Note: This is a Q&A I created for an insurance agent who provides special insurance policies for four-wheelers and other off-road vehicles. This was one of a series of several articles on very specific types of insurance the agent offered. It also ran with a campaign of accompanying videos.
Do you have an ATV or other off-road vehicle? If you do, please make sure it’s insured! ATVs and off-road vehicles like dirt bikes and dune buggies can make your vacation or outdoor recreation fun and exciting, but they’re also quite dangerous. Did you know that most homeowners policies and auto insurance policies will not cover your off-road vehicles? Since they act as a standalone vehicle, that has license plates and needs to be registered separately from your car, you need to have a separate insurance policy to cover both the vehicle and you as you’re driving on it.
What kind of off-road vehicles need to be insured?
The off-road vehicles that need their own insurance coverage include:
• ATVs (all-terrain vehicles)
• Dirt bikes
• Off-road motorcycles
• Dune buggies
• Golf carts
The general rule of thumb is: if you have to get a license plate for it or have it registered with the state, it’s going to need separate insurance.
What kind of insurance policy do I need for my ATV? What does off-road vehicle insurance actually cover?
Very similar to a car, an off-road vehicle policy is a “comprehensive” policy, meaning it covers your vehicle in cases of theft, vandalism, falling objects, collisions, etc. Small vehicles like ATVs can be easy to steal and they’re worth quite a bit of money so they’re sometimes targeted by thieves as an easy score. For example, I recently had a client with an ATV that was in his locked trailer on the side of his house, and somebody broke into the trailer, cut off the lock, and rolled out the ATV and stole it. Fortunately for my client, he had an off-road policy, so he was given $9,300 by his policy to replace it. If he hadn’t had that policy, he would have been out almost $10,000!
If you have a separate trailer just for your off-road vehicle, the insurance coverage I can offer you is fantastic: it covers both the vehicle and the trailer, and there’s only one deductible if you get into some sort of accident. So if you’re driving down the road and something bad happens, you can rest assured knowing both your vehicle and the trailer are taken care of.
How much does off-road vehicle insurance cost?
Generally it’s very inexpensive to buy a policy for smaller vehicles like golf carts and ATVs: around $100/year for comprehensive coverage.
Who is covered on my policy?
This is a very important question, since the most common type of accident I’ve seen is where someone other than the owner is the one driving the vehicle when it crashes or rolls. Here’s a typical scenario: let’s say you and your teenage kids want to go out in the woods riding ATVs, and your kids bring some neighbor kids along. The problem here is that you have a 14 year old kid who doesn’t even know how to drive a car yet, and he doesn’t know how dangerous an ATV is, so he zips around a corner too fast and rolls it and gets hurt. These injuries can be horrendous: I’ve seen teenagers nearly crippled for life from a simple mistake like going too fast on a four-wheeler on a Sunday afternoon with friends.
Liability is the biggest issue with off-road vehicles: ATVs can hurt or kill people and that’s a huge liability to the owner, especially if they’re not insured. If your neighbor falls off your vehicle and you’re not insured, a personal injury attorney can take you to the cleaners. The policies I offer will generally cover you, your friends, and anybody else who is using your vehicle.
Do I really need insurance for my golf cart?
If you own your own golf cart, yes. This is crucial: if you’re driving your vehicle—even a golf cart—on somewhere like a public road, or your driveway, or a back road, or you’re headed to the golf course that’s near your house, you’ve got to have it insured. In fact, if you’re taking your golf cart to a golf course, most golf courses won’t even allow you to play on their course unless you show them a proof of insurance.
I get phone calls sometimes from clients on vacation who say “I’m standing at the clubhouse counter at a golf course in Las Vegas and they’re telling me I need insurance… can I get a golf cart policy from you ASAP?” …I’m happy to take care of those clients, but it sure would be easier if they had that insurance before they went on their road trip to another state.
Golf carts are easy to treat like toys, but they really are vehicles just like any other vehicle, and they can cause damage or hurt people easily if you’re not careful. I’ve had four golf cart accident claims in my years as an agent and I tell people to treat them like cars and make sure they’re covered. It’s really a big deal, and the policies are cheap: you can insure most golf carts for around $80/year. That’s a lot of peace of mind for a low cost!
If you’re into golfing or off-roading and are interesting in having your four-wheeler, ATV, or golf cart insured, feel free to contact my office today and I’ll be happy to give you a quote for an off-road vehicle policy. Let my smiling staff serve you!