An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) can be dangerous to riders and those around them, and it can be expensive to replace if it’s damaged, so owners should consider purchasing ATV insurance. If you want to ride in some places, such as a state park, basic ATV insurance is even required by law. Most insurance companies cover ATVs under their motorcycle insurance policies, but rates are generally lower for off-road vehicles. Also note that if your vehicle is referred to as a UTV, utility vehicle or side-by-side, it is likely considered as an ATV when searching for insurance.
What ATV Insurance Covers
Most insurance companies cover ATVs under their motorcycle insurance policies. The process for gathering an online quote for an ATV is identical to that of a motorcycle (or moped or scooter). The only difference is a shopper enters vehicle information for an ATV, instead of a motorcycle. Here are coverages typically included in ATV and side-by-side insurance policies and those that are optional for purchase.
Bodily Injury Liability: This coverage pays for damages associated with any other parties injured or killed in an accident associated with your ATV or off-road vehicle. It will also cover any legal fees resulting from any litigation against the policyholder. In both circumstances, this part of ATV insurance will cover up to the claim limits of the policy. The limits of bodily injury liability are typically an amount per person and a total amount per accident, regardless of the number involved.
To avoid injuries and liability claims related to an ATV, there are a number of things owners can do. Keep your ATV garaged or secured so that only those with permission and supervision can ride it. Even if someone does not have permission to ride an ATV, an ATV owner might be found liable for their injuries suffered while riding it.
It’s also important to follow the guidelines of every ATV. Not adhering to them might compromise the vehicle's performance or a rider’s. For example, every vehicle has weight restrictions—do not overload any haul or cargo. Most four-wheelers are designed for one person, and make sure that driver is the appropriate size for the ATV. No one should ever operate an ATV under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Property Damage Liability: This coverage is similar to bodily injury liability, except it pays for the cost of any damage an ATV driver might cause to another person’s property. This includes personal property (such as any belongings) as well as their home or yard. Property damage liability also has a claim limit per damage incident. The limit is typically as much or lower than the per-person limit of the ATV policy's bodily injury liability insurance. For example, if an ATV or UTV insurance policy has a bodily injury limit of $25,000 per person/per accident, the same policy’s property damage limit might be $25,000 or lower.
Medical Payments (Optional): Medical payments coverage pays for any medical expenses incurred by those riding your ATV. It will cover things like surgeries, X-rays, a hospital stay and even transportation via ambulance.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (Optional): In the event you or someone riding your ATV are injured by someone else who doesn’t have insurance, or not enough of it, these coverages will pay for your expenses. Ideally, if someone else is at fault for your injury or damages, their insurance company would cover those costs they are responsible for. However, even when insurance is required by law, some individuals might fail to purchase it. Uninsured/underinsured coverage for ATV insurance also has claim limits. Like bodily injury liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages have limits per individual and per accident.
Collision (Optional): This coverage pays to repair any damages to your ATV caused by a collision with another vehicle or if it overturns. Policyholders choose a deductible—the amount they pay before their insurer begins to cover costs—and the insurance company will cover up to the value of the ATV. To keep premiums low, an owner of an ATV with a low value might choose to forgo this coverage, so you may want to determine how much your ATV is worth before adding it to a policy. Collision coverage is often required of owners who financed the purchase of their ATV or are leasing it.
Comprehensive (Optional): Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to an ATV that are not caused by a collision with another vehicle. It also covers losses due to theft, vandalism, flooding, earthquakes, fires and other causes. Like collision, comprehensive coverage has a deductible. For example, if someone steals your ATV, you could file a comprehensive claim and your insurer would pay up to the cash value to replace it.
ATV Insurance Exclusions
Owners and riders need to be aware of certain circumstances excluded from ATV insurance coverage, either due to higher levels of risk or illegal behavior.
For example, a standard ATV insurance policy will only cover use for either recreational or commuting purposes (such as traveling across your property to a barn or to work). Standard policies will not cover any loss or damages related to organized racing. Most ATV racing insurance policies are offered by specialty insurers.
Riding an ATV on highways and roads is excluded from insurance coverage because it is illegal. There are few exceptions to this rule. Local government agencies across the U.S. can choose to allow ATV traffic on roads and highways and will specifically mark those. Those roads and highways are usually within state-owned property, such as large parks or reserves. Signage regarding ATVs should be obvious—do not assume ATVs are permitted on any highway, road or trail.
ATVs can cross a road or highway but usually under specific conditions. They must cross at a point designed for vehicles to cross—they cannot simply drive over a median. ATVs crossing any road should come to a complete stop and make sure they are visible by traffic. The only exception to this would be operating an ATV on a roadway in response to an emergency.
ATV Insurance Cost
ATV insurance is usually cheaper than motorcycle insurance, even though ATVs are covered under motorcycle insurance policies offered by a number of companies. There could be a number of reasons for this, but the most likely are related to ATV use. Most motorcycle and ATV accidents are single-vehicle incidents, so injuries stem from inherent dangers of motorcycles and ATVS, not other vehicles on a road or path.
Taking that into consideration, people generally spend less time and drive fewer miles on ATVs than motorcycles, resulting in fewer accidents and claims. ATVs typically can’t travel as fast and don’t have as high a top speed as most motorcycles, either.
In the table below is a breakdown of ATV coverage from GEICO for a 45-year-old male in the state of New Jersey. The sample ATV we gathered quotes for was a 2015 Yamaha Banshee. You’ll notice the cost of basic bodily injury and personal property liability insurance is relatively inexpensive ($99), as well as medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Adding collision and comprehensive coverages increased the cost of an ATV or UTV insurance policy by hundreds of dollars. Comprehensive coverage likely increases the cost significantly because ATVs, like motorcycles, are highly sought after by thieves and are generally easier to steal than a car or boat. For comparison, the average cost of motorcycle insurance in the U.S. is $519 for a typical policy.
|ATV Insurance Coverage||Option 1||Option 2||Option 3||Option 4||Option 5|
|Bodily Injury ($25K/$50K Limits)|
|Property Damage ($25K Limit)|
|Medical Payments ($5,000 Limit)|
|Uninsured/Underinsured ($12K/$25K Limits)|
|Collision ($200 Deductible)|
|Comprehensive ($200 Deductible)|
In order to get the best ATV or UTV insurance rate, we recommend comparing quotes from at least three insurers before purchasing a policy. ATV insurance companies evaluate the risk of riders and vehicles differently, so depending on where you live and your driving history, you may receive a much better rate with one insurer than another. Aside from GEICO, certain national insurers, such as Progressive and State Farm, also offer tailored ATV and off-road vehicle insurance policies.
ATV Insurance Discounts
Like insurance for motorcycles and other vehicles, ATV insurance has discounts available for some policyholders. Most carriers offer lower quotes for ATV insurance if an owner has more than one ATV or motorcycle, has multiple insurance policies (such as homeowners or renters insurance), or if an ATV has an anti-theft device installed.
Some companies, such as GEICO, advertise online that their ATV insurance includes discounts for “mature riders,” or those who are a certain age or older. This isn’t really a discount—all insurance companies use age as a factor to determine the price of a policy. No matter the ATV or UTV insurance company, younger vehicle owners are considered a higher risk, so they generally receive higher quotes.
Allstate suggests ATV insurance policyholders can save as much as 40% on their premiums by taking advantage of discounts. Some discounts they offer include a multipolicy discount, a discount for paying an annual premium in full and a discount for homeownership and for completing a safety course.
Where is ATV Insurance Required?
Depending on where you ride your ATV, you might be required to carry bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. Since ATVs and UTVs typically aren't street-legal, there are no state insurance requirements to own a vehicle. However, many state-owned lands and parks allow ATVs only if riders have ATV liability insurance.
ATV insurance is not required on private property where someone has permission to ride. For example, an ATV owner does not need liability or any other coverage to legally operate their vehicle on land they own or lease. Having said that, ATV riders should still consider purchasing a policy to protect themselves and others. If you're involved in an ATV accident and have no insurance, you'll be held financially responsible for damages you cause, as well as costs related your own injuries and damages to your off-road vehicle.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover ATV Accidents?
Generally, homeowners insurance will not cover your ATV or UTV if it's damaged in an accident, as your property coverage doesn't extend to vehicles. The only motorized vehicle that might be covered by a homeowners insurance policy would be something like a small electric scooter. However, even a small electric scooter may be excluded from coverage if it were driven off a homeowner's property. Any other vehicle, such as your car, boat or an ATV, requires its own separate insurance policy.
But your homeowners liability insurance may cover an ATV accident if another party was injured or had their property damaged. For example, if a friend was riding a UTV on your property, injured themselves and sued you for damages, your homeowners liability insurance would typically cover the incident. Just keep in mind that some homeowners policies have limitations on their coverage, and riders may have to be a certain age or related, so it's good to get an ATV insurance policy if you're concerned about a gap.
Will Auto Insurance Cover an ATV Accident?
Typically no, individual auto insurance policies will not provide coverage if you're involved in an accident with your ATV or UTV. However, you may be able to get a discount on coverage for your vehicles if you bundle your policies with the same ATV insurance company.
Does Health Insurance Cover ATV Accidents?
If you're involved in an ATV accident and you cannot rely on another driver's liability insurance to cover your medical bills, you may be covered by your own health insurance. Whether your health insurance covers ATV and UTV accidents is dependent on whether your policy has a list of exclusions naming off-roading as an activity that is not covered. Some health insurance policies generally exclude "hazardous activities," in which case you should ask your representative if medical bills due to ATV accidents are covered.
What is an ATV?
Each state in the U.S. has its own definition of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) but the definitions are all relatively similar. Most consider any motorized vehicle with two or more wheels meant for off-road driving to be an ATV. They are not intended, nor are they licensed by states, for use on highways or roads. The Polaris RZR, Kawasaki Brute Force and the Honda TRX250X are all slightly different from each other, but they are all ATVs. If your vehicle is referred to as a UTV, utility vehicle or side-by-side, it is likely considered as an ATV when searching for insurance or determining state requirements.
Most people associate single-passenger, four-wheeled, off-road vehicles with ATVs. They are commonly referred to as four-wheelers, quad bikes, quads or quadricycles. However, there are many ATVs designed for two-passengers, and some have greater or fewer than four wheels. For example, the Polaris Ranger 6x6 has six wheels.