Off-Highway Heavy Machinery Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

    Knowing what kind of insurance you need for the specific vehicle you’re operating and where you need to go to find it can be a very tricky thing. There are so many options, a lot of which are unfortunately out to try and cheat you.

    The waters become especially muddled in the case of something like off-highway heavy machinery, the large vehicles which spend the majority of their usage off-road.

    Off-highway vehicles (OVH) generally includes things like quads, dirt bikes and dune bikes, and then the heavy machinery variations would be big vehicles used for things like construction, mining, forestry and agriculture.

    So we’re talking tractors, combine harvesters, bulldozers, cranes and many more different kinds of heavy equipment. Insurance for these kinds of vehicles is significantly less common than car insurance.

    Securing said insurance also tends to be a more complicated and lengthy process because of the heightened danger that comes with these bigger vehicles.

    There are greater risks and also unique risks for each different piece of heavy machinery.

    Getting insured for these vehicles is not easy, but it’s arguably more necessary than most other kinds of insurance too. So let’s take a look at what you need to know when you’re looking for off-highway heavy machinery insurance:

    What Risks Does Heavy Machinery Face

    It’s important that you are familiar with the different major issues that your machinery could potentially face so that when you are negotiating your insurance you can make sure that these issues are accounted for. 

    First thing you need to be aware of is the possibility of a natural disaster. These large vehicles will often be left outside on farmland or construction sites so that they can be accessed easily once work starts again.

    This is logical of course, but it also means that the possibility of being exposed to a natural disaster is greatly increased. Hurricanes, monsoons and earthquakes are all things which can wreak havoc on your equipment.

    There’s also the possibility of wildfires, especially if you are in a warmer area or if the machinery you are trying to protect is used for forestry or agriculture. And then another very common problem is rodent infestation.

    Rats, mice, squirrels and other kinds of critters can set themselves up in your machinery, chew through the wires and destroy the internal, electric setup. Seems like a strange concern, but rodents basically exist for the sole purpose of chewing through everything.

    This can be a very expensive problem for you if you’re not insured. You should try and take some steps to keep rodents away from your machinery anyway, but the risk is always there so it’s best to be covered.

    Another risk is of course the possibility of a collision or accident. Heavy machine vehicles are difficult to control and so the possibility of crashing is more likely. And then theft is also a huge risk. 

    The machines will typically sell quite well or can be demolished for scrap and so theft is unfortunately quite common.

    What Should Your Insurance Cover

    The kind of coverage that you need to look for should cover all of your bases in terms of what can go wrong with your machinery. You want to be able to deal with repairs and replacements for no cost, or for just a small deductible. 

    The best heavy equipment insurance should cover both the operating risk and also third-party liability.

    The operating risk is what is going to be your coverage for most of the issues discussed in the above section.

    So it will ensure you are protected if you deal with any damage that occurs when the vehicle is being operated as well as things like theft, fire and the other natural disasters that we listed already. 

    Third-party liability will help to keep you protected if you end up getting sued for damage to someone else’s property, or themselves for that matter, that occurs as a consequence of your machinery.

    You need to make sure that both of these things are a part of your policy before you agree to anything. This stuff is essential coverage. 

    Additional Coverage

    There are a few extra things to think about too, some of which might not apply to the specific kind of machinery that you are trying to insure but which you should definitely be aware of in case they do.

    First of all, there is operator insurance, and this one does apply to everybody who operates heavy machinery. The things we talked about before are all designed to protect the vehicles, but operator insurance protects you.

    You could also look into business interruption insurance which will protect you against loss of income due to the breakdown of machinery. This is often a greater consequence than the actual loss of machinery so it’s worth checking out. 

    You have rental reimbursement to think about too. If you do need to rent equipment or machine parts to replace ones that are damaged, you can get some of that money back if you have the right kind of coverage. 

    As you can see, there is a lot to think about and due to the propensity of risks and dangers you are not exactly in an ideal position when trying to find reliable, affordable off-highway heavy machinery insurance.

    But if you do your research, and you make sure that you are aware of all the risks that you need to get coverage from as well as the various kinds of additional coverage that you can get, then you can get well-protected and have some peace of mind about your machinery.

    Auto Insurance Quote offers a guide to finding the cheaper operator insurance

    Read the guide

    Chiara De Paoli
    Editor at HeavyQuip Magazine and International Operations Manager for V22 Media