Snowmobile Insurance 101

(Here's what you need to know)

Couple riding a snowmobile

Snowmobiles are a fun and exciting way to enjoy winter weather, but the costs of owning a sled can be significant. With the average price of a new snowmobile topping $11,000, buyers may be concerned about protecting their investment. Snowmobiles, like other recreational motorsports vehicles such as ATVs or Jet Skis, can be insured against loss or damage with an affordable snowmobile insurance policy.

Do I Really Need Year-Round Coverage for a Winter Weather Sport Vehicle?

The 1.4 million registered snowmobiles in the United States are mainly used in the winter, which may leave new owners wondering if a year-round insurance policy is necessary. According to industry expert Paul Martin, the short answer to this question is yes, primarily because the additional cost for a full-year policy is worth it for the around-the-clock protection provided against risk of loss even when your snowmobile is not in use.

Consider How Often You Ride Your Snowmobile  

Riders in northern climates may get several more months of use from their snowmobiles each year compared to their southern neighbors. Yet the cost difference between a partial and full-year policy is often small enough to make purchasing continuous coverage attractive for nearly everyone, Paul explains. 

Customized policies are available to meet the needs of every snowmobile enthusiast. These policies can be adjusted based on the number of months the equipment is actually used vs. placed in storage, so discuss your situation with your agent prior to purchasing snowmobile insurance.

Risk Lowers in the Off-Season, But Is Still Present

In months when snowmobiles are stored in a garage there is a much lower risk of a loss event. Yet, even when a sled is in storage, a slight risk still exists, due to events like fires, floods, or accidents that may cause damage. For this reason, Paul Martin believes purchasing a year-round policy to guarantee protection makes sense.

Comprehensive Coverage  

A comprehensive snowmobile insurance policy covers more than just collision-related losses. Other loss events included in comprehensive coverage are fire, theft, vandalism and accidents where the driver is not deemed to be at fault, such as deer strikes. Snowmobile insurance also covers accidents occurring during transport. With such a broad range of loss events included, a year-round snowmobile policy offers the best protection.

Premium Discounts

If you properly maintain your sled and spend time learning about driver safety, you may be eligible for a reduction in your premium. Some insurance policies offer discounts for items such as participation in a safe rider class. Storing a snowmobile in a locked garage to prevent theft is another factor which some agents may take into account for the purposes of premium calculation.   

Ask About Policy Limitations

Although you may assume a snowmobile policy contains similar provisions to an automobile policy, there are some important differences to consider. Limitation of liability to named persons is one of the most important differences between auto and snowmobile policies. Typically, automobile policies allow for broader coverage to encompass virtually any driver, including those who do not own the car, in the event of an accident. 

In contrast, snowmobile owners may be required to name certain individuals who are permitted to drive their sleds. Only named individuals will be included under the insurance coverage. Other snowmobile policies may limit drivers to relatives such as spouses.

Repair vs. Replacement Costs

Snowmobile repair or replacement costs may also be reimbursed differently from auto policies. For example, if repair of cosmetic damage stemming from an accident exceeds the value of the snowmobile, insurance companies will sometimes limit reimbursement and only repair the equipment to functional use, even though it may not look perfect.

If you’re in the market for a snowmobile and have questions about snowmobile insurance, contact an insurance agent. These independent agents can research the best policy options for you at the most reasonable price, bringing you added peace of mind when you hit the trails this winter.

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