When it comes to deciding whether you need insurance, a good rule of thumb is: if you can drive it, you need to insure it.
So, if you’re pulling a camper behind your van or truck, it might be covered by your auto insurance policy (you still should check). But if it’s an RV that you’re driving you need insurance just like you do for any car or truck. This rule also applies to ATVs and snowmobiles.
During the snowy weather, a snowmobile can be a great way to get out and explore the woods. For those who have the right tires, ATVs can also be an option. Don’t buy into the temptation that just because you’re not on a road you don’t need insurance. Remember: if you can drive or operate it, you need to insure it. In the case of snowmobiles, these are vehicles that weigh over 60 pounds and travel at speeds of up to 90 miles an hour. Anytime you combine speed and heavy vehicles with snow, you need to be aware of the risks. Consider these statistics:
- Every year, snowmobile accidents cause about 200 deaths.
- The number of annual snowmobile injuries is 14,000.
- Both children and adults are victims of accidents.
- Multisystem trauma occurs frequently.
- Head injuries are the leading cause of death.
(Source: Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research).
Moreover, being off-road doesn’t necessarily mean there is no risk of hitting another vehicle. One study out of Canada found that a fifth of all snowmobile fatalities involved another vehicle. In about two-thirds of these cases, the snowmobile hit a car or truck (at an intersection of a road and a trail). In the other third, the collision was with another snowmobile.
There are a few other factors to consider in deciding to get snowmobile insurance. First, snowmobiling tends to be less regulated than driving. The lack of government oversight makes it all the more important that you protect yourself and any other family members who might be using your snowmobile (or ATV). Second, apart from accidents, snowmobiles are prone to breakdowns like any other vehicle.
Third, there is a good chance you’re going to take a snowmobile to a remote location. This means that getting help is going to be harder if there is an accident or breakdown, exacerbating the situation and making the need for insurance to cover the higher costs you’ll incur as a result all the more important.
In general, RV insurance, like auto insurance, generally serves three purposes: protecting you and family members from medical costs due to injuries, safeguarding your investment in your vehicle, and shielding you from liability costs arising from injuries or damage your vehicle might cause to others. Specifically, the types of RV insurance that are available include:
Bodily injury liability: Covers the cost of injuries that one driver is responsible for causing another person.
Property damage liability: Pays for the cost of repairing or replacing another person’s damaged property — including other vehicles, buildings, or structures — that a driver is responsible for.
Comprehensive coverage: Protects the policyholder’s RV from damage that’s not caused by a crash. Adding comprehensive coverage can protect your vehicle from damage that results from falling objects, animals, theft, vandalism, and other perils.
Collision coverage: If a driver damages their own RV in a crash, collision insurance can pay for the
Uninsured or underinsured motorist protection: If your RV is damaged in a hit-and-run, or by a driver without enough insurance to fully pay for the repairs your vehicle needs, uninsured or underinsured motorist
coverage can help.
Personal injury protection (PIP): Pays for the medical costs of you and your passengers if you’re injured in an accident. Personal injury protection often can be used no matter who was at fault for the crash.
(Source: Excerpted from Policygenius.)
It can be easy to just focus on car insurance and leave RV insurance as an afterthought. But, in fact, the risks associated with snowmobiling and related activities make getting the appropriate insurance that much more imperative.