Could a tow-hitch stripper pole strip away your auto insurance?

Gina Roberts-Grey

These days, the bumping and grinding of a car may not be triggered by a mechanical problem. Now, motorists can swing from stripper poles attached to tow hitches and do their own bumping and grinding.

Companies like Platinum Stages let would-be show girls and strippers add a burlesque element to an SUV, crossover, pickup truck or any other vehicle equipped with a tow hitch.

The pole, which comes with a platform that serves as a stage, is designed to support 200 pounds. The cost? Roughly $450.

Before you run out and buy one, keep in mind that your auto insurance policy might not cover a claim resulting from your risqué moves. In fact, using a tow hitch stripper pole just might endanger your auto insurance rates -- and the renewal of your policy.

Stripping down the basics of coverage

If while practicing the art of pole dancing – even if you keep your clothes on – a car owner loses control and flings a shoe through your car’s window, or that of a nearby car, auto insurance probably won’t pick up the tab for the damage, says Vince Ginocchio, personal lines manager at Heffernan Insurance Brokers in California. This also applies to any dancing-related damage to the body of the car.

“The damage to someone else’s car caused by the entertainer would not be covered by a car insurance policy. The liability portion of the policy, the part in place to cover damages your car does to other vehicles, is only in effect for direct damages caused by the vehicle,” Ginocchio says.

And if the would-be adult entertainer damages her own car, that claim might not be covered either. This also applies to lending your stripper pole to your friends.

“A claim arising from use of a stripper-pole hitch may be denied by a car insurance company if the pole renders the car illegal for street use (which is a possibility in some states),” says Brian Rauber, a Farmers Insurance agent in Missouri. “A thorough claims investigation would be pursued. Depending on the details of the incident, a claim may be covered by the vehicle owner’s car insurance policy or homeowner’s coverage.”

If the damage is covered, Ginocchio says, a “dancer” wouldn’t have to pay anything out of her pocket. Why? Because this type of damage normally falls under the liability portion of your auto insurance policy; deductibles typically aren’t charged for a liability claim.

But that doesn’t mean your pocketbook won’t feel some financial pain. Ginocchio says any claim resulting from use of a tow-hitch stripper could lead to a rate hike and even could prompt your insurer to reject renewal of your policy. An insurer might view the stripper pole as irresponsible and might question other ways that you’re being irresponsible with your wheels.

How do you avoid a situation like that? “The best advice to protect your rates and car insurance is don’t use a tow-hitch stripper pole,” Rauber says.




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