Off-road recreational vehicles provide a fun way to explore the countryside. One popular model is the side-by-side, also commonly referred to as a UTV (or utility task vehicle). In addition to recreational purposes, these vehicles can be useful for work outdoors.
If you own a side-by-side or want to buy one, you may be curious about how to properly insure a UTV and what kinds of risks you may be faced with.
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UTV's At a Glance
- In 2009, more than 220,000 new UTVs were sold in the U.S.
- The average cost of a new side-by-side ATV is about $15,000
- UTVs can reach top speeds as high as 70 miles per hour
- Roll-overs are the most common cause of UTV accidents
What Is UTV Insurance?
UTV insurance is a specialized off-road vehicle insurance policy designed for owners of side-by-side utility vehicles. It provides UTV owners with financial protection after accidents or collisions. More comprehensive policies also protect the owner’s investment by covering loss or damage to the vehicle.
Am I Required to Carry UTV Insurance?
Whether or not you are required by law to carry insurance on your UTV depends on what state you live in, where you will be riding your vehicle and what you use your ATV for. States that do require coverage almost always have a minimum liability insurance requirement.
If you are using your UTV for work related reasons, you may be required to carry commercial vehicle insurance and your coverage minimums may be higher than if you are only using it for personal use.
Also, if you have financed your vehicle, your lender may require you to carry collision and comprehensive coverage for the life of your loan.
Not all states require insurance for riding on privately owned land, but many require insurance if you will be riding in state parks or other state-owned land.
To find out what laws and minimum coverage requirements are pertinent in your state, consult a local independent agent in our network who will be familiar with your state laws.
Whether or not you are required to have coverage, purchasing a policy could be a wise decision. Because these vehicles were designed to carry passengers, a collision or roll-over in your vehicle can result in injuries to you and others who are riding along.
Without an insurance policy in place to protect you, you could find yourself in financial hardship from high medical costs and litigation.
What Does UTV Insurance Cover?
You can choose from a variety of coverage options in your side-by-side UTV insurance policy. These options may vary by provider, so be sure to review the policy you are considering carefully.
- Liability Coverage: Liability insurance protects you if you are at fault for an accident while operating your UTV. If the accident leads to injuries to your passengers or others, or causes property damage, your liability coverage will provide compensation for bodily injury expenses, lost wages and damage to property for those affected. In the event that a covered incident leads a lawsuit, your liability insurance can provide coverage for your legal fees and court costs.
- Medical Cost Coverage: With this coverage, if you or any of your covered family members are injured while riding, regardless of fault, you may receive compensation for any corresponding out-of-pocket medical costs.
- Collision Coverage: Collision insurance is similar to auto collision coverage, and will cover damages to your UTV if you should collide with another vehicle, object or if your vehicle is damaged in a rollover accident. This coverage is often required by lenders if you have financed the purchase of your UTV.
- Comprehensive Coverage: The comprehensive portion of a policy is designed to provide compensation for losses or damage to your UTV from non-collision causes like fire, theft, vandalism, falling objects or “acts of God.” This coverage will often also include your ATV equipment and customized upgrades. Like collision coverage, many lenders will require you carry this coverage for the life of your loan.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This particular coverage protects you if you are in an accident caused by someone who does not have sufficient coverage to pay your injury and damage costs. Residents in states where ATV insurance is not mandatory may want to consider purchasing this coverage.
Safety Tips for Riding UTVs
Many UTV accidents and injuries cannot be prevented. Most are caused by human errors like driver inexperience, reckless driving and carelessness. Following a few simple safety protocols can greatly reduce your risk of experiencing an accident while enjoying time on your side-by- side:
- Always use proper safety equipment including seatbelts and DOT approved helmets.
- Never operate your UTV under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.
- Avoid reckless or aggressive driving and abrupt maneuvers to prevent rollovers.
- If the vehicle should roll, resist the urge to put your arm out to brace your fall. Instead, cross your arms over your chest and hold the seatbelt.
- Know the weight limits of your vehicle and do not exceed them.
- Never allow children under 16 to operate a side-by-side UTV.
- Use common sense and know the limits of your vehicle and driving abilities.
In addition to following the safety tips listed above, you can learn several defensive maneuvers and tips for handling unexpected obstacles by taking an ATV safety course. Many courses are free or very low cost. These courses can save you from injury and can save you money on your insurance premiums.
Is UTV Insurance Expensive?
On average, people pay about $25/month for their UTV insurance policies. However, there are many factors that can affect the cost of your policy, such as:
- Your age and driving record
- The make, model and year of your UTV
- Where and how often you intend to ride your vehicle
- Where and how your side-by-side is stored when not in use
- How much liability insurance coverage you purchase
- How much property damage insurance you purchase
- Whether or not you select additional insurance coverage options
- The amount of your deductibles
- Whether or not you have received certification in an approved ATV safety course
- The insurance company you choose
There are many factors that go into an insurance premium, so collecting quotes from several companies can prove beneficial when trying to save money. An independent agent can help you compare quotes from several different insurance companies and choose the right coverage for your needs.
How Can I Get the Best Deal on UTV Insurance?
Comparison shopping for your side-by-side can help you find a policy with all the coverage you need at a competitive price. Most insurance professionals agree that you should get quotes from a minimum of three insurance companies before making a decision.
Your local independent agent can simplify the process for you. After assessing your coverage and budgetary needs, an independent agent can contact several different insurance companies, provide you with quotes to compare, and help you find the best possible UTV insurance policy for your needs and budget.