Am I Covered If I Don’t Wear a Helmet on My ATV?
Do you ride an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV)? Then hopping on your ATV and taking it for a spin probably seems the same as taking a car for a spin except with a lot more “woooo hoooo!” and “yeeeah!” to go with it. After all it’s got four wheels like a car so its stability can be compared to that of a car. And the chances of crashing when riding an ATV is lower compared to dirt bikes and other two wheelers. So what’s all the fuss about wearing a helmet on an ATV? And why should it matter to your insurance policy whether or not you wear a helmet? Great questions! Here are a couple things about riding an ATV in Alberta that will help you understand how a helmet may impact your insurance cover.
You Must Wear a Helmet to Ride an ATV in Alberta
As with other motor vehicles each province is responsible for setting out its own safety guidelines regarding ATVs. In May 2017 the Government of Alberta introduced new laws requiring all riders of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to wear a helmet when riding on public land (Crown land and areas designated for public OHV use) public roadways and highway rights-of-way. OHVs include ATVs which means by law you are required to wear a helmet when riding your ATV unless you’re on private property. According to the government this law became necessary because of the significant number of head injuries associated with OHVs over the years.
Since a helmet is a legal requirement then it must be worn. If the operator or passengers on an ATV are not wearing appropriate helmets when an accident occurs then the insurance coverage could be voided by that act of illegality. If in doubt or if you have any questions speak to your broker who would be happy to provide all the information about how failure to wear a helmet will impact your cover.
In any event it is always a good idea for both driver and passenger to wear suitable head and eye protection due to the increased risk of injury. A properly fitting helmet can be the difference between life and death in the event of a crash so ensure you get a helmet in the right size shape and materials that comply with the regulation and standards regarding such helmets.
You Must Have Insurance Coverage to Ride an ATV on Public Roads
Insurance is mandatory when riding an ATV on public roads. There are a variety of coverages to choose from and your insurance broker can work with you to create a policy that provides the right protection for you and your needs. Types of insurance coverage that you can obtain include:
- Liability – This includes:
o Property damage – This cover helps with costs that relate to damaged property of others in an accident you cause.
o Bodily injury – This cover helps to foot the bills for injuries suffered by others in an accident for which you are responsible.
- Collision – helps repair maintain or replace your ATV if it happens to get damaged in a crash.
- Comprehensive – in the case of a non-collision accident such as vandalism or fire and the ATV is damaged this coverage will help with replacement or repair costs of the ATV.
- Medical payments – If you suffer injuries in an accident involving your ATV then this cover agewill come in handy with the medical costs.
Most policies restrict coverage if the ATV is operated by a minor or the operator is under influence of alcohol or drugs. Also restrictions apply when the ATV is used for extreme activities if it carries more than three passengers excluding the operator or if is used for purposes other than what it is intended for.
If you’re unsure whether your policy adequately covers you speak to your broker . Your broker can help tailor available policies with add-ons in such a way that they are more suited to meet your particular needs. Such add-ons may include an All Perils Coverage which provides a combined collision and comprehensive coverage that covers everything except for specifically excluded incidents. Family Protection Coverage is another add-on that provides an extra measure of protection. It covers everyone on your policy in case an uninsured – or underinsured – operator causes injury or death.
In any case enjoy your time spent on your ATV but make sure you’re enjoying it safely!