What You Need to Know Before You Ride Through the Snow This Season
Snowmobiling in the dead of a harsh Canadian winter can be one of the most exhilarating things you can do, but before you head out on the trails, be sure to consider the risks and prepare to operate your vehicle safely. By educating yourself on all the potential risks and outcomes, you can prepare yourself and thereby ensure that you have a safe riding season. Start by understanding snowmobile insurance in Ontario so you can ride knowing that no matter what happens, you have options.
With the average price of a snowmobile reaching $11,000, it’s important to consider protecting your investment. Like other recreational vehicles such as ATV’s or Jet Skis, your snowmobile should be insured against any loss or damage. While snowmobile insurance is not required if the vehicle is being driven by the owner on private property, those looking to ride on snowmobile trails and across permitted roadways will require snowmobile insurance.
Snowmobile insurance in Ontario requires that you at least have coverage for the following:
- Third Party Liability Coverage
- Statutory Accident Benefits Coverage
- Direct Compensation – Property Damage (DCPD) Coverage
- Uninsured Automobile Coverage
When looking for snowmobile insurance in Ontario it is important to know that this is a specialty insurance product, therefore, not all insurance companies will offer policies for snowmobiles. It would be worth contacting an auto insurance broker, agent, or insurance company to find out if they also sell snowmobile coverage. In this instance, you may be able to get a discount on the snowmobile premium if your automobile is insured by them as well.
Purchasing stand-alone insurance separate from your auto insurance is another possibility. Keep in mind that the premium for stand-alone snowmobile insurance may be more expensive than if the snowmobile is added to an existing auto insurance policy.
Many factors play a role in determining the cost of your insurance. Most insurance companies or brokers will consider your age, driving record, how often you drive, ride training, where you live, and the type of snowmobile you own. When speaking with your insurance broker or company it may be important to mention if you affiliate with of any snowmobile associations or if you are a mature rider as you may be able to take advantage of discounted rates. You may also be able to save money if you insure more than one snowmobile under the same policy.
What is Snowmobile Insurance?
Whether this is your first snowmobile or the newest addition to your collection, it‘s important to insure and protect your vehicle. If you are considering riding anywhere outside of your own property, snowmobile insurance in Ontario is mandatory and must contain the following minimum coverages:
- Third Party Liability Coverage of at least $200,000 protects you if a third party is killed, injured, or has their property damaged. If you are sued, this coverage pays the claim up to the limit of your coverage as well as the cost of settling the claims.
- Statutory Accident Benefits Coverage provides supplementary medical, rehabilitation, attendant care, caregiver, non-earner, income replacement, and dental benefits if you are killed or injured in an accident, regardless of the party responsible.
- Direct Compensation – Property Damage (DCPD) Coverage pays for the damage to your vehicle and its contents, if another party is at fault for an accident that occurs in Ontario and if the driver is insured by an insurance company licensed in Ontario.
- Uninsured Automobile Coverage provides financial compensation of up to $25,000 for you and your family if you are injured or killed by an unidentified driver or by an uninsured motorist. This also covers damage to your vehicle caused by an unidentified driver.
In addition to standard coverage on your snowmobile, you may also purchase further coverage for loss or damage to your snowmobile. Extra coverage is standard when considering snowmobile insurance in Ontario and it can give you a sense of security should anything happen to your vehicle.
- Specified Perils Coverage: Covers losses resulting from particular events that are not pre-defined in the text of your standard insurance policy. This type of coverage can include losses regarding fire, theft or attempted theft, lightning, flooding, and hail.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Insures your vehicle from all insured damage with the exception of collision or upset.
- Collision or Upset Coverage: This insures your vehicle should there be damage caused by collisions with another vehicle or object.
- All Perils Coverage: The broadest level of coverage – combining Collision or Upset, and Comprehensive coverage along including increased theft protection.
Do I Really Need Snowmobile Insurance?
Short answer? Yes, unless you’re just driving around your own lawn. In Ontario, snowmobile insurance is mandatory unless you are driving your vehicle on your property. For some, this is no issue, but most people don’t want to be restricted to just one area. Even if you only ride your vehicle for a short time in (though with Ontario winters lasting longer you will definitely have more riding time), many experts agree that a full year policy is worth the cost for full protection even when your snowmobile is not in use.
While it may seem that full-year protection is unnecessary since the vehicle will not be in use all year, this is isn’t always the case. The difference in cost between a full year and seasonal insurance is often small enough that purchasing continuous coverage is the best option for everyone. Customized policies can also be arranged to better suit your needs. When considering snowmobile insurance in Ontario, be sure to account for all the variables involved with your vehicle so you can make an informed decision.
Here are some questions you should think about when deciding to get insurance for your vehicle.
- Is your vehicle stored on your property or in offsite storage?
- How often are you riding your vehicle?
- Will you be riding mostly on private property, trails, or along permitted roadways?
- How will you be transporting your snowmobile to its destinations?
- Who are the primary riders of the vehicle and what are their ages?
- Where did you receive your rider training?
- Do you have a clean driving record in the past three years?
- What is the make and model of your snowmobile?
Finding Snowmobile Insurance in Ontario
Finding a broker or insurance company that offers snowmobile insurance in Ontario is as easy as asking a friend or using the internet, but not all insurance companies offer an appealing policy. If you already have auto insurance with a company that offers snowmobile insurance, it would be best to set up a policy with them as they may offer a discount on your snowmobile premium if your automobile is insured by them as well.
Purchasing “stand-alone” insurance is also an option, but keep in mind that “stand-alone” insurance is often more expensive compared to adding a snowmobile to an existing auto insurance policy. Consider consulting your snowmobile dealer or local snowmobile association as they may have leads or connections with brokers, agents, or insurance companies in your community.
In some cases, you may not be able to purchases snowmobile insurance on the regular market. This may occur because of your driving record, accident history, or because of the type of snowmobile you own. If you are unable to find coverage in the regular insurance market, the Facility Association will be able to provide it. Keep in mind that the Facility Association insurance premium may be higher than that of the regular insurance market.
Once you have found an insurance broker, agent, or company, don’t be afraid to request a quote and continue to shop around. Competitors may offer better deals, and finding the perfect insurance plan for your vehicle and specific needs is imperative.