Each year, snowmobiles are made safer and smarter, and customization for enhanced appearance and performance is still popular among sled enthusiasts. In fact, a recent informal survey of snowmobile owners conducted by Trusted Choice revealed that 32% of respondents chose to customize their snowmobiles and another 22% planned to do so in the future.
And of those interested in customization, most (nearly 80%) anticipated spending $3,000 or less, yet 8% planned to spend or had already spent upwards of $18,000 to trick out their sleds.
Let's take a look at the options for upgrades out there, and how they impact your machine. But first, make sure you're covered with an affordable snowmobile insurance policy.
Cosmetic upgrades aim to transform your sled into a unique and eye-catching winter motorsport vehicle. One popular way to enhance your sled’s appearance is by adding sled wraps or decals. Decals are designed to fit the make and model of your sled, beginning at price points in the $150 - $200 range.
Unique, customized graphic artwork will cost even more. The decals will be printed and shipped to you along with self-installation instructions.
Custom sled parts and accessories help you get the most power or traction out of your snowmobile in varying terrain or different riding conditions. Some add-ons also give you a more comfortable and safer ride. Running boards prevent snow from kicking up onto the snowmobile and add foot traction for riders. Basic boards cost from $100 - $300, but more advanced models will run you over $1,000.
New tracks can be installed to better fit your riding style – racing vs. mountain climbs, for example. Before you customize your snowmobile to adapt to one type of ride (steep climbs, greater speed, etc.) consider any corresponding limitations as well as added fuel or maintenance costs.
Snowmobile covers protect and preserve the value of your investment. Covers can be used for trailering to prevent road salt and wind damage when not using an enclosed trailer. You’ll also want to cover your sled in the off-season to protect it from dust, dirt and moisture.
Basic canvas covers are lower in price, around $100. If you’re looking for a longer-lasting, water-resistant or stretchable fabric, you’ll pay more, but get better protection in return.
Insuring Customized Sleds
Snowmobile insurance policies should cover the entire value of your investment, so it’s important to let your agent know if you’ve added high cost customized parts to your basic sled. If you’re driving a sled with thousands of dollars of upgrades, you’ll want to make sure that you are adequately covered by purchasing not just liability insurance, but collision and comprehensive coverage.
In the event of an accident on the trails or during transit, a snowmobile insurance policy will generally pay to repair your equipment to a like-new condition. Issues may arise when the replacement or replacement cost of cosmetic upgrades totals more than the snowmobile is worth on the resale market.
In these cases, an insurance policy may state that the sled will only be repaired to functional quality. Prior to purchasing a policy, ask your insurance agent about any restrictions on repair costs and also disclose the value of upgrades made to your sled.
Similar to motorcycle policies, snowmobile insurance policies may cover accessories such as helmets, goggles, radios and fire extinguishers. These items can be relatively inexpensive add-ons to a basic snowmobile policy, so don’t forget to inform your agent if you own them. One additional safety accessory that is gaining in popularity is snowmobile GPS devices and smart apps.
If you’re venturing into new territory with your sled, a GPS can help direct you to the best and safest trails. Smart phone apps also provide a wealth of up-to-the-minute information, including weather, snowfall totals and trail conditions.