Decided not to renew Boondockers Welcome - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:45 AM   #1
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Name: John
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Smith Valley, Nevada
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Decided not to renew Boondockers Welcome

At first this organization seemed great, and we had some nice folks stop over at our place. We have plenty of room and a full hookup site.

But the agreement that all potential hosts have to agree to in advance, is to provide full insurance coverage for anyone camping on their property. This means full medical coverage for any injuries occurring on your property, or claimed to have happened on your property.

We all have to protect our property and ourselves with insurance. I get that.

I entered into a conversation with Boondockers Welcome and suggested they should have insurance and cover the cost with membership fees. But they do not want to do that, and insist the homeowners provide insurance.

They do have a backup insurance plan, but have made it clear it will only be used once the homeowner's insurance policy is exhausted, and only then after being sued and losing the suit. Their insurance is useless and designed to protect Boondockers Welcome, not the homeowner. Boondockers Welcome's interest is in growing their business and reducing liability for themselves. They have risk because they are introducing strangers to homeowners, and facilitating camping by those strangers, on the homeowners property.

They balked when I defined the insurance requirement as "providing full medical coverage for strangers", by insisting that was not what it was. But the fact remains, the insurance is to cover medical costs from a fall, or other event on our property, so, by definition, it is medical insurance. And it is not restricted to a kind of medical event. It is medical insurance, among other things, such as property damage to a camper's trailer if a tree should fall, etc.

We've had honorable people come to stay and we've had not so honorable come to stay. We had no way of determining which was which, until they arrived. I can see this becoming a nightmare if someone falls off their trailer steps, and sues us for medical care. Or worse yet, shows up with a pre-existing injury, claims it happened on our place, and therefore, is our fault. Suddenly, lawyers are involved and everyone loses, especially the homeowner. And this, after we have agreed in advance to cover them.

Be careful with this program, that seems good at first glance. There is much more to it than helping a fellow traveler. Boondockers Welcome has already written to me and said their coverage would not be used unless the homeowner's insurance was exhausted, and they were forced to pay by losing a lawsuit. At that point, I knew who would be on the hook if anything happened, or was claimed to have happened.

I've ended my association with them.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:58 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Gig Economy where all of the risk is on the "worker". A lot of people found that out the hard way with Uber and Lyft. Their insurance companies refused to pay the claim when they had an accident driving a passenger "on the clock". Uber and Lyft certainly weren't going to pay.
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Old 04-26-2021, 12:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
Be careful with this program, that seems good at first glance. There is much more to it than helping a fellow traveler. Boondockers Welcome has already written to me and said their coverage would not be used unless the homeowner's insurance was exhausted, and they were forced to pay by losing a lawsuit. At that point, I knew who would be on the hook if anything happened, or was claimed to have happened.

I've ended my association with them.

Thoughts?
Thanks for the heads up John!

I think you made a wise decision. I have been looking at Hipcamp and from what I've read (unless I'm missing something), they carry the liability insurance.

Thoughts on Hipcamp?
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Old 04-26-2021, 01:17 PM   #4
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Better to be a user of Boondockers Welcome, than a supplier. The risks fall to those that supply, The benefit to these suppliers is quite small. So you are accepting some relatively rare risk, but real, and potentially substantial. All to save a few bucks on their membership.

Every time you HOST, you get 3 months free membership. 1 year membership is $50. So 3 months free is worth $12.50. Do you want to take on this additional risk for $12.50? Its up to each one of us to decide. If you decide to never host, OK, just pay the $50.

I used in once, in Florida. I needed one night camping, and the lowest I could find was $175 (yes, for one night at a KOA). So I paid the $50 membership instead.
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Old 04-26-2021, 01:45 PM   #5
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What a world we live in!

Talk about a litigious society. The thought of suing someone would never cross my mind unless the other party was blatantly guilty of purposely harming me.
I come from a mind set that only we are responsible for our own errors in judgement.
Take responsibility for God's sake!
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tua View Post
Thanks for the heads up John!

I think you made a wise decision. I have been looking at Hipcamp and from what I've read (unless I'm missing something), they carry the liability insurance.

Thoughts on Hipcamp?
I'll take a look. Thanks.
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:18 PM   #7
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Talk about a litigious society. The thought of suing someone would never cross my mind unless the other party was blatantly guilty of purposely harming me.
I come from a mind set that only we are responsible for our own errors in judgement.
Take responsibility for God's sake!
If there is a chance someone can make money from an event, all bets are off. Truth gets twisted into who is to blame. Suddenly, a victim arrises.

I agree with you completely. Helping is now dangerous. Where is the morality?
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:52 PM   #8
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Raspy, I absolutely agree with your concern. Its wise to have liability insurance coverage to protect all of your assets. We do. But even then why invite potential liability? Decades ago our family owned a vacant property. People began parking on it. Someone injured his/her foot and sued us. Our insurance company settled for $25,000!
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Old 04-26-2021, 04:13 PM   #9
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Old 04-26-2021, 04:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in Pittsburgh View Post
Talk about a litigious society. The thought of suing someone would never cross my mind unless the other party was blatantly guilty of purposely harming me.
I come from a mind set that only we are responsible for our own errors in judgement.
Take responsibility for God's sake!
It often is not up to the individual - the insurance company sues to shift costs.
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Old 04-27-2021, 11:46 AM   #11
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Correct!

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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
It often is not up to the individual - the insurance company sues to shift costs.
You are so correct. Brings to mind a young neighbor that was doing work for another elderly neighbor on her garage roof. He had been cautioned not to walk near the center of the roof which he did resulting in injuries. He knew he was injured due to his own fault and lack of judgement. Correctly assuming that his insurance company would likely shift partial or full liability on an innocent party that lacked the necessary insurance, he changed the narrative to him falling from his own roof.
To this day I respect the integrity of this young man. There are worse things than "white" lies.
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Old 04-27-2021, 12:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bill in Pittsburgh View Post
To this day I respect the integrity of this young man. There are worse things than "white" lies.

Thereby stealing a little bit of money from all the people that pay premiums to that insurer.
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Old 04-27-2021, 02:18 PM   #13
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Thereby stealing a little bit of money from all the people that pay premiums to that insurer.
Glenn, I do see and appreciate your rational. I'm just not agreeing as to which situation is most unfair. A scenario such as the one I described or an insurance company going after an innocent party for their own clients careless actions.
Just two different points of view here. Perhaps it is insurance companies (or lawyers) that have allowed us to become bottom feeders making it OK to not take responsibility for our own actions while holding innocents responsible.
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bill in Pittsburgh View Post
He had been cautioned not to walk near the center of the roof which he did resulting in injuries.
...
He knew he was injured due to his own fault and lack of judgement.
...
he changed the narrative to him falling from his own roof.
...
To this day I respect the integrity of this young man. There are worse things than "white" lies.
In my opinion, this young man has no integrity.

He chose to ignore clear instructions.
His actions resulted in his injury.
He then decided that rather than show integrity and pay for the results of his actions that he would lie and have someone else pay for them.

Shameful behavior in my opinion of morals and integrity.
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:37 PM   #15
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Its not a white lie, its insurance fraud.
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Old 04-27-2021, 04:11 PM   #16
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Getting back to the original post, about Boondockers Welcome, I really appreciate the OP filling us all in on this insurance situation.



I did have a membership with this company, about 6 years ago. I found that, at the time we had it, we did not use it. No one's fault, we just didn't travel where it was required.



But, the insurance situation for hosting is a game-changer for me.

No way do I want to be potentially liable for some unscrupulous person's medical costs.



And I know that the vast majority of people would not abuse the hospitality of the host.....but it only takes 1.....you know what I mean.
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Old 04-27-2021, 05:00 PM   #17
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At first this organization seemed great, and we had some nice folks stop over at our place. We have plenty of room and a full hookup site.

But the agreement that all potential hosts have to agree to in advance, is to provide full insurance coverage for anyone camping on their property. This means full medical coverage for any injuries occurring on your property, or claimed to have happened on your property.

We all have to protect our property and ourselves with insurance. I get that.

I entered into a conversation with Boondockers Welcome and suggested they should have insurance and cover the cost with membership fees. But they do not want to do that, and insist the homeowners provide insurance.

They do have a backup insurance plan, but have made it clear it will only be used once the homeowner's insurance policy is exhausted, and only then after being sued and losing the suit. Their insurance is useless and designed to protect Boondockers Welcome, not the homeowner. Boondockers Welcome's interest is in growing their business and reducing liability for themselves. They have risk because they are introducing strangers to homeowners, and facilitating camping by those strangers, on the homeowners property.

They balked when I defined the insurance requirement as "providing full medical coverage for strangers", by insisting that was not what it was. But the fact remains, the insurance is to cover medical costs from a fall, or other event on our property, so, by definition, it is medical insurance. And it is not restricted to a kind of medical event. It is medical insurance, among other things, such as property damage to a camper's trailer if a tree should fall, etc.

We've had honorable people come to stay and we've had not so honorable come to stay. We had no way of determining which was which, until they arrived. I can see this becoming a nightmare if someone falls off their trailer steps, and sues us for medical care. Or worse yet, shows up with a pre-existing injury, claims it happened on our place, and therefore, is our fault. Suddenly, lawyers are involved and everyone loses, especially the homeowner. And this, after we have agreed in advance to cover them.

Be careful with this program, that seems good at first glance. There is much more to it than helping a fellow traveler. Boondockers Welcome has already written to me and said their coverage would not be used unless the homeowner's insurance was exhausted, and they were forced to pay by losing a lawsuit. At that point, I knew who would be on the hook if anything happened, or was claimed to have happened.

I've ended my association with them.

Thoughts?
To add to this post. Any claim against your insurane stays with you for 5 years in Colorado. Not sure how long in other states. It increases your premiums for 5 years and can make your property uninsurable almost. We had 2 legitimate claims for hail damage and water damage due to a broken pipe in a few months. We had to pay a lot more in premiums and get substandard insurance. 2 companies cancelled us for one claim. I'd say don't belong to the group as a host. It isn't worth it. Also if you have anyone work on your property make them sign an insurance waiver saying you are not responsible for any injury to them or their vehicles. I recently got warned of that.
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Old 04-27-2021, 06:10 PM   #18
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Thanks for posting; this is the first I've heard of this issue. I dropped BW (& Harvest Hosts) because of the VERY limited use allowed. These "deals" are usually for ONE NIGHT only (possibly a little longer if things work out for you). Sites are generally WELL off "the beaten path" so, expect to need 30 ~ 90 minutes to get there (and another 30 ~ 90 minutes to get back to a "major" road). I can get my rig set up for camping in ~ 30 minutes BUT, getting everything "buttoned up" to travel takes a LOT longer (depending on how much "stuff" I want / need to use once I've stopped. Just too much work for the "benefit" of several hours rest.
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Old 04-27-2021, 07:34 PM   #19
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I don't see the benefit of stopping over for a few hours, or even one night at a Boondockers site, unless we are really out in an unfamiliar area and off the beaten path. We travel around a lot and we never have used Boondockers. We don't use official RV parks either, unless we are just meeting a group there for some reason.

But we do have a nice list of stopover points that are on the way to our ultimate destinations. BLM land, hot springs, rest areas, State parks, Federal parks, rest areas, truck stops, and parking lots. These are mostly free or very cheap and offer a lot of flexibility to stay for a few hours, overnight, or for days. We only stay where we have paid, or have permission. There is nothing sneaky about any of it, and they are not the destination, but a stopover on the way.

An interesting thing happened with one of our guests from Boondockers. Usually, and what we expect, is that they will be folks passing through, needing a break, and wanting a safe place to stop. Fine. That's what we offer, along with a full hookup site. But we got a last minute request a few weeks back that was different. We accepted them and gave them directions. They wanted two nights. OK. But while talking to them after the first night, I realized what they were doing. They were vacationing at Boondocker sites, not passing through on their way to some destination. Not weary travelers needing a break. We, and others WERE the destination. They were staying free all over, but only revealing that they were on the road, a hundred miles away and heading in our direction, just passing through and needing a spot. They weren't just passing through, they were camping free at Boondocker sites. We were just a free campground. I would never have agreed if I had known.

I don't ask for money. This is not about profit. The cost is minimal and we have enjoyed some of the folks that stayed here. But suddenly, I realized we were being scammed. Imagine going on a vacation where the destinations are unwitting helpers you don't know. Friendly folks who sympathize with your perceived need. A perceived need that you play up to get what you want. Where you don't reveal your true intentions, but stay for multiple nights in their yard, using their utilities, for free. After the agreed to second night, they were off with a quick "thank you" and no offer to cover expenses, never to be seen again.

I just had to laugh. We go to places like Grand Escalante, Bristlecone Pines, Valley of Fire, Death Valley, and other sites and BLM areas. We go to experience the beauty and peace of it. To wonder at it all. To listen to the silence. I cannot imagine any value in tricking people, in order to stay in their yards. And doing it over and over as a "vacation". Boondockers Welcome is the tool they use to find their marks, err, "parks".
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Old 04-27-2021, 07:49 PM   #20
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John/Raspy: So well put. The feeling of being obviously used is nauseating.

Our one and only use of a Boondockers Welcome location was when we were stuck in Tampa, FL area and due to my lack of planning, we did not have a place to stay. We headed home the next day.

There is a segment of stealth campers, we have one in our town right now. He's been there for weeks (two guys actually) living out of a pickup truck in the local municipal parking lot. No idea of what they are using for bathroom facilities. They did try to sell me a large piece of cowhide. Where that came from, no idea....
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