Do You Need Special Insurance for a Snowmobile?

Last Updated on April 24, 2020

Snowmobiles are a fun way to enjoy winter. However, snowmobiles may need insurance.

Some snowmobile owners buy insurance because they’re legally required to buy it. Others buy insurance to protect the value of the snowmobile.

Many of America’s largest insurance companies offer special insurance for snowmobiles. Depending on the situation, you may be required to have liability insurance on your snowmobile.

Do you need special insurance for a snowmobile? Will car insurance cover snowmobiles and other vehicles? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about special insurance for snowmobiles.

Do You Need Special Insurance for a Snowmobile?

Only Five States Require Snowmobile Insurance

Most states do not require snowmobile insurance. You can buy a snowmobile and freely ride it with no insurance required.

  • Five states, however, do require snowmobile insurance, including:
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont

In most other states, you can ride a snowmobile with no insurance required. However, you are required to pay an annual or biannual fee to register your snowmobile. You might have to register your snowmobile with your state’s park services administration, for example.

Some states also require snowmobile riders to wear helmets and other protective gear when riding on public land.

How Does Snowmobile Insurance Work?

Snowmobile insurance works similarly to car insurance. There’s liability coverage, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and more.

Your snowmobile insurance policy may be expressed like 50/100/30, which means you have $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person, $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $30,000 of property damage coverage.

Snowmobile insurance generally includes:

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Most snowmobile insurance policies have bodily injury (BI) liability coverage, which covers liability for an accident involving injury to other people or property up to your liability limits. It can cover medical bills and rehabilitation costs after an accident on your snowmobile.

Property Damage Liability Coverage: Property damage (PD) liability coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing someone else’s property after an accident you cause. If you run into someone’s fence, vehicle, or snowmobile while riding, for example, then your property damage liability coverage will cover the cost of repairing the other person’s property.

Collision Coverage: Collision coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing your own vehicle after an accident, regardless of fault. You pay a deductible, and your insurance covers any remaining repair or replacement costs, up to the limits of your policy (or up to the total value of your snowmobile).

Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing your snowmobile after a non-accident-related incident – including theft, fire, water damage, vandalism, and other incidents.

Uninsured / Underinsured Rider Coverage: Some snowmobile policies include uninsured or underinsured rider (or uninsured or underinsured motorist) coverage. If you collide with a snowmobiler who has no insurance, then your policy will cover any of your damage.

Roadside Assistance: Some snowmobile policies include roadside assistance coverage, which covers towing, mechanical breakdowns, dead batteries, lockouts, lost keys, insufficient fuel, or entrapment (like getting stuck in snow or mud).

Accessory Coverage: You may be able to add accessory coverage to your snowmobile insurance, which covers additional items not part of the original snowmobile, including electronic equipment and antennas, trailers, custom paint, modifications, plow blades, winches, seat rests, windshields, and other items.

Other Coverages: Snowmobile insurance may also come with medical payments coverage (which covers medical bills for you and your passengers) or funeral expense coverage.

Why Do I Need Snowmobile Insurance?

Snowmobile insurance can cover you when on or off your property. It protects you and any riders from medical bills, injuries, lost wages, rehabilitation, and other unexpected expenses after an accident.

Snowmobile insurance also covers the value of your snowmobile. This may be less important for an older, less valuable snowmobile. However, with many new snowmobiles worth $25,000 or more, it’s important to protect your investment.

Many state-owned and public parks also require snowmobile insurance to ride on their trails. And, as mentioned above, five states require insurance on all snowmobiles to legally ride.

Snowmobile insurance isn’t just about you and your snowmobile: it’s also about other people. If you injure someone while driving your snowmobile, then you may be liable for any injuries. A serious snowmobile accident can lead to huge medical bills and lengthy rehabilitation. As the at-fault rider, oy may be liable – and snowmobile insurance could protect you.

Some people buy snowmobile insurance because they engage in risky activities. They might spend time in the backcountry, for example. They might ride through dangerous terrain at high speeds.

It’s also important to remember that snowmobile coverage should cover your snowmobile year-round. If you store your snowmobile in your garage, for example, then your house insurance policy may not cover theft, fire damage, water damage, or other damages – but a snowmobile insurance policy would cover these costs.

How Much Does Snowmobile Insurance Cost?

A typical snowmobile insurance policy costs $100 to $400 per year, depending on the value of the snowmobile and your coverage options.

Snowmobile insurance tends to be similar in price to ATV insurance. Both ATV and snowmobile insurance are cheaper than motorcycle insurance, and all three are cheaper than auto insurance, which costs around $1,100 per year.

Snowmobile Insurance Exclusions

Most snowmobile insurance policies exclude coverage in certain situations.

Virtually all ordinary snowmobile insurance policies exclude coverage if your snowmobile is used for racing, competition, or jumping, for example.

Some insurance companies will also not insure a snowmobile manufactured outside of North America.

Final Word

Yes, snowmobiles come with special insurance requirements. Your car insurance will not cover a snowmobile.

Five states require snowmobile insurance, including New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Vermont.

In other states, snowmobile insurance is generally optional, although it may be required on public trails. Other states may also require you to wear safety gear – like helmets.

Even if snowmobile insurance is not required, it may be a good idea to have coverage. Snowmobile insurance protects you from liability. It protects your investment. It covers you against unexpected expenses.

For all of these reasons, you may want to request a snowmobile insurance quote.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
Back to Top