The United States is home to hundreds of thousands of off-road vehicles and their owners. Off-road vehicles can be found in numerous types and styles, and may be used for recreation, transportation, or even work tasks on difficult terrain. So-called All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are very popular, but there are also four-wheelers, dirt bikes, dune buggies, quads, and even go-karts to choose from; if a vehicle is meant to be used off paved surfaces, it generally qualifies as an off-road vehicle. California is no exception – thousands of people hit the trails on weekends or head out for work on ranches and farms aboard their off-road machines.

As a valuable — and sometimes expensive – investment, it makes sense to protect your vehicle with an off-road vehicle insurance policy. With an insurance policy in place, you are protected no matter where your off-road journey takes you.

The Basics of Off-Road Vehicle Insurance

Off-road vehicle insurance is a specialized insurance policy that acts much like automobile insurance. These policies are sometimes referred to as ATV insurance. Just like auto insurance, off-road vehicle insurance provides financial protection to cover expenses associated with incidents like crashes or vehicle damage/loss. After a crash, many vehicle owners are surprised to find out how expensive that crash can be, with costs like:

  • Vehicle repair
  • Vehicle replacement
  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Legal costs

Auto insurance offers two primary coverage areas, and there are also optional coverages. Off-road vehicle insurance is the same; in essence, this insurance has the potential to cover a broad range of situations and risks. The primary coverages of off-road vehicle insurance are:

Collision Coverage – if the off-road vehicle should become damaged or destroyed as a result of an accident, this part of the policy helps to cover expenses associated with repairs or replacement of the vehicle.

Liability Coverage – financial protection against bodily injury and/or property damage if you should cause an accident is the purpose of this part of an insurance policy. Liability also provides financial coverage for legal expenses if the vehicle owner is sued by injured parties or property owners as a result of a crash.

Most insurance policies offer optional protections. For off-road vehicle insurance, options include:

Comprehensive Coverage – not all losses involve a crash or accident. This optional insurance protection provides financial compensation to cover costs associated with damage or destruction of an off-road vehicle due to circumstances like natural disasters, theft, vandalism, or fire.

Unisured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – if you are involved in a crash with someone else, and the other party has insufficient or no insurance coverage of their own, this optional protection still covers expenses (property damage, repair/replacement of the vehicle).

It is important to speak with a qualified insurance agent to learn about these coverages and the availability of policies in your area. As with any insurance policy, there are coverage limits and exceptions.

Do I Really Need Off-Road Vehicle Insurance?

Most states do not require off-road vehicle owners to obtain insurance except in certain circumstances. If a vehicle is operated exclusively off-road on private property, you may not need insurance coverage. If your adventures take you to municipal, state, or federal lands – or any public land areas – some states, including California, require some form of insurance coverage. If you race your off-roader, race organizers typically require insurance protection. And, if you finance your vehicle’s purchase, bank lenders often require a current insurance policy on the vehicle.

Even if your area does not require insurance, this type of financial protection can be extremely valuable. Off-road vehicles often represent sizeable investments; doesn’t it make sense to protect your vehicle from losses?

Speak to your local insurance agency about off-road vehicle insurance and the many options available. Your insurance agent can help you select the right policy and coverages to meet your specific needs. Off-road vehicle insurance is a cost-effective means of protecting your vehicle no matter how you use it or where your adventures may take you.

Off-Road Vehicle Insurance: A Guide for Vehicle Owners in California

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