insurance

Why hunting clubs need liability insurance

Sudol says insurance premiums now make up a minuscule part of hunt leases.

"In Nebraska, to get 400 acres of deer hunting on the North Platte River that has good duck hunting as well probably costs $7,000 to $10,000 a year, but that would come with a small three-bedroom farmhouse. The better the hunting and the more competition there is for the lease, the more expensive the lease is," he says.

Claims can be sizable

In fact, Reed points out that hunt club insurance rates today are half of what they were in the early 1990s, in part because insurers have become more comfortable with the relatively low frequency of claims. The downside is, when you have a claim, it can be sizable.

Such as gunshot claims?

"Self-inflicted, believe it or not. Just carelessness with a firearm," says Lowrimore. "A lot of it has to do with the comfort factor; people get comfortable and they get complacent. And then emotions; you get excited. You know what the wilds can do when you're out there in it."

Actually, the top two hunt club accident claims might surprise you.

"ATVs and ATVs," Sudol says. "Farmers often have chain or wires up across roads in the woods and people hit them. That's why these policies cover landowners, too."

ATV coverage remains a controversial topic among hunt club insurers. They recognize that hunters need ATVs to carry guns and supplies across miles of wilderness but question whether they should be liable for nonhunting-related ATV use.

"Our coverage is truly in place for hunt club activities. There would be some question whether 12 kids out riding an ATV would be hunt club activity. That would be a gray area that would have to really be investigated," Lowrimore says.

Hunt club insurance policies are sold through state forestry services, outdoor sportsman clubs, land lease brokers such as Hunting Lease Network and Base Camp Leasing, corporate land managers and the American Hunting Lease Association, as well as directly from licensed agents and brokers.

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