Does your off-road vehicle need insurance? In order to answer this question you need to think about what type of vehicle you have and how it is used. Some off-road vehicles are required to be insured by various states, while other states leave this up to the owner.

Of course, it stands to reason that insurance any off-road vehicle is a protection of your investment. Some of these “toys” cost thousands of dollars, and even if you never drive them on a public highway or road, it is likely that you could benefit from insurance coverage against theft or damage caused by weather. This is a personal decision that each owner of an off-road vehicle must make, and the answer depends on if the owner has the money to repair or replace the off-road vehicle without the help of an insurance company.

However, whether you are required to insure these vehicles is another matter

Some states require the licensing and insuring of certain off-road vehicles, and some do not. Generally, states require off-road vehicles to be licensed if they are also used on any public roads or streets, although that generalization does not apply in every state or to every vehicle.

Even the term “off road vehicle” can vary from location to location. Technically an off road vehicle is any vehicle capable of traveling both on and off public roads and designed to do so. This would include such vehicles as dune buggies, snow mobiles, dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and Jeeps. Water craft vehicles such as jet skis are not considered “off road” vehicles because they are not capable of traveling on land.

If we use the term “off road vehicle” to include the broad categories of any number of different types of vehicles, then insurance becomes a much more complex issue. Each state lists the types of off road vehicles required to be insured under its state’s Insurance Commission website, so you can easily find this information for your location.

Because off road vehicles do not travel on public roads, it is difficult for legislators to pass or enforce laws that require drivers to have licenses and insurance for these vehicles. However, due to the rising number of accidents, especially those involving children that occur with some off-road vehicles, legislators are receiving more pressure to regulate the use of these types of vehicles. Currently, most states do not have laws, for example, that limit the age of children using four-wheelers, and many states even allow the sale of “mini” four-wheelers for relatively small children. The fact that many children are injured or killed every year while using four-wheelers has prompted some groups to lobby for laws that require stricter regulation of these vehicles, including requiring liability insurance for them. At present, however, these measures have not been largely successful.

Most areas that have large amounts of off-road activity are more likely to require certain standards in insuring these vehicles.

In some states, you must show proof of insurance to take your off-road vehicle into certain areas. In other places, private land owners can require that you have some form of liability insurance to cover yourself and your passengers if you use an off-road vehicle on that property.

Some areas require additional types of insurance when a person is driving an ATV or other off road vehicle, such as insurance against fires set by hot exhaust pipes. This usually comes under the umbrella of liability policies, and would pay for the damages and manpower needed to deal with an environmental hazard caused by your use of off road vehicles. Other non-insurance requirements may also be in place in your state such as the requirement for all off road vehicle drivers to wear helmets or obey certain traffic laws. Some states also mandate the type of safety equipment your off road vehicle must carry to make it legal to operate in that state.

You can always choose to insure your ATV or other off road vehicle no matter what the state requires in terms of insurance. If you choose your own off road vehicle coverage, you will want to have liability coverage at a minimum. Liability pays for the damages you cause to someone else, either in terms of bodily injury or property damage. You may also want collision coverage that will pay for damages to your off road vehicle, comprehensive coverage that will pay for water damage, fire, or theft, and uninsured motorist coverage that will pay if someone who is uninsured damages your off road vehicle.