Venturing outdoors on ATV or dirt bikes continues to grow in popularity, and while exploring nature with these vehicles is fun, colliding with other riders isn’t. But in many states — Utah and Idaho included — insurance is not required on many recreational vehicles, leaving uninsured owners with big bills if an accident occurs.
High Net Worth Personal Insurance Specialist Steve Davis, vice president of Zions Bank, says not insuring is risky. “If you have a collision with another party, you could be responsible for their injuries and damage to their vehicle.”
While this protection is a key reason to insure, Davis also says, “When you have insurance, you’re able to protect the value of your investment.” Side-by-side UTVs can cost as much as a car so maintaining proper coverage assures you won’t lose out monetarily if it’s damaged.
By Jenny Willden
Plus, part of the fun of owning a recreational vehicle is allowing others to use it. But the damages your friends or family cause are your responsibility if they’re uninsured. These inexperienced users are also the most likely to have devastating, expensive accidents requiring immediate care or emergency backcountry rescues.
Davis recommends contacting your insurance agent and discussing the types of insurance advised for your ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes. Here we’ve highlighted three common policies, and depending on your usage, risk and the cost, you may want to invest in one or all of them for your vehicles.
1. Liability Only
Liability insurance covers injury to others and damage to their vehicles but does not protect against damage to your property or occupants of your vehicle. Some — but not all — ATVs in Utah are required to have this level of coverage. This is the minimum Davis recommends. And it’s not pricey. “Say you were buying liability only for a dirt bike, ATV or even UTV, your cost per unit is between $40 and $100 a year,” he says. Trailers are not included but can be insured separately.
2. Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage protects the occupants of your vehicle — be they owners or guests — in the event of accident or injury and pays their medical bills up to the amount of coverage you’ve selected, ranging from $1,000–$10,000. Because of the high cost of backcountry injuries, Davis recommends choosing maximum coverage.
3. Uninsured Motorist or Boater
Liability and medical payment coverage offer protection if you cause an accident, but what happens if an uninsured ATV rider or boater hits you? This coverage is a defense against damage to your vehicle and its occupants and is available for bikes, boats and ATVs/UTVs.
In addition to insuring your vehicles, Davis says one of the best ways you can protect yourself is annual maintenance. “Have vehicles checked out each year by a mechanic to make sure they’re in proper working order to reduce risk of malfunction,” he says.
Whichever coverage level you choose, here’s to an accident-free season of outdoor exploration with your summertime toys!