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What Is Snowmobile Insurance Really All About?
For some, the first snowfall of the season is cause to groan; it means bundling up, even more, shovelling footpaths, and slightly more stressful driving. For others, though, fresh snowfall means grins and glee. It’s the first sign that access to the Manitoba Winter season’s best recreational opportunities is just around the corner.
Some enjoy skiing, others prefer snowboarding, but for those who like to travel in exciting style and comfort, snowmobiles are the most popular choice. Whether you’re considering purchasing one this season or you’re getting ready to gas up an old, reliable snowmobile, there’s something you should keep in mind besides planning the season’s first excursion. Keeping yourself, your family and your investment safe should be your most pressing concern; the only sure-fire way to do that is with basic snowmobile insurance.
Yes, you’ll need insurance on it, just as you do many other things. It may even be a requirement to pass a snowmobile safety course or to receive the trail passes you’d like to use this year. Though it is often a requirement, it is easy to get lost in the confusion that often surrounds the subject. What do you need to know about retaining this type of insurance? The best place to start is with a simple definition and an understanding of what goes into insurance coverage for a recreational vehicle.
In its most basic form, snowmobile insurance is only there to protect you from claims made by others by offering third party liability protection to you. Basic coverage usually includes protection against claims made of up to $500,000. In other words, if you mistakenly drive a snowmobile into someone’s fence and destroy it, your insurance will pay out the cost of repairing the fence or shield you from monetary damages in a lawsuit. This scenario, though, is the ideal type of snowmobile accident — it resulted in only minor property damage and no injuries.
Extended third-party liability coverage, in excess of the basic $500,000 limit, is often the first option a snowmobile owner will want to consider. Coverage can often extend all the way up to $5 million. While that might seem like a truly massive amount of liability coverage to carry, it is worth considering that snowmobile accidents can vary widely in severity. In incidents where others (such as a bystander) are seriously injured, damages may be immense. Planning for coverage appropriate to the level of risk you’ll likely face is the best way to proceed.
Bodily injury coverage is next on the list, though it is often included in third-party liability coverage as a matter of course. Such a policy may only include injuries caused to others, though. Exploring whether or not a policy looks after your own well-being is important too. Like all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles are generally safe when operated appropriately, but accidents can pose serious risks.
Ensuring that you can handle any medical expenses that follow an upset makes it worth including accident benefits in your policy. This can cover the expenses incurred from injuries as simple as falling off the snowmobile to something as serious as a collision between you and another rider. In the most severe cases, your policy can even pay out benefits in the event of an accident causing death. Discussing the specifics of the coverage you’d like to carry with insurance companies can help you determine the appropriate policy to purchase.
Unlike auto insurance, damage coverage is not an automatic inclusion in your policy. What would happen if adverse weather conditions damaged your snowmobile, or if a thief took off in the night with your ride? That’s when this coverage kicks in and helps to cover the costs of fixing the problem.
Keep in mind there are two types of snowmobile insurance which cover damage. “Comprehensive” coverage typically protects you from fire, theft, and damage outside of your control. “All Perils” coverage goes further and includes coverage in collisions. When you’ll be riding hard all season long or travelling by snowmobile in areas where road vehicles also travel, this may be an essential addition.
Aside from these core areas, there are a number of other additions one could make to a policy based on personal preference. For example, some policies will allow you to cover essential riding gear (such as gloves and helmets), while others offer protection against loss of use during travel. If you expect to be adventuring in the backcountry where becoming lost is a risk, you can even add search and rescue coverage to a policy. It all depends on your budget and how proactive you wish to be about managing potential risks.
Why You Need Year-Round Insurance on Your Snowmobile
OK, so you have a basic overview of what can go into a snowmobile insurance policy and what you should consider exploring with a coverage provider. As you start to put out feelers for insurance offers, you may wonder whether or not you can save some cash by purchasing partial coverage. After all, you may only be in the driver’s seat for a few months out of the year. The rest of the time, your vehicle spends its days in storage waiting for the next perfect snowfall. Should you simply purchase insurance for a few months at a time?
The answer is “probably not.” While you may not necessarily need liability insurance all year, you will want to maintain other types of coverage that come part and parcel with your policy. For example, let’s say that you typically store your snowmobile in a shed on your property when not in use. One summer night, a fire starts and the shed burns down as a result. Your snowmobile doesn’t survive. Without the right type of coverage, you will have to shoulder the entire burden of the loss yourself. With insurance on your side, such a scenario is a stressful inconvenience, but not a total disaster.
Likewise, theft can occur at any time. What if someone else borrows your snowmobile to take it out on an excursion somewhere else? You may be responsible for whatever happens while a friend drives your vehicle, too. Forgoing coverage for part of the year may even be against local regulations depending on where you live. Thus the risks often clearly outweigh any of the advantages gained by skipping a few months of coverage every year.
What about the idea that partial coverage can save money? Technically, it may save you a small amount; a full year of coverage will always be a little pricier. However, the difference is often trivial compared to the costs you will face if something happens to your snowmobile during the time in between your policy periods. With no ability to make insurance claims, you will always have to weather the worries of those months. By keeping your insurance current year round, your investment remains safe at all times.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Coverage?
By now, the answer to this question should seem straightforward. There are many potential consequences for not carrying an appropriate level of insurance for your snowmobile, not least of which is potentially running afoul of the law. Operating without insurance is illegal in many jurisdictions and puts you and others around you at unnecessary risk. That is why licensing and safety courses require at least the basic type of policy which covers only a minimum of third-party liability.
Will My Homeowners or Auto Insurance Cover My Snowmobile?
It is a common misconception that other types of insurance you may already carry will provide the necessary coverage in the event of an accident. However, this is not true. Neither homeowner’s insurance nor auto insurance providers will extend their policies to include coverage for property damage, injury, or any loss related to your snowmobile. This is another reason why maintaining year-round coverage is so critical.
Consider the previous example again, but replace the shed with your home’s garage. You may think that because you stored the snowmobile in your home, it will fall under your homeowner’s policy, but in many cases, it will not. In this way, insurance providers treat snowmobiles much the same as they would any road vehicles stored in the garage. Don’t wait for an unpleasant surprise before taking action to safeguard your recreational vehicles.
Even if you choose to select a basic insurance package, extending your coverage limits is worth considering. View it similarly to the way you view your car; it is easy to envision many scenarios in which potential damages far exceed the initial $500,000 liability limit. No one starts out the snowmobiling season with the desire to think about the potential trouble they might face from a lawsuit. The right policy allows you to put those worries away, focusing on having a safe and exciting winter adventure.
Exploring Coverage Options That Suit Your Needs
So how do you find a policy that features the coverage and the limits that make you feel comfortable? Ultimately, the insurance products that go into your policy will be a matter of what suits your situation best, figuring out what that means in real terms can be confusing. Putting together a policy doesn’t have to be a challenge, though; with experienced assistance, finding coverage that is both affordable and comprehensive is a simpler affair.
Make the smart, safe choice by pursuing robust coverage comparable to what you would expect for your car. Purchasing the appropriate protection is simplest when you use our DIY Snowmobile Insurance to purchase your extended coverage online. At Guild Insurance Brokers & HMS Insurance Agencies, our experienced team will review your purchase to make sure the policy fits your risk profile. Our professionals are well-versed in the types of issues snowmobilers face and are always ready to help you locate the ideal option for keeping your recreational vehicle safe and secure year-round. If you click the Buy Online button we will walk you through purchasing snowmobile insurance to get you ready to start the season. If you would rather speak to a broker to help you answer a few questions we are here for you as well, click the Contact Us button below.
Our team of insurance professionals are always here to help find the right insurance for you. Send us an email, check out “The Blog”, or give us a call to chat with one of our professionals.