We had always intended to split our Pan-American journey into two parts – a northern expedition to the Arctic Ocean and Alaska and a southern expedition to Ushuaia, Argentina. Originally we were going south first, followed by the north, with a break in between. Our original plan was to leave for Argentina in 2021 but the pandemic delayed that to 2022. Then, in late May of 2022, as we were ramping up to leave on the southern expedition in September, we discovered that we could not insure Griego and Seven – our truck and camper. Prior to the pandemic we had obtained quotes for the insurance from Clements/Lloyds of London so this was a surprise. Apparently, since the start of the pandemic, Lloyds of London no longer underwrote this kind of insurance.
There is a Pan-American highway Facebook group where you can ask questions about traveling the highway. I turned to this group for some advice. If you do as I did, you will discover that the majority of people travel the highway without any form of comprehensive or collision insurance, regardless of the value of their vehicle. Of course, this means that if there vehicle is stolen, they lose everything. There appears to be two reasons for this. One is that it is mandatory in most countries to purchase liability insurance, and many people don’t know this insurance does not cover your vehicle for comprehensive (theft, etc.) or collision. The liability insurance only covers third parties for physical injury. The second reason is that the Clements/Lloyds of London insurance is very expensive. Quotes usually come in at 20% of the value of the vehicle per year.
It is true that very few people actually have their vehicles stolen so it easy to convince yourself it is big boys rules and go without insurance. When it comes to financial matters such as insurance, I just don’t operate that way. No matter how small the statistic, I always insure a potential loss over a certain threshold and the value of Griego and Seven is over that threshold. Since our Canadian insurance covers us in the United States, we decided to change the order of the two phases of our Pan-American highway expedition. We decided to go to the Arctic Ocean and Alaska for three months in the summer of 2022, then come home to regroup, and head to Argentina in October of 2023. While at home between the two trips we would be able to see if Clements/Lloyds of London had resumed underwriting vehicle insurance or outfit our 2013 Jeep Wrangler (Lucy) and go in that vehicle instead. The value of Lucy is within our loss threshold so no need for insurance in that case. A trip in Lucy would be quite different as we would stay in Airbnb’s most of the time, and only camp for short periods, which is opposite to our plan with Griego/Seven. Nonetheless it would still be an epic journey. So, in June of 2022 we turned our attention to Tuktoyaktuk and Alaska.