Do I need insurance for my ATV?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 26, 2016

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Here's what you need to know...
  • State laws differ, but generally speaking, you must have insurance on your ATV if you ride anywhere besides private land
  • 4-wheelers are NOT fully covered under your homeowner’s insurance plan
  • There is a wide range of options to choose from when picking your ATV insurance plan
  • If you race ATVs or use them in business ventures, you need a special type of insurance plan

Whether or not your 4-wheeler requires car insurance (or ATV insurance) varies from state to state.

And while no state laws require you to carry full coverage for your 4-wheeler, many of the states still require you hold some sort of liability coverage for your motorized all-terrain vehicle.

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Before you go and purchase a 4-wheeler, make sure you are familiar with the laws of your state in regards to who is able to drive the vehicle and any and all insurance requirements for this mud and dirt all-terrain vehicle.

In some states, you will need to register your vehicle while in others you will not. You need to go to your state’s DMV to find out what, if any, registration you will need for your ATV.

Do I need to have insurance for my 4-wheeler if I am going to ride it on public land?


Although many states don’t require your 4-wheeler to be insured if ridden on private property, the rules are completely different if you plan on driving your ATV on state-owned land or a public park.

You will be required to at least carry liability insurance if riding on public land and in some states you may be required to carry more coverage than just that.

Isn’t my ATV or 4-wheeler covered under my homeowner’s insurance policy?

No! You may be able to get some coverage through your homeowner’s policy, but most motorized vehicles are not fully covered by homeowner’s insurance.

If you need to get insurance for your ATV or 4-wheeler it is probably not going to be through your homeowner’s policy but through a stand-alone ATV insurance product – much like car insurance.

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What sorts of coverage can I get or need for my ATV or 4-wheeler?

Here are the types of coverage you may want to consider when buying a 4-wheeler:

  • Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability – This will cover the cost incurred with damaging property or injuring a person.
  • Comprehensive & Collision Coverage – This coverage will protect you in the event that your 4-wheeler gets into an accident with another object or vehicle. It takes care of any non-vehicular incidents that caused damage to your 4-wheeler – fire, theft, vandalism, and collision with an animal.
  • Medical Payments Cover – This is a good type of cover to have because it provides compensation for the medical services given to you after being hurt in a 4-wheeler accident, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – Again, like car insurance, if you have the unfortunate fate to get into a terrible accident where the other motorist either has minimum coverage, or no insurance coverage at all, this type of cover provides you peace of mind that you are covered.
  • Accessory and/or Safety Apparel Coverage – This protects all electronic equipment and gadgets as well as upgrades installed in your 4-wheeler apart from the factory-installed ones. Also, trailer, covers, helmets, and other safety apparel or accessories related to your 4-wheeler would be covered.

What if I race ATVs or give tours? Does my ATV insurance cover this?


Probably not. If you race 4-wheelers or ATVs you will need to find a plan that specializes in this sort of use. Due to the added danger and risk associated with racing ATVs, you need to let your insurance agent know about your endeavors in order to receive the proper insurance product.

In many states, if you use your 4-wheeler for commercial use, you will need to get commercial coverage that takes these factors into consideration. Regular ATV insurance will not be satisfactory if you give tours, lease out 4-wheelers, or use your ATV for any business endeavor.

Are there any other factors that can affect my 4-wheeler insurance coverage?

Other factors that may play a role in your need for insurance are environmental concerns that may be caused by riding a 4-wheeler, like wildfires. Also, if you wish your 4-wheeler to be street legal (which is legal in some states), this would necessitate a more robust insurance policy.

Your driving record, safety equipment, age and model of the vehicle are also factors that will change the pricing of your insurance policy.

To get a better understanding of ATV and 4-wheeler insurance coverage, you need to compare the car insurance rates of top companies in your area by typing in your ZIP code now!

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