Choosing The Best Hunting Lease Insurance Policy
Things have changed in the past few decades. Today, hunting land sales and leases are going at a premium. Even getting permission sees fierce competition. Hunters are having a hard time finding places to lease and gain access to. Part of that is due to high demand, but it’s also a product of reluctant landowners who fear liabilities. To alleviate these fears, landowners should consider choosing the best hunting lease insurance policy they can find.
A Need for Protection
While this insurance policy certainly isn’t limited to hunt clubs and leases, decades ago, these helped serve as the original inspiration for the program. And hunt clubs and leases were born in the South. It all started with the forest industry and timber companies.
Leasing itself has been around since the 1930s, in the South,” said Sean Ferbrache, chief operating officer for American Hunting Lease Association. “Large forest companies and landowners allowed leasing for trappers to trap on their lands. Liability likely came shortly after that, so although I don’t know specifically when liability coverage came into prominence, I would expect the first time a trapper or lease was injured and blamed the landowner, liability insurance was likely necessary from that point on.”
While hunt clubs (leases) date back to the late 60s and 70s in the South, leases were not as common in the Northeast and Midwest. It’s definitely a newer thing there because there weren’t large tracts of land owned by timber companies, but things have changed in the past two decades. Competition is almost as fierce now in northern and midwestern states.
Insurance for Hunters
While leases might have sparked initial interest, this offering is open to those who own hunting land, lease it, and hunt by permission. Fortunately, even landowners can take out policies on their own land. Still, it’s important to create outlines on who can hunt and participate in activities on the property.
“Any type of land and any type of game can be hunted,” Ferbrache said. “Hunting leases are pretty broad, and most contracts/leases use the words recreation and access. To be clear on leases, you don’t lease the property or any claims to the ground. What you are leasing is the right to access the property.”
“Any landowner or hunter entering into a hunting lease agreement or that has already entered in an agreement can and should purchase coverage protecting all parties,” Ferbrache continued. “Our coverage provides protection for liability claims made by the hunter vs. the landowner and the landowner vs. the hunter. Any personal injuries caused by negligence from the other party or damage to personal property due to negligence is covered.”
It is a good idea to call for information to determine what is and isn’t covered. That said, the insurance policy is underwritten by Glencar Insurance Company, which Ferbrache says has an excellent rating.
“The thing I tell people all the time is that liability insurance of any kind never pays you,” Ferbrache said. “It always pays on your behalf. So, if you are sued or blamed for causing injury or loss of property, this coverage would pay on your behalf.”
Landowners and hunters alike have some legal risks when using a property, even for recreational purposes. All parties involved can benefit from having a liability insurance plan in place. Don’t risk personal assets. It’s important to have the best hunting lease insurance policy.
“Anytime you as a landowner allow others to hunt or recreate on your property, you are accepting some risk,” Ferbrache said. “To alleviate that risk and to accept payment (lease) for access, your responsibility to your guests is heightened. Simple coverage will address your risk and allow you to permit access without fear of losing your assets.”
Leverage for Hunters
A lot of hunters knocking on doors for leases and permission properties alike don’t use all the tools at their disposal. Hunting land insurance is a major tactic to convince a hesitant landowner. Getting a policy can help secure hunting permission on private landowners.
“Talk to the landowner and make them understand that you sympathize with them and their concerns by purchasing a policy and naming them as additionally insured,” Ferbrache said. “Just think about why landowners say no. It’s almost always a liability concern and this overcomes that objection completely.”
It won’t always work, but oftentimes, it’ll help close the distance. That’s good news for those who are working hard to find a place to hunt for family, friends, and themselves.
Apply for Coverage and Cheap Piece of Mind
For those who decide to move forward, the application process is very simple. Just go to AHLA’s website and fill out the required forms.
“We have taken tremendous steps to make the process as simple as possible,” Ferbrache said. “My philosophy is that even preparing to spend time on your passion, should be as painless as possible since it is directly related to your hobby or something you cherish.”
This includes even when sitting down to plan a hunting trip, buy licenses, purchase gear, or even securing an insurance policy for a lease. “It is all part of my passion for hunting,” Ferbrache said. “So, I don’t want anything in the hunting prep to be laborious or frustrating. I and my team want the process to purchase hunting liability insurance to be as quick and simple — while still giving confidence to the buyer — as possible.”
Each year, the price of policies can vary slightly. However, the 2022-23 rates are certainly affordable. “Up to 499 acres is just $235,” Ferbrache said. “Rates increase $50 for every 500 acres after that. We do not charge an additional fee for landowners. Landowners can be added to our policy for no charge.”
How Much Does Hunting Lease (Hunt Club) Insurance Cost?
|Acreage||$1 Million||$2 Million|
|1 - 499||$235||$365|
|500 - 999||$280||$435|
|1000 - 1499||$325||$505|
|1500 - 1999||$375||$585|
|2000 - 2499||$400||$620|
|2500 - 2999||$425||$665|
|3000+||$0.14 per acre||$0.24 per acre|
“We are the only organization that sends your insurance certificate that proves you are covered, via email immediately following your purchase,” Ferbrache said. “If you get permission or sign a lease on a Wednesday, your landowner will be covered with a certificate in hand the next day and you can start hunting or hanging stands.”
Furthermore, while the AHLA is focused on general outdoorsmen and hunting club insurance, it also offers other services. This includes vacant land insurance as well as guides and outfitters insurance.
For those who still aren’t sure of how leasing works, or why it exists, check out this information episode of The American Hunting podcast. Contact the American Hunting Lease Association (AHLA) with questions. Policies are underwritten by Glencar Insurance Company, Inc.