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Lawn Equipment Insurance – Do you really need it?

By: Author John Cunningham. Published: 2019/08/12 at 2:01 pm

Very few of us ever actually read our insurance policy, but that’s exactly what we need to do. The latest ISO HO 3 insurance policy may actually exclude coverage for household lawn equipment.

What does lawn equipment insurance actually cover? That, of course, depends on the type of insurance you have. Some policies may exclude your lawn equipment on the grounds that you once cut your neighbor’s lawn.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, that’s what some ISO policies state. In this guide, we’ll take a look at it in greater detail.

Tractor mower accident

I Don’t Have Mower Cover, So What?

You don’t have to have insurance, but there’s a real risk beyond the obvious risk of lawn equipment theft. Consider for a moment having to replace every small and large piece of garden equipment you own. I know I have collected lots of kit, I’ve maintained them and upgraded them over the years, and replacing them all at once would sting. 

Lawn tractors are pretty expensive. Lots of people buy them on credit; finance companies will likely insist you have total loss cover. But the most important reason, by far, for having insurance….. public liability. Imagine your mower causes serious injury to a person, animal, or property. Legal, medical, and repair bills could run into millions, certainly enough to bankrupt a homeowner.

Does Your Policy Cover Mowers?

OK, so you probably have an insurance policy, and that’s great, but you may not have lawn equipment cover, and here’s why. ISO, as you may know, is the Insurance Services Office and they are an advisory organization for the insurance industry. They offer various services to insurance companies, including the standardized text for insurance forms.
Insurance companies don’t have to use these forms, but many do. There’s a good chance that your insurance provider uses these forms. Depending on which of these ISO forms your policy is written on will dictate its cover limitations.
The policy will have the ISO form code at the top of the document.
It may read:

HO 00 03 04 91 
HO 00 03 10 00
HO 00 03 05 11

Policies written on the 1991 forms don’t limit the liability of lawn equipment. “We do cover vehicles or conveyances not subject to motor vehicle registration which are: a. Used to service an “insured’s” residence; or

Policies written on the 2000 forms moved things up a notch in favor of the insurance company. “We do cover “motor vehicles” not required to be registered for use on public roads or property which are: a. Used solely to service an “insured’s” residence; or.”

This is an out for the insurance company, if you have ever used your lawn equipment or tractor mower off the boundaries of your property, ie cut a neighbor’s lawn, your mower is no longer covered by the policy.

Policies written on the 2011 forms moved backward a little in favor of the insured. “Motor vehicles” not required to be registered for use on public roads or property which are: (a) Used solely to service a residence or

This means you can cut the neighbor’s lawn and trim their hedge with your trimmer, and your cover is intact. But your cover will be extinguished if you cut, say, a baseball field or use any of your garden equipment on public or commercial property.

Tractor on lawn

What Type Of Mower Insurance Do I Need?

I’m not trying to sell you insurance here; my aim is to give you a basic outline of insurance and how it relates to your liability as a lawn equipment owner and user. Policies are usually divided into Open Perils and Named Perils.

Open Perils covers all homeowner’s risks, but I use the word “All” with caution. All insurance policies will have listed limitations; if it’s in the excluded section, it’s not covered.

Basically, this is the best type of policy and is obviously more expensive.

Named Perils will usually name about 16 common homeowner losses that they’ll cover. The advantage of this type of policy is that it’s cheaper. Of course, it may not be cheaper; it depends on what exactly it covers.

Policies are graded; HO3 is a common type of policy, and it’s also pretty basic. Read the fine print; this policy will typically have open perils for the property but named perils for the contents, so read those exclusions carefully. 

You may find “Do I need Chainsaw insurance” helpful also.

Related Questions

Are tools covered under household insurance? Most household insurance policies will cover tools in their contents. However, the size of your deductible may make a claim uneconomic.

Does homeowners insurance cover lawn damage? Most homeowners insurance policies will cover lawn damage unless it’s listed on your policy as an “excluded peril.”

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