Person riding snowmobile through trail in forested area.

Things to Consider Before Buying Your First SnowmobileOctober 12th, 2022

As the temperature drops, outdoor sports enthusiasts begin planning their winter excursions. One of the most popular winter activities throughout Ontario is snowmobile riding.

Snowmobiles can be fun recreational vehicles that allow you to maneuver easily through rugged, snowy terrain. These vehicles can also be helpful when hauling various types of equipment or when you need to travel during dangerous icy conditions.

Buying a snowmobile can be a significant investment, especially for those who live in areas that get heavy snow and ice each winter. If you are considering purchasing a snowmobile for the first time, there are several things you should consider, including any hidden costs and risks involved. 

You will also want to consider your new snowmobile insurance options.

What To Consider When Buying a Snowmobile

The first thing you will need to think about before you purchase a snowmobile is to check with your area’s laws about licenses and permits for operating this type of recreational vehicle. In Ontario, for instance, to legally operate a snowmobile, you will need to carry a legitimate driver’s license, a driver’s license from your home state, country, or province, or a motorized snow vehicle operator’s license, also known as an MSVOL

You will also need to have proof of insurance as well as your snowmobile registration permit. All drivers and passengers on your snowmobile must wear an approved helmet.

MSVOL licenses are issued by the OFSC, also known as the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. These licenses allow you to use a snowmobile on various trails throughout Ontario.

Another thing to consider when buying a snowmobile is what type of riding you are planning on doing. There are many different purposes for owning one of these vehicles and many different snowmobile types for you to consider as well. 

An entry-level snowmobile, for example, is suitable for kids and adults who have never used a snowmobile before or those with little experience.

A trail snowmobile is usually easy to operate and less expensive than other complex models. These are good for intermediate users who want to ride on snow-covered terrain and trails.

A Sport Trail snowmobile will have more features and better horsepower than a beginner or trail model. These are designed for more advanced users.

Performance, Touring, or Mountain snowmobiles are all for advanced or expert users who want to use their snowmobiles for competitions or to travel great distances.

What Risk Factors Should I Be Aware of When Buying a Snowmobile?

There are several risk factors to keep in mind when purchasing a snowmobile. If you are interested in saving some money and buying a used snowmobile, you will need to think about the vehicle’s overall condition, the current mileage, and the overall cost.

With a used snowmobile, you may pay a lot less, but if the engine is not in good condition or has too many miles, you may not save as much as you had initially expected.

There are also some key risk factors to consider when buying a new snowmobile. Even if your budget allows you to spend top dollar, you should always be realistic about what type of snowmobile you need. If you are new to using a snowmobile, you should purchase a Sport Trail or Touring model just because you can afford to do so.

Are There Hidden Costs First-Time Snowmobile Owners Should Know About? 

First-time snowmobile owners should do their research when it comes to which brand or model they should purchase. If you are buying from a dealership, ask questions about all the costs involved. Some manufacturers may offer an extended warranty for your new vehicle, which often adds a few extra hundred dollars to their final price. And you usually have to pay for your warranty in full, upfront.

If your budget allows for it, it can be an excellent investment that will protect you from high out-of-pocket costs in the future.

Do I Need to Buy Snowmobile Insurance?

A snowmobile is an investment, much like a car, boat, or motorcycle. And unfortunately, things can go wrong while you are using one.  

The bad thing is many snowmobile owners will treat snowmobile insurance like it is not as important as other forms of insurance. And while you only use your snowmobile during the winter season, a lot can happen while you are out there having fun. Therefore, getting an insurance policy for your new snowmobile would be wise. However, it is not just a great suggestion in some areas, like Ontario. It is a requirement.

In Ontario, it is estimated that around 200,000 snowmobile owners ride more than 150 million kilometres during a single winter season without a serious accident. However, when something does go wrong, the outcome can be brutal.

Unlike cars or trucks, snowmobiles do not offer a lot of protection. And although they are designed for use on snow and ice, that does not mean that they stop quickly on this time of terrain. A crash involving being thrown from a snowmobile and landing among trees and rocks can be severe, and that usually occurs while you are on a trail that is a long way from medical assistance.

Can I Add My Snowmobile to my Existing Auto Insurance Policy?

If you want to add your snowmobile to your current automobile insurance policy, the policy wording will apply automatically to your snowmobile. You will likely get a reasonable rate for your snowmobile if you have a good driving record. And if you have compared costs and purchased the best possible one for your automobile, you will also get a reasonable rate for your snowmobile. However, if you buy a stand-alone policy for your snowmobile, you are starting fresh with a brand-new policy, and your good driving record will not influence your snowmobile’s coverage cost.

Remember that insurance is not required if you are only operating your snowmobile on your private property. Any snowmobile insurance you purchase in Ontario will cover you while riding in other provinces. However, if you buy a permit in Quebec, the liability coverage may not automatically protect you outside that province.

What is Included With a Snowmobile Policy?

A typical snowmobile insurance policy will include coverage for damage caused due to a collision with another vehicle or an object. Comprehensive coverage takes care of all insured damages except for any bodily injury liability, collision, or property damage liability.

It is usually a good idea to obtain coverage for additional items like any snowmobile accessories you may have, such as your windshield, helmet, or gear. If you want, you can also cover things like your trailers and aftermarket parts.

Some snowmobile owners choose to increase their liability limits and opt for year-round coverage that will protect them from damage, theft, or other incidents that could happen during the off-season. These coverages are all optional and may be subject to a deductible. Your agent can provide you with more details if you are interested.

What Types of Snowmobile Insurance is Available in Ontario? 

When riding a snowmobile in Ontario, you are required to have, at minimum, third-party liability insurance coverage with at least $1,000,000 to cover your costs if someone is killed or hurt or their property is damaged. That will also protect you if you are sued. It will pay for any claims up to the coverage limit and the cost of settling your claims.

Additional coverage options for snowmobile insurance include the following.

Statutory Accident Benefits Insurance Coverage 

This coverage provides supplemental rehabilitation, medical, caregiver, attendant care, non-earner, for full or partial income replacement, or death benefits if you have hurt or killed another person in an accident, no matter who was at fault.

Uninsured Automobile Coverage

This coverage offers compensation for you and your dependents if you are killed or injured due to an accident with an unidentified driver or an uninsured motorist. It will also cover the cost of damages to your snowmobile caused by an uninsured driver by up to $25,000.

Direct Compensation/Property Damage (DCPD) Insurance Coverage

This is coverage that pays for the destruction of your snowmobile and any accessories if another individual is at fault for a collision that happened in Ontario. It will also provide protection if that driver is covered by a provider who is licensed in a different province.

When buying snowmobile insurance, you need to remember that it is not cheap, but it can still be affordable, and it is much better than paying for all those unfortunate costs out of your pocket. With some providers, it may be possible to receive a discount if you also have other policies, such as homeowners insurance or auto insurance. Your insurance provider may also combine motorcycle and ATV insurance policies with your snowmobile insurance to help lower the total cost.

Contact Duliban Insurance Company 

Have peace of mind while you and your family enjoy riding your new snowmobile when you take out a policy with us here at Duliban Insurance. We are experts in providing the right coverage for your recreational vehicles. 

Get in touch with us today for more information. We look forward to answering any questions you may have.

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