensive to insure. The peace of mind gained from knowing you have the proper coverage on your toys will keep the smile on your face that the toys were designed to put there!

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