The coronavirus has touched everyone’s lives in 2020. If you’re lucky, the pandemic has only meant that you’ve been stuck working from home and/or forced into home-schooling. But with our usual way of life stymied for several long months now, many of us are starting to need to take a break.
If you have an off-road vehicle or have the means to buy one, you are in luck. What better time than now to go off-roading? It’s a great way to get out and have fun while still abiding by social-distancing mandates due to COVID-19.
Let’s whet your appetite and get you all set for an adventure. Where to go? We’ll take you to some great locations. What to drive? We’ll showcase some sweet thrill-seekers. How to insure? We’ll make that information easy with a 4wd insurance comparison and other tips.
Top Off Road Spots in the United States
The United States is a vast area that includes many adventurous, even dangerous, roads that are perfect for off-roading. From western states to the eastern coast, here are the best locations for the perfect off-roading trip.
Western Off-Road Locations
Indeed. The West is our go-to when looking for places for America’s best 4x4 road trips.
The many options out west are plenty enough to keep you busy for a while. Of course, there are double-digit off-roading opportunities in the Rocky Mountain Region, with six in Colorado and four in Utah. California appears twice, and Washington State and Alaska tie with a mention each.
Our top three choices for off-roading out west are:
Eastern Off-Road Locations
Let’s give the other side of the United States a little love. The states in the eastern side of the country are smaller, so there’s a smaller amount of public lands, but there are still a lot of incredible experiences to try.
Your starter list should include:
- Maine – Rocky Mountain Terrain Park and Beartown State Forest
- Vermont – Green Mountain National Forest
- New Hampshire – Jericho Mountain State Park
- Massachusetts – Cape Cod National Seashore
- Connecticut – Pachaug State Forest
- Rhode Island – Pulaski State Park
- New York – Tall Pines and Hunter Mountain
- Pennsylvania – Bald Eagle State Forest
- New Jersey – Blue Hole Road
Top Off-Road Vehicles
Look no further than this well-rounded, tested, and across-the-board agreed-upon overview of the best of what’s offered in the off-roading vehicle world.
Best Overall – Jeep Wrangler
This vehicle is always a list-topper. Why? The Jeep Wrangler has an amazing off-road capability, a proud history (with roots dating back to the original World War II military vehicle), and versatility.
The Wrangler is a fun Transformer, with a convertible top and removable doors. It’s also a good climber. And it’s keeping up with the times in regards to infotainment system compatibility as well as in the fuel tank. And all of this for a price tag only in the high $20,000s range.
Best High-end – Land Rover Range Rover
If you want VIP-style pampering while you’re roaring through nearly three feet of water, then by all means off-road in high style in the Land Rover Range Rover.
You’ll be spoiled with precision performance while sporting a distinctive look. And you will be the envy of all with your $90,000-plus purchase.
Best Pickup Truck – Ram 1500 Rebel
Setting up camp for a big out-of-the-way family reunion? If you need hauling space, this trail-tamer with a deep storage bin is for you. The Ram 1500 Rebel has great driving control and power off-road while still managing to be smooth on-road. Its price tag can be $44,000 or more.
Most Reliable – Toyota 4Runner
Some vehicles may be sold solely on the brand, and Toyota is synonymous with dependability. But there’s also an off-roader’s not-so-little helpers included on the Toyota 4Runner, including Active Traction Control, Hill-Start Assist Control, Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control, along with locking rear tire differential.
Get the goods with this looker for $36,00 plus.
Most Family Friendly – Nissan Armada
Leery to take your kids on your annual trek to DisneyWorld? Not even sure what’s open? Then make it a trip of off-road family time for up to eight of you! The Nissan Armada has tons of features, good horsepower, upscale interior.
Show the next generation the fun of off-roading for this vehicle that has a base price of $47,000.
Top Off-Road Insurance Options
Every hobby comes with some additional expenses, right? You’ll most likely be paying more for car insurance for a 4WD vehicle than a 2WD drive.
First of all, 4WD vehicles are usually pricier than 2WD and therefore costlier for insurance companies to replace. And because of that, the cost of coverage will be higher.
Insurance underwriting is all about risk, and obviously it’s higher risk if you’re driving a vehicle where you can ditch the paved roads and let loose on sand, gravel, riverbeds, mud, snow, rocks, whatever natural terrain you choose.
Insurers see all that roughhousing as a higher risk, meaning more potential for repairs plus more parts than a 2WD which steers them to expecting more costs from you as the insured. So what can you do?
Consider the Factors for Insurance Rates
Start with auto insurance companies best-known for offering coverage for off-road vehicles. Coverages like protection for collision damage, bodily injury, and property damage are important for off-roading. You might be certified in giving CPR and other life-saving skills on such off-road trips, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be insured and get proper medical attention if necessary. The top three are State Farm, Allstate, and Farmers.
The make and model of vehicle is just one of many factors in determining car insurance rates. Other factors include your age (a significant factor), gender, marital status, education, and profession. Look into the other factors that you can control, too, like your driving record and credit score.
Driving carefully and paying your bills on time can be advantageous to your vehicle insurance rate. You may also want to look into increasing your deductible. If you can afford to pay a bit more out of pocket monthly; in the event of a claim, you can lower your insurance costs.
Ask about Insurance Discounts
Don’t forget to ask about every available discount, and double check that any discounts are included when you receive your quote. Some typical discounts include bundling (multiple policies with the same company), multi-vehicle, safe driver, paperless, early signing, and full pay.
But there are also hidden discounts insurance companies don’t advertise as much.
Be proactive and ask for them. Do you have a teen who gets good grades? Check for a good student discount. Also look into professional discounts; they are available for nurses, teachers, first responders, veterans, and federal employees, for starters.
Compare Insurance Rates
Your best bet for insurance? Shop around to find the best price. Start your search easily with online quotes. Yes, car insurance isn’t a fascinating subject to most of us, but I highly recommend taking that bit of time to dig into it.
I can happily report that I finally did, and I am now saving nearly $700 a year on my auto-and-home insurance bundle. Oh yes, that bundle discount can be a big saver.
So now that you’ve got the information on the best locations, best vehicles, and best ways to save on insurance, you’re ready for that much-needed break. It’s time to off-road into the sunset!
|Karen Condor is a writer, editor, and researcher for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. She loves to travel and has encountered quite a few dangerous roads while traveling across the United States.|