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Why you Should Get A Four Wheel Drive Offroad Auto Insurance Car Quote by John Barley at Barley Insurances Ltd

With the ever increasing number of off-road 4x4 vehicles being produced by car manufacturers there is a growing trend for people to believe they can use their 4WD cars and 4x4 trucks as shown in the TV ads.

Some of the extreme 4x4 action - like bulls driving off cliffs - is so exaggerated it obviously wouldn't be copied, but in some other ads the line of what is reasonable becomes blurry.

This is particularly so for those inexperienced at off road driving who may be considering purchasing their first four wheel drive wagons, 4x4 vans or a new SUV, (sports utility vehicle).

The sales brochures reinforce that vision by describing the advertised four wheel drive vehicle as capable of going places impossible to access with a conventional car. Cheap Japanese 4wd imports have reduced the cost of used 4x4's to a point that they are affordable to most people.

The options and choices in these new all terrain vehicles has never been so good, but buyers should always remember they are far from indestructible and can still get stuck, have accidents and roll over if due care is not taken. Fatal Suv Rollover Kills three people on Muriwai Beach

Another crucial thing a lot of people don't realize is that when you get your new car insurance quote for the 4WD vehicle you need to make sure you are covered for offroad use!

off road recovery tips

Many off road vehicles in New Zealand are Japanese 4wd imports and while driving on beach sand is relatively easy, some areas can be tricky. Above: Car driving beach negotiates a rocky obstacle during a 4wd club outing with some 4x4 driving tips being offered by helpful club members. Four wheel drive hub locks need to be engaged and off road emergency equipment should be carried at all times. The 4WD clubs runs many four wheel drive events and they are a great place to learn all the off road recovery tips for getting out of tight spots.

In a perfect world we would expect our regular motor vehicle insurer to cover the vehicle no matter what the terrain.  After all the policy states that “the vehicle is being used in accordance with the description of use for its designed purpose” – ie a 4WD is capable of crossing all forms of terrain and it is being used for private purposes. 

The difficulty, however, comes into play when the vehicle is being used in a manner in which the insurance company believes will endanger the vehicle.  One of the principal terms and conditions of cover is that “the insured has to be seen to be protecting the item insured and minimizing likelihood of loss”

The insurance policy is a contract whereby the two parties that enter into the contract both have equal parts to play. For example the insured must act as though they are uninsured and therefore protecting the interests of their insurer.  

If one party (specifically you) fail to perform as stated in the insurance contract there can the possibility of the insurance company avoiding liability. 

To eliminate such questions, Barley Insurances have produced a product whereby the insured can be confident in knowing that their vehicle is fully insured. This means the underwriter knows the vehicle will be crossing rivers, going down paper roads, driving on beaches and being used on terrain which is just not suitable for an ordinary vehicle.

4wd trail wagon utility vehicles

4wd trail wagon utility vehicles allow access to some secluded spots. This panorama was taken at a top fishing spot 26 miles up Muriwai Beach. A group of diesel four wheel drive vehicles made the trip up for a Free Fishing Kites Demo.

The writer of this article is well aware that many insurers will state over the phone (we tested this ourselves) stating that they will cover the use of the vehicle on and off road.  However,  in the event of a high valued claim the insurer will look at the facts behind the claim very carefully to ensure that it falls within the bounds of the insurance contract.

One of my clients whilst insuring his 4WD under a regular motor vehicle policy discussed such a claim he had made which his previous insurer declined to pay out on even though they had told him that they would cover his vehicle off road. 

He had accidentally drowned the vehicle in a river, they declined the claim on the grounds that as there was a bridge some 200 yards away from the river and that the insured had not fulfilled his obligation under the contract in safeguarding his property.  Their reasoning was that to safeguard the vehicle and ‘act as though you were uninsured’ he should have crossed the river using the road bridge a short distance away. 

This highlights the major principal of insurance, and the means by which an insurance company can decline liability. 

On Line Auto Insurance Quote Designed For 4WD Off Road Users

The safest solution for four wheel drive users is to purchase a cover which has been written for them. A 4WD car insurance policy which specifically covers the vehicle for both on road and off road use. 

In recognition of the problems people were having in securing comprehensive off road cover from conventional car insurers Barley Insurances developed an off-road policy. The new policy took some time to work through with the underwriters. Initially the insurance company was a little hesitant at providing a special 4WD Off-Road coverage for us, but eventually adopted the well tested wording from their Australian offices specifically for Barley Insurances Ltd.

The new offroad policy was initially limited to members of the 4WD Association. However, after talking with Paul's Fishing Kites we have decided to relax this rule a little to accommodate beach users getting to their fishing spots.  We recognize that fishing with kites presents the opportunity for the fishing enthusiast to take the vehicle onto beaches well away from general public and recovery services. 

However, it is still important to know how to operate the vehicle safely, looking at surfaces and identifying hazards on the beach.

The success of the Barley Insurances Ltd cover has been specifically due to the fact that it is provided primarily to 4WD Association members who have a higher level of 4WD driver skill than the average 4WD driver. The 4WD Association provides excellent driver training and we highly reccommend joining one of their clubs. 

The result of limiting the Off-Road Policy to 4WD Association members for the last six years has been very encouraging to the point that the insurer has offered a very extensive off road 4x4 policy knowing that the insured will be using the vehicle in the correct manner in relation to its designed purpose.

Historically, other insurers who have given off-road policy's to all and sundry have withdrawn their 4WD covers because heavy claims made by inexperience off road drivers the policy programme uneconomic. This is why we have asked questions about your previous experience in our 4x4 On Line Auto Insurance Quote form.

1985 Toyata 4WD Truck

Above: We have a hut in the Orongorongo valley just out of Wellington. There is a bit of a story with this. My husband crashed the truck in June 08 with no insurance.

We had the chassis replaced but I don't think they had put the 4x4 connection back on. We were heading to our hut on the weekend of the 21.12.08 and had two other vehicles with us just in case something happened and we needed a tow.

Well my mate had gone through the river and I followed him, we were nearly out the other side when I got caught in a hole. I put my truck into reverse to try and get out. The current was so fast and strong that within minutes the river had come up to the top of the windows.

There was a panic as people were trying to get a tow rope to me but the current was to strong. Then we found out that my front hook was not put back on my truck after they had replaced the chassis.

I have now learnt to check these things out before heading to the hills after an accident.

4wd rolled offroad

Above: Location is Rallywoods, Wellington. The driver reported, We were just having fun all morning then on returning to lunch down a narrow track, my wheels went up on the side a bit, then a bit further up, then it was over on my side. It took four other vehicles with winches and strops about two hours to get me back on my feet.

Off road accident

Above: This accident happened in the early hours along a very dusty single-track road in Taranaki, when I drove into a washout that I didn’t see due to the dust. The vehicle rolled down the bank and into a stream. It took 3 winches and several hours to extract the following day.

Another example: One of our client’s some years ago took their 4x4 Toyota Surf along Muriwai beach thinking that he was driving on hard sand, failed to recognize a specific flat spot of water and accordingly dropped his vehicle into a surf pool.  The vehicle not only dropped into the hole but also turned turtle and was accordingly written off.  Needless to say the client’s policy under the exclusive Barley Insurances 4WD Off-Road cover was settled for the full value of the vehicle.

A recent claim was made by one of our clients who was traversing a hill in his new vehicle, got it wrong and the vehicle accordingly rolled over.  The insurance company paid out for a brand new vehicle fresh from the car dealer. 

Normally this claim would be questioned by an insurance company and in all probability arguments would ensue.  In fact our client stated that when their friends saw the vehicle and got the details of the accident they all said “your car insurance company won’t cover that”. 

Our client very confidently said that his insurance company had agreed to the claim and a replacement vehicle was being arranged.

4WD Association

You readers may be interested to know that the 4WD Association and its member clubs have group outings and during the trips they provide training on how to maneuver - and most of all safely use - the vehicles right through to extreme driver training. 

The vehicles are being used for their designed purpose and through expert tuition drivers learn to extend their skills and fully utilize the vehicle’s capabilities without endangering the vehicle or the people within.

If you haven't purchased your vehicle yet these guys are the ones to talk to regarding four wheel drive reviews and they can go through a list of four wheel drive cars and trucks with you and tell you the pros and cons of each. 

We suggest that if you do buy a 4WD you join the 4WD Association and take advantage of their training although this is not necessary to get your vehicle insured by us.

A list of the various 4WD clubs within New Zealand can be obtained at people-clubs.asp.

The members of these clubs are great people and use their vehicles to gain access to places around New Zealand that the general public doesn't’t get to view.

Should you be interested in obtaining terms  for the 4WD Off-Road Insurance Cover please contact John Barley at Barley Insurances Ltd by using the Four wheel drive offroad auto insurance car quote online form.

The Rural Fire Services Act

This brings us to another point.  Remember the advert on TV about safe fire practices on a beach? 

Well many people are not aware that if you start a fire out on a beach or in the forest and it gets out of control, you can personally be fined up to $500,000 under the Rural Fire Services Act.  One other product that we have developed due to a hole in the motor policy is a cover for this fine. 

The premium is only $67.50 so gives peace of mind for a relatively low cost. Fire Insurance Quote


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