With cooler weather rolling into northern Ontario, it’s only a matter of time before recreational ATV and snow machine users are back on the area’s snow-covered trails. While conscientious riders recognize the need for proper helmets, gloves, and outerwear to protect themselves, not all riders are aware of the protection proper insurance offers both them and their machines.
“People don’t have to get insurance to ride on their own property,” said Clare Kempe, Branch Manager for Westland Insurance Group Limited. “However, as soon as you drive them off your property you need coverage.”
To ensure people are properly prepared for winter recreation, Kempe has provided the following five important things you need to know about insuring your ATVs and snow machines.
Insurance protects you for damages and liability
Riding around on your ATV or snow machine on public property requires coverage.
When riding along public roads that connect trails on an ATV or snow machine, you’re seen the same as a private passenger vehicle when it comes to needing insurance. Adding an insurance policy on your vehicles protects you and your vehicles.
Insurance protects you when riding on someone else's property
If you are in a collision or damage your machine riding on someone else’s property you need coverage. This will protect you from being out of pocket if that property owner demands you pay for damages or if your machine gets accidentally damaged while being used.
Insurance protects your machines while being towed
If your ATV or snow machine is on a trailer being towed down a public road, only your liability is covered through the primary vehicle’s insurance.
Let’s say your ATV is on a trailer and you wind up in an accident that results in major damage to your machine. Unfortunately, if you do not have additional insurance your vehicle is not covered. If your trailer breaks loose and hits another vehicle your liability will cover damages; however, your machines on the trailer are not covered without a specific policy being purchased.
The same is true for boats, campers, and anything else being towed behind your vehicle.
Insurance protects you if you're ice fishing
If you take your ATV or snow machine on an ice fishing trip, you need to insure your vehicles.
If they wind up going through the ice, every company looks at that claim differently. It’s not only a good idea to insure your vehicles from the loss that occurs if they happen to go through; your insurance may also protect you from the costs of recovery if the Ministry of Transportation or the Ministry of Nature Resources enforces the need to get those vehicles out of the water.
If you don’t have proper insurance that reflects that risk you could be out of pocket for thousands of dollars.
Insurance protects underage drivers
Every insurance company wants to know how many drivers are using your vehicles. If you have recreational vehicles or seasonal vehicles insurance companies are clamping down on who is driving them and who is actually insured.
If you have a driver listed who is a new driver, a young driver, or a high-risk driver, you may have to pay higher premiums. There could be special coverage you need to add if you have young, unlicensed drivers using your ATVs or snow machines. Such drivers are not licensed to drive any vehicle on public roads, which could present an issue if the snow trails you’re using are connected at points by short stretches of public roadway.
If you run into the MTO or MNR in those areas you may be asked to present a driver’s license and that could be an issue for an unlicensed underage driver.
To learn more about the proper insurance you need to enjoy a fun season of winter recreation, contact Westland Insurance Group Limited at 807.345.3611.