Do I have to buy car insurance for my snowmobile?
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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There are several types of insurance, each applying to different types of vehicles. Depending on a vehicle’s primary purpose, the coverage you need may differ. In the case of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and other types of large recreational vehicles, you may need to purchase an insurance policy; this policy differs from auto insurance, however, and must be purchased separately.
Vehicle liability insurance is used for any motor vehicle that is regularly used on the open road. If you need to register a vehicle with the DMV, you will need to purchase liability insurance for that vehicle. Liability insurance pays for any damage or injuries that you cause while operating the vehicle, and is a requirement for registration in all states.
For vehicles that you don’t need to register, however, you may still want to purchase an insurance policy. Recreational vehicle insurance pays for damage you may cause while operating the vehicle. It also pays for damage that the vehicle might receive while in use, such as from hitting a fixed object or body damage caused by hail and wind.
When to Insure Your Snowmobile
If you’ve just purchased a snowmobile, you should contact your DMV or insurance company to determine what state laws apply to the vehicle in your area. Some states require that all recreational vehicles be covered by a liability policy; others have specific requirements, such as weight limits, that a vehicle must fall below in order to avoid requiring insurance. Many states don’t require insurance for recreational vehicles at all, but these laws change periodically and it’s always good to know exactly what to purchase in advance.
Whenever you buy insurance for a snowmobile or other recreational vehicle, your insurance company will ask a few questions about the vehicle in order to determine your rates. You will be asked approximately how often you will drive or how many miles you will put on the vehicle in a given year. You will also be asked who will operate the vehicle, where it will be stored and what its primary purpose will be.
The reason for these questions is so that your insurance company can determine whether you are at risk of being involved in an accident while operating your snowmobile. The lower the likelihood of being in an accident, the lower your rates will be.
Regardless of risk, snowmobiles are usually quite inexpensive to insure. Compared to vehicles, they are cheap to replace and less likely to do substantial damage. You can usually purchase recreational vehicle coverage for a much lower rate than a vehicle, even lower than motorcycle coverage in most cases.
Where to buy Snowmobile Insurance?
Not every insurance company offers coverage for recreational vehicles, so you may need to purchase a policy from a different insurer than your car or truck is insured with. As these vehicles grow in popularity, more major insurance companies have added recreational vehicle policies. Major insurers like Geico, Allstate and Progressive insure snowmobiles.
You can ask your current insurer if you might be able to add a recreational vehicle policy to your existing account. In many cases, carrying multiple types of insurance with a single company will lead to discounts; you might be able to save enough money on your car insurance through a multi-policy discount to nearly pay for the snowmobile coverage. Be sure to ask about multi-policy discounts when you insure your snowmobile.
Because snowmobiles are weather-specific recreational vehicles, you may only need to purchase coverage for a portion of the year. Ask if you can take out the policy for a few months at a time or if you can drop coverage to a minimum during the summer. This should save you even more money over time, although it may cause an interruption in your multi-policy discount depending on the rules your insurance company has.
Whenever you purchase any type of vehicle, you are responsible to learn what rules govern its use and what you must do in order to own it safely and legally. By purchasing insurance for your recreational vehicle, you protect your property from damage and stay in compliance with the law.
If you have any questions about insurance or aren’t sure whether you need to buy coverage for a specific situation, you can always contact your agent; he or she will be able to discuss your insurance needs and point you in the right direction to save money and keep yourself well covered.