Cover Your Assets

Cover Your Assets

atvillustrated.2014.insurance.atvs.parked.over-outlook.JPGI like Flo, the quirky, happy to help, insurance lady from Progressive. She delivers the message about the types of protection her company offers and it’s especially heartening to see ATVs, dirt bikes, and other power sports vehicles featured in their commercials. There is a serious message in her bubbly madness though, and that is your assets are worth protecting.

Let’s face it, nobody really gets excited about buying insurance, but there are two ways your weekend adventure could go disastrously bad and it’s at that time you’ll be happy you know Flo or one of her cohorts. When your weekend takes a turn for the worst and your machine is damaged, stolen by some ne’r-do-well, or worse, you have a trail riding accident you need to know what would likely be covered on both the vehicle and any riders.

Personal Safety First

You can buy new parts but you can’t grow a new limb. Above all else, the most important thing you can do when riding is to wear proper safety gear. That means a quality helmet, goggles, gloves and appropriate footwear and clothing. Shorts, tank tops, and flip flops are great for the beach, but a lot less stylish should you find yourself rolling in the dirt alongside your machine. Racers take things one step further with neck protection and a chest protector and it’s not a bad idea for everyone else as well. Helmets and protective gear have come a long way in the past decade and you can buy some very good helmets for a little over $100. Look for a helmet that is DOT rated and make sure it fits properly. You want a helmet that is snug enough to stay on and not move around, but not too tight. Motocross boots are also excellent, but work boots or hiking boots will work as well.atvillustrated.2014.insurance.helmet.JPG

Side x Side riders are usually protected with a roll cage but don’t let that be a false sense of security. For any type of off-road riding you should be wearing a helmet, with protective eyewear or goggles. Passengers in your UTV should be protected as well, and make sure everyone is strapped in with the seat belts, and all protective doors or netting are in place.

One of the most polarizing aspects to off-road riding is whether kids should ride. The manufacturers are extremely careful with the models they build for youth riders, making sure they are the appropriate size, with manageable power and safe, predictable handling characteristics. As the adult though, it’s your job to be sure any youth rider is wearing the proper gear and riding in a safe manner. Kids will be kids, and they love to ride, but be sure to teach them not only good riding technique, but also the importance of safety gear. You’ll be setting them up for a lifetime of off-road adventure if you teach them correctly. Never let them ride unsupervised, make sure they are riding age appropriate machines, and dress the kids like a racer. They’ll love it and you’ll know they’re fully protected.

We would recommend that before anyone rides an ATV or UTV that they complete a safety course. The most distinguished training would no doubt be that offered by the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute (ASI), a non-profit arm of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) trade association. It is free training to those who have purchased new ATV’s from member companies that sponsor the SVIA. Training is also available for a small fee to others who are not eligible for the free training. More information about this training is available on the ASI website (http://www.atvsafety.org/). It’s also a good idea to review your manufacturer owner’s manual because they will also cover safety recommendations.2014.yamaha.grizzly.green.front-left.on-fire.JPG

Two Types of Insurance

Companies like Progressive Insurance offer both liability and physical damage coverage. Liability Coverage is the generic term associated with insurance that pays for damages for bodily injury or property damage for which a policyholder or other insured becomes legally responsible because of a covered accident. This is what’s sometimes referred to as “third party” coverage. If the policyholder wants “first party” coverage, or coverage for his own injuries or the injuries of another insured or passenger, he would likely consider purchasing Medical Payments Coverage. This coverage pays for reasonable expenses for necessary medical services rendered, because of injuries incurred by an insured. Liability Coverage will not pay for repairing your vehicle though. You’ll need Collision Coverage to take care of that problem.

Like automobile insurance, coverage for damage incurred from running into things is provided by Collision coverage. Insuring vehicles like ATV’s and Side x Side’s is, in some ways, similar to insuring an automobile in this respect. Theft loss is addressed by Comprehensive or Other Than Collision coverage. However, you should expect to find limitations on the availability of this coverage, based on the age and value of the vehicle. Don’t expect full price for your ’85 QuadSport if somebody “borrows” it from your garage. Check with your agent to confirm what coverage your homeowner’s policy provides, but many standard home owner’s policies exclude coverage for motorized vehicles. Also, just because your machine is tucked inside your trailer or truck does not necessarily mean it’s covered for theft. Most auto policies do not provide coverage for a motorized vehicle being carried as cargo because it is considered to be personal property.atvillustrated.2014.insurance.jeep.hauling.atv.JPG

What about added accessories to your vehicle? Companies vary, with some providing a small amount of coverage without listing them, while others require additional premium for specific amount of coverage for accessories. Be sure you ask your agent because insurance is priced on the factory basic year, make and model. Talk to your agent.

Fully Covered

Insurance is a written contract between you and the insurance company. No question is a dumb question when you are buying, so ask, and be sure you understand what you want to know, including your payment plan. Hopefully insurance coverage will be much like the tire repair kit we carry; it’s there to get us out of a problem in an emergency, but we sure hope we never have to use it. Our advice is; wear your safety gear, drive safely and responsibly, and make sure you are protected with the proper gear and the proper insurance coverage. Hello, Flo?

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December 2, 2014

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