Before Heading to Deer Camp: Three Things to Know

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Michigan provides some of the best hunting in the country.  Many Michiganders save cherished vacation days for the fall with their sights set on that prized deer on opening weekend.  But before heading to deer camp, make sure you understand how your insurance protects you. 

Hunting Liability:

The personal liability coverage included on your homeowner’s policy covers you for injury to others and property damage caused while hunting – on public land, on a friend’s property, on your residence premises, or on your vacant land, subject to policy provisions.  

So where are you not covered while hunting?  On land you own (other than your “residence premises,” which is typically your primary home) that is either used for farming or has a permanent structure, such as a cabin, shed, garage, or fence on the land.  For this land you’ll either need to extend liability coverage from your residence premises or purchase a separate policy.

Firearms:

Your firearms and other personal property are covered under the “contents” coverage on your homeowner’s policy.  However, some items are only covered up to a specified dollar amount.  In the case of firearms, the typical homeowner’s policy limits coverage to $1,000.  Therefore, your valuable firearms should be “scheduled” on your policy, which means each item is listed on the policy with a description and value.  The annual cost of scheduling firearms is usually about $15 per $1,000 of coverage.  

Scheduling your firearms provides several benefits:

1)  The typical policy limit of $1,000 for firearms doesn’t apply to scheduled items, so your claim settlement will be for an amount up to the limit the firearm is insured for on the policy. 

2)  No deductible applies – you don't pay any portion of the loss out-of-pocket. 

3)  Broader coverage applies.  For example, dropping your gun from a tree and breaking it, or dropping it over the side of a boat, is covered.  These types of losses are generally notcovered unless the firearm is scheduled on the policy.    

Off-Road Vehicles:

Your homeowner’s policy automatically provides liability protection for the use of your quad, Gator, Mule, or other off-road vehicle while used on your residence premises.  It does not cover liability for use of these vehicles away from your residence premises, so you’ll need to add coverage to your policy if you use it away from home.  Also, a homeowner’s policy does not cover these types of vehicles for physical damage to the vehicle, whether at your home or away from home, unless you’ve specifically added coverage to your policy.

If you have any questions about how your insurance applies to your hunting activities please call our office.  We'd be happy to discuss your specific scenario.  Wishing all the hunters a safe and successful season!

This article was written by Brian Boer.  Please send comments or questions to Brian at brian.boer@boerinsurance.com.