Insurance and Finance

Auto Insurance: It’s Not Just for Cars

By Peter Simek 1.1.18

Whether it’s a weekend boating on the lake or a day of work out on the farm, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Texas in vehicles that don’t fall under the purview of your typical auto insurance policy.

So how do you navigate purchasing insurance for your alternative vehicles?

What Can Go on Your Auto Plan?

Billy Stephens, agency manager at Texas Farm Bureau Insurance’s Lubbock office, says when it comes to auto insurance, there is a general rule of thumb for whether you need to purchase a traditional auto policy or find coverage another way.

If the vehicle can be made street-legal — licensed by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles — your auto policy should cover it. That includes cars, trucks, recreational vehicles, and motorcycles.

Sometimes street-legal vehicles fall under special restrictions; but generally speaking, if you’re driving it on the street, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance will find an auto Agent to write the policy for your vehicle.

What Other Policies Might Cover Your Vehicle?

There are exceptions, of course.

Golf carts are often the primary mode of transportation for retirement communities — but the carts’ coverage would go on typical homeowners policies under contents coverage. Since carts aren’t necessarily licensed and registered vehicles, they simply count as your personal property.

All-terrain vehicles may be covered by an auto insurance policy, or they may be listed under a farm machinery policy, which will limit coverage to the value of a vehicle.

Tractors, as well as ATVs, used to get around farms and ranches don’t need to be licensed and registered as long as you keep them on the farm and don’t turn them out onto the street.

“A lot of farmers use those for running errands on the farm, checking pivot, checking the water,” Stephens says. “They can get to places where it might be a little muddier, where pickups can’t get to.”

But if you don’t live on the land and you own an ATV, don’t waste your time looking into farm machinery coverage. “A person who lives in a city would not qualify,” Stephens says. To qualify, you’ll have to prove that you own acreage, use a farm or ranch, or are employed as a farmer.

If you are driving recreationally, out to the mountains or on sand dunes, Stephens says, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance can insure the vehicle through a surplus line.

How Are Water Vehicles Insured?

Boats may sometimes be covered by auto insurance, but you may also be able to add marine vehicles to farm equipment policies.

“We can [insure] a boat up to 24-foot,” Stephen says, whether it’s an inboard, outboard, or fishing boat, “under a farm machinery and inland marine policy, and then the liability would be extended from the homeowners policy.” However, recreational vehicles like speed boats and Jet Skis would have to be insured separately.

Stephens says there are opportunities for expansion in how vehicles are insured; many farmers are beginning to use drones to do aerial surveys of their crops and fields.

“We haven’t gotten into drones yet,” Stephens says. “But it’s coming.”

The quickest and safest way to know how to insure your vehicle is to talk to your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent, who can advise you on the best policy to fit your needs.

Find more tips for staying safe behind the wheel in our winter guide to road trip safety.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation.

© 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance