Claims Article: ATV-Snowmobile laws and coverages

How much do you know about ATVs and snowmobiles? We asked Aviva senior claims adjustor specialist Kim Johnston about the most common misconceptions about insuring and operating popular recreational vehicles in Canada and came up with a short quiz to test your knowledge and help you educate your customers on some important information they should know.


True or false: Insuring ATVs/snowmobiles is not mandatory if used on private property.

True… and false. ATV/snowmobile operators are not required by law to insure these recreational vehicles if they use them exclusively on their own property. However, there are a couple of caveats to the regulations, which vary by province and should be consulted:

  1. Operators must be the owner of the vehicle
  2. Operators must be the owner of the property

ATV/snowmobile operators must be insured to operate their vehicle on another person’s private property. If they are operating an ATV or snowmobile that doesn’t belong to them on someone else’s property, the vehicle should be insured by its owner.


True or false: There’s no value in insuring an ATV/snowmobile if you’re going to use it exclusively on private property.

False. Your customers should know that it’s wise to insure their recreational vehicles in case they are injured or damage their ATV or snowmobile while they are using it on their own private property.

“If they’re not properly insured and they get hurt and can’t go to work, who’s going to pay the bills when they’re off? It’s important for customers to protect themselves no matter where they are operating their recreational vehicle,” said Johnston.


True or false: Homeowner and/or auto policies include some coverage for ATVs/snowmobiles.

False. These types of recreational vehicles are not covered under any other policy your customer may have. Snowmobiles/ATVs require their own policy.

“The best thing brokers can communicate to their customers is that, even though insurance isn’t always mandated, it’s very smart to have. If the customer is injured or incurs damages while using their recreational vehicle, they’ll be out of pocket—and some losses can be more serious than others,” said Johnston.


True or false: ATV/snowmobile drivers must have insurance if they are driving on Crown land or public trails/roadways.

True. In all provinces, ATVs/snowmobiles must be insured with bare minimum insurance ($200,000* liability), which usually includes bodily injury coverage and protection of third-party property or injuries) to operate their recreational vehicle on any public trail or roadway. 

* $1 million in Quebec


True or false: In most provinces, you must be a licenced driver operating an insured snowmobile/ATV to take it on public trails or roadways.

True. All provinces have a minimum age requirement to operate an ATV or snowmobile on public trails and private property. Alberta is the only province that doesn’t require the operator to be a licenced driver. 

Your customers should always consult their provincial and municipal regulations to determine the age limits in their region—and where it is legal to operate an ATV or snowmobile. 


True or false: Helmets are mandatory when operating an ATV on public property in all provinces. 

True. Specialized helmets are available and designed for off-road use and protection. 


True or false: RideLife has optional coverages that customers can purchase in addition to basic liability insurance.

True. Optional coverages include:

  • Collision (covers damage from contact with something on the land, road or trail)
  • Comprehensive (covers damage from fire, theft, vandalism, etc.)
  • Accident Benefits (covers income replacement, medical, rehabilitation and attendant care, caregiver, housekeeping and more)

“It’s important that customers understand the optional coverages that can be purchased besides the minimum to comply with legislation. They should consider factors like the value of the recreational vehicle, how they use it and the amount of time they spend on it to help determine what coverages are right for them,” said Kim. 


True or false: The same rules of the road apply to ATVs/snowmobiles when operated on public trails and roadways.

True. Operators need to be aware that infractions like speeding, distracted driving and drinking and driving are just as illegal on a recreational vehicle (on a trail or roadway) as they are in an automobile.

As the fall season gets under way, it’s a good time to connect with your RideLife and other Lifestyle customers to ensure they’re aware of the coverages available for their off-road vehicles.

If you have any questions, please contact your Broker Operations Specialist or your Broker Relationship Manager.

Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks used under license from the licensor. Insurance products are underwritten by insurers in the Aviva Canada group of insurance companies, which are subsidiaries of Aviva Canada Inc. The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. For specific information about a product, or exact terms, conditions, coverage definitions, exclusions and limitations, please refer to the customer’s insurance policy wording or the latest underwriting manual on Product availability varies by province.