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Off-road, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be fun to ride and are popular in recreational areas that allow them. They can also be useful for getting around a farm or ranch.

But ATVs can be dangerous, too. That’s why it’s important to follow safety rules and have an ATV insurance policy to protect against the financial costs of injury and property damage.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s most recent annual report on ATV-related deaths and injuries, there were 1,513 ATV-related deaths between 2017 and 2019.

Insurance is mandatory in many states if you’re riding on public lands. And while ATV insurance isn’t required when riding on private property, it’s still a good idea to have coverage. Also, if you’re financing an ATV, your lender will likely require you to have insurance. Ask your insurance professional about the various coverages available.

At the very least, you’ll want liability coverage, which is similar to what you might find in an auto or motorcycle policy. Some homeowners insurance policies provide limited liability coverage for an ATV used on your property, but there may be gaps in coverage. Ask your agent what’s best for you.

ATV insurance basics

Here are the basic coverages you’ll want to consider:

Liability coverage pays for bodily injury and property damage if you cause an accident, up to certain limits. It also covers legal fees if you are sued. Bodily injury limits are usually written as an amount per person and a total amount per accident.

Property liability coverage includes damage to personal belongings and someone’s yard or home. Property liability is also subject to limits that are usually lower than bodily injury limits.

Collision coverage (optional) pays for repairs to your ATV if it gets damaged in a rollover or an accident. Collision coverage is subject to a deductible and pays only up to the value of your ATV, so it may not be worth getting this coverage for an older vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage (optional) protects your ATV from theft, vandalism, fire and severe weather. Most policies pay the cash value of the stolen ATV.

Medical payments coverage (optional) pays for medical expenses incurred by your ATV passengers in the event of an accident.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (optional) protects you if another rider causes an accident and does not have insurance to pay for your expenses, subject to the limits in your policy.

Additional insurance considerations

  • How often and where you ride, the type and age of your ATV and where your ATV is stored can affect your coverage and premium costs.
  • Most ATV policies cover the use of your ATV only for recreational purposes or commuting on your property. ATV racing is not covered, although you may be able to find coverage from a specialty insurer.
  • It is illegal to ride an ATV on a highway or road, and ATV policies exclude coverage in these situations.
  • Riders must be at least 16 years old and possess a valid driver’s license to be insured.
  • Coverage generally extends to other people who drive your ATV with your permission, provided they are licensed.
  • Older riders usually can find less expensive coverage than younger drivers, who are considered a higher risk.
  • An insurance professional can help you find the most cost-effective policy for you.

Put safety first

Because ATVs are dangerous, it’s important to follow safety procedures.

  • Do not drive ATVs on paved roads.
  • Do not allow a child younger than 16 to drive or ride in an adult ATV.
  • Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger unless the ATV is designed to carry more than one person.
  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear such as eye protection, boots, gloves, pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Take a hands-on safety training course.

Drive safely and have a great time, backed by the assurance of proper precautions and good insurance.

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