This is the time of year when ponds and lakes are frozen. Soon you’ll be getting ready to get your vehicle out on the open, frozen water to enjoy the great outdoors. But what would you do if the unthinkable – but sinkable – happens and your vehicle breaks through the ice?
Wendy Wagner, senior Personal Lines underwriter will discuss how an insurance policy will cover this scary situation.
How is your car covered if it breaks through the ice?
As long as you have comprehensive (other than collision) coverage on the auto, there’s actual cash value coverage for the auto. West Bend will also provide coverage for the retrieval cost of the vehicle’s extraction from the body of water.
What happens if your car does not have comprehensive coverage (other than collision)?
West Bend will provide coverage for the retrieval costs of the vehicle’s extraction from the body of water as property damage under your auto liability coverage.
There’s no coverage for the cost of the vehicle itself. Any fines assessed to you for the car falling through the ice would also be paid by you.
What happens if your ATV, snowmobile, or other recreational vehicle breaks though the ice?
If your recreational vehicle carries physical damage coverage, it would be covered if it sinks. The deductible would apply. West Bend would also provide coverage for the retrieval costs of the recreational vehicle’s extraction from the body of water.
What happens if your ATV, snowmobile, or other recreational vehicle doesn’t have comprehensive coverage (other than collision)?
If you don’t have physical damage coverage on your recreational vehicle, West Bend would provide up to $1,000 of coverage for the recreational vehicle itself and the retrieval costs of the recreational vehicle’s extraction from the body of water.
Pollution and any other fines assessed to you for the recreational vehicle falling through the ice would be paid by you.
Before heading out on the ice
To keep you and your vehicle afloat, be sure to take the necessary safety precautions. First, check with your local bait shop or lakeside resort about ice conditions, then check the ice thickness when you get there.
Ice thickness guidelines:2" or less - STAY OFF!
4" - Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5" - Snowmobile or ATV
8" - 12" - Car or small pickup
12" - 15" - Medium truck
Remember, temperature, snow cover, currents, and springs all affect ice safety. Ice is rarely the same thickness over a single body of water; it can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. Check the ice at least every 150 feet. Park cars, pickups, and sport utility vehicles at least 50 feet apart and move them every two hours to prevent sinking.
With common sense and precaution, you’ll keep your vehicles above water and enjoy a safe season outdoors!
Do you have any tips or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.
This article is intended for general educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to communicate legal or professional advice. Further, this article is not an offer to sell insurance. Please consult with your licensed insurance agent for specific coverage details and your insurance eligibility. All policies are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, definitions, and exclusions contained therein.