ATV Insurance: I love off-roading! I love ATVs of all types, from dune buggies to side-by-sides to snowmobiles.

But ATV riding is inherently hazardous. These vehicles are a lot of fun. But they’re not toys. You need to take safety very seriously. And you need to take insurance very seriously, too. Because there are very real risks associated with ATV operation, mostly with bodily injury. Have fun, but protect yourself, your family, and anyone else riding your ATV.

First, let’s talk about the risks. Consider:

More than 100,000 people per year are injured riding ATVs. Since 1982, there’ve been more than 15,700 fatalities as a result of ATV accidents.

A lot of those injuries are severe and life-changing, too. That’s because riders are so often thrown from the ATV and suffer neck and back injuries as a result.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2018 annual ATV report on deaths and injuries. there were 81,800 ATV-related emergency department-treated injuries related to ATVs that year. More than a quarter of those injuries were sustained by children under 16 years old. ATVs become more dangerous when children drive adult-sized vehicles, or when passengers ride on ATVs built for only one rider.

In 2016 alone, there were 591 reported ATV-related fatalities. Children under 16 years old accounted for 65 of the fatalities in 2016, and nearly half of those were under twelve years old.  In addition, there were more than 15,700 total fatalities since 1982.

The risk isn’t limited to off-road and trail-riding, either: Statistics show that about a third of fatal ATV accidents occurred on paved roads. 

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ATVs are fun. But definitely risky. Make sure you have proper ATV insurance.


Do I Need to Carry ATV Insurance? 

Specific insurance requirements depend on your state, and on where you’re operating your ATV. Some city and state parks specifically require you to carry ATV-specific liability insurance or you can’t ride. This is what separates an ATV from, say, your John Deere riding lawnmower.

National Parks, National Forests, and Bureau of Land-Management-controlled land all have different requirements. So do your research on the specific rules that apply where you’re planning to ride.

More broadly, you need ATV insurance if you can’t afford to write a check out of pocket to pay for any injuries or deaths that may occur as a result of the operation of your SUV


ATV Insurance Options

Structurally, ATV insurance is very similar to motorcycle insurance. Those of you who’ve insured motorcycles will recognize a lot of similarities.

When you purchase ATV insurance, you obviously need to consider the basics: Collision, comprehensive, and liability.

In addition, the unique risk profile of ATV ownership and use results in these other lesser-known types of coverage taking on heightened importance:

  • Guest passenger coverage: This coverage helps pay for medical treatment and liability for passengers riding with you on your ATV.
  • Gear replacement: Pays for replacement helmets, padded jackets, and other and protective apparel damaged or destroyed in an accident.
  • Bodily injury liability coverage: Pays for injuries you cause to someone while riding your off-road vehicle, up to your policy’s limit.
  • Submersion coverage: Pays if the ATV is damaged or destroyed due to being submerged in water under certain circumstances (e.g., breaking through ice).
  • Enhanced permissive use:  If you permit someone who’s not listed on your policy to operate your all-terrain vehicle, this coverage helps with the costs if they get into an accident.
  • Accessories and custom equipment: Pays to repair or replaced damaged, lost, or destroyed modifications, upgrades, accessories, and add-ons to a stock ATV.
  • OEM parts coverage: This coverage pays the cost of original equipment manufacturer parts. So you won’t get stuck with cheap Chinese knockoffs of the real thing.
  • Transport trailer coverage: Covers the trailer you use to transport your ATVs.

ATVs are also popular targets for thieves. For this reason, you may want to consider comprehensive coverage, which protects you against non-collision damage, loss, or destruction from theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and other hazards beyond your control.

Doesn’t Home Insurance Cover ATVs? 

They only time your home insurance policy will cover your ATV is if it’s on your own property. Generally, the rule of thumb is that if your vehicle needs to be registered with the state like a car, it’s an auto insurance issue, not a home insurance issue.

Handy Tip: Montana doesn’t charge sales taxes on ATVs. And they’re easy to keep in your garage, and away from prying eyes. So you could save significant money by creating an LLC in Montana and registering your ATV there. – along with any other high-value vehicles and other property. Just be sure you understand the laws in your state. And when you buy insurance, be sure to insure the ATV based on where the vehicle is primarily garaged. That might be different than your personal address or the address of your Montana LLC.

Got an ATV, UTV, snowmobile, dirt bike, or any other similar vehicle you need insured? Give us a holler. One email or phone call puts my experienced agents to work helping you compare quotes from a dozen or more insurance carriers active in your state. Competition saves you money. And working through a single independent agent who can work up quotes from all the insurance carriers in your state, and provide you a single point of contact saves you time.

See you on the road!

Steve “Mr. Insurance” Ludwig
CEO, Select Insurance Group

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