Snowmobiling is an exhilarating winter activity that millions of people enjoy each year. But dashing through the snow on a high-powered, motorized sleigh comes with its own set of risks unique to the type of vehicle a snowmobile is and the setting where you’re most likely using it.
Like other types of insurance, a snowmobile insurance policy protects you against financial loss resulting from damages you cause to yourself, your snowmobile and even to other people when you’re operating your snowmobile. If you’re thinking about purchasing one of these vehicles, you’ll want to purchase insurance to go along with it. To get started in your research, learn more about the basics of snowmobile insurance, including how it works and what it covers.
Getting a Snowmobile Insurance Policy
Similar to other more common insurance policies, a snowmobile insurance policy protects you from unexpected financial costs that can result from damage you cause to people and property while snowmobiling. When you’re applying for this type of coverage, an insurance provider will typically factor in the make and model of your snowmobile, your intended use of the vehicle (such as whether you’re using it for recreation or racing) and the levels of coverage you choose to determine the cost of your policy. If you ride your snowmobile recreationally a few times each winter, you might pay less compared someone who uses their snowmobile more. Similarly, if you purchase a brand new model, you’ll probably pay more than someone who buys a snowmobile that’s several model years older.
You can choose to work with an independent insurance agent to customize the coverage and get something that makes the most sense for your needs. Alternatively, you can individually assess the basic coverage packages available from different providers and research snowmobile-specific coverage you might decide to add on, such as coverage for accessories or the trailer you tow the vehicle on. You’ll also want to search for discounts that can lower your premium; for example, your current auto insurance provider may give you a discount for bundling your snowmobile insurance with them.
Types of Snowmobile Coverage
A basic snowmobile insurance policy typically features collision, liability and comprehensive coverage. Depending on your budget, the area where you live, any financing you have for the vehicle and the type of snowmobile you own, you may need to purchase specific types of coverage or a package that includes all of these options. Below, you’ll find out more about what each particular type of coverage incorporates.
Collisions are some of the more common causes of damage to snowmobiles. Collision coverage pays for repairs or replacement of your snowmobile after it’s been involved in a collision that caused damage. Due to dense snow cover while you’re out riding, it can be hard to see things like rocks, fallen branches or open water. If you run into them and they damage your snowmobile, collision coverage can pay for repairs. The compromised visibility that’s common in snowy areas can also lead to a collision with another snowmobile. Collision coverage can pay for the cost of repairs in this situation, too.
Other than collisions with an object or another vehicle, this type of coverage often pays for repairs needed after you overturn your snowmobile. It’s important to take note of exceptions to a provider’s collision coverage, however, as some companies don’t cover snowmobile accidents involving animals.
If you’re found liable for causing damage to another person or their property with your snowmobile, liability coverage can help you pay for certain costs associated with the accident. Some insurance policies may categorize liability coverage as either bodily injury or property injury liability. If you injure someone else in a snowmobile accident, bodily injury coverage pays for their medical expenses. If you damage someone else’s property in a snowmobile collision, property injury liability coverage pays to repair that damaged property. Some states may require you to purchase liability coverage, and it’s important to be aware of your state’s laws to ensure you’re in compliance with the right level of coverage.
Comprehensive coverage pays for repairs that result from damage caused by sudden accidents that happen due to a non-collision event. These events might include fires, theft, vandalism or natural disasters. Coverage limits can vary, and not every insurance company covers every type of event, so it’s vital to research comprehensive policy limitations carefully.
4. Uninsured and Underinsured Driver
If an uninsured or underinsured snowmobiler causes damage to your property or injures you, this coverage can help you pay for repairs or the replacement of your snowmobile and medical expenses you incur.
Other Snowmobile Insurance Coverage
Snowmobiling is an activity that requires specialized equipment. As a result, some insurance companies offer specialized types of coverage designed to meet the unique the needs of snowmobilers. It never hurts to inquire about snowmobile-specific add-ons to your policy. Below are a few of the more common options.
- Accessory coverage: Some insurance policies cover post-sale equipment that you install after purchasing the vehicle (that the snowmobile manufacturer didn’t originally include) or accessories you buy to use while snowmobiling. This might consist of safety apparel, such as helmets, riding gear and eyewear. Other add-on equipment you may be able to insure under this coverage includes windshields, custom seats, skid plates and storage bags you installed after purchasing the snowmobile. Keep in mind that these items are covered for repairs or replacement only when you’re using them with your insured snowmobile, not on another vehicle.
- Towable and transport trailer coverage: If you transport your snowmobile using a towable trailer behind your car, you might also opt to purchase coverage for the trailer itself. Keep in mind that, without this coverage, accidental damage to your snowmobile may be covered, but damage to your trailer may not, depending on your main vehicle policy.
Understanding Snowmobile Insurance Coverage Limits
Coverage limits refer to the maximum amount of money each element of your insurance policy will pay out in the event you need to file a claim. The following are some of the most important coverage limits to consider when purchasing snowmobile insurance.
Depending on the insurance provider you choose, a standard snowmobile insurance policy may not cover passengers. Most insurance providers require you to purchase specific liability coverage for them. If you have a current policy that doesn’t include passengers on your snowmobile, be sure to ask your agent or insurance provider how to cover them for liabilities or medical expenses in case of injuries while on your snowmobile.
2. Maximum Limit
Remember that most snowmobile insurance policies have maximum limits on what they’ll pay out for a qualifying insurance claim. Depending on the insurance provider and type of insurance you purchase, your policy may cover the cost of repairs or damages to property, or medical expenses, to a certain limit. You’ll need to pay the remaining amount out of pocket. It’s important to understand these limits before you purchase a policy. They can impact your premium; higher coverage amounts often result in costlier premiums, but they can also protect you from financial difficulties in the event of a collision.
Finally, consider the deductible — the amount you pay towards costs before your policy begins to cover your insurance claim. This is usually a certain percentage of the total cost of repairs or medical expenses you may need to pay out of pocket before your policy covers the remaining balance. Deductibles are typically applied to most insurance policies, including homeowners, renters and auto insurance. These can also impact your premium, with higher deductibles resulting in lower premiums.