The Basics of OHV Insurance

By Samantha Lemna  | 
9/3/19, 10:48 AM

A man driving an OHV ATV quad through a grassy clearing in the forest.

If you’re one of over 500,000 Albertans who love to enjoy motorized recreational activities, you’re probably familiar with the biggest risks: injury when you’re out riding and theft of your OHV. While preventing these events is preferable, it’s not always possible - accidents happen and criminals can be very determined. If prevention fails and the worst happens, OHV insurance can help you cover the costs. 

What is OHV Insurance?

OHV insurance, commonly known as ATV insurance, helps protect you and your OHV. This includes:


  • ATVs (lite, recreational, sport, and utility)
  • Off-road motorcycles (dirt bikes)
  • UTVs (side-by-sides)
  • Snowmobiles (deep snow, performance, hybrid/crossover, trail, sport, touring, and utility)


You can purchase OHV insurance as a standalone or as an add-on to your other insurance coverage. 


OHV Insurance Coverage

There are three main areas of protection provided by OHV insurance:


  • Physical Damage - Helps cover the repair or replacement of your OHV and its accessories if they’re damaged or stolen. 
  • Accident Benefits - Helps cover healthcare costs and loss of income if you’re hurt in a riding accident. 
  • Third-Party Liability - Helps protect you if someone is injured while using your OHV or if you injure someone or damage property while you’re riding. This can cover medical and legal expenses. 


Due to the danger of operating OHVs, the accident benefit and third-party liability coverage are essential. Otherwise, you could be paying large sums out of pocket if there’s an accident. 


Keep in mind that every policy is different. Your exact coverage will depend on your insurance company, the OHV you want to insure, and your coverage options. 


How much does OHV insurance cost?

The price of OHV insurance depends on a number of factors:


  • Your insurance and claims history
  • Your credit rating
  • The age, make, model and value of the OHV
  • How you use your OHV
  • Where you operate your OHV
  • Where you live (and store your OHV)
  • Your insurance options


Discounts are usually offered if you insure your OHV with the same insurance company as your home or car insurance. Some companies also offer discounts for security and safety features.

Group of OHVers in winter.

Do I really need OHV insurance?

If you can’t afford to replace your OHV, cover medical costs and the loss of income if you’re hurt, or pay for legal expenses defending yourself in a lawsuit relating to damage or injury caused by your OHV, then you should have OHV insurance. 


Furthermore, the Government of Alberta requires OHVs to be insured if you’re riding them on public land. This includes crown land, roadways, ditches, and public OHV areas.

Risks of OHVs

While riding OHVs is lots of fun and gives you access to the province’s incredible nature, it isn’t without its risks. On average, 14 Albertans lose their lives to OHVs each year, with another 500 suffering serious injuries and another 5000 will need medical attention for injuries related to OHVs.  According to AOHVA, rollovers are the most common cause of serious injury and can happen even on flat ground. 


Aside from being a common cause of injury, OHVs are often targets of thieves. They can also suffer damage while they’re parked from wind, fire, and other perils.

Do I need to wear a helmet?

If you operate your OHV on public land, you are required to wear a helmet by law in Alberta. Because it’s legally required, your insurance company may not offer coverage if you’re riding without one. (Check out our article on wearing a helmet on an ATV for more info.)


In any case, it’s always a good idea to wear a helmet when riding your OHV. Head injuries are the leading cause of serious injury and death for OHV-related accidents and facial injuries are frequent.


What are the requirements for riding an OHV in Alberta?

If you’re riding on public land, you’re OHV must:

  • Be registered
  • Be insured
  • Have a license plate
  • Have headlights and tail lights
  • Have an approved muffler

You must also be wearing a helmet. For more information, visit the Alberta Government’s page on motorized recreation.

Safety Tips for OHVs

  • Wear proper safety gear!
    • Helmet 
    • Goggles (if your helmet is open)
    • Over-the-ankle boots with a heel
    • Long-sleeved shirt and pants
    • Sturdy gloves
  • Inspect your OHV before you head out.
  • Keep it one person per OHV (unless they’re specifically designed for more than one person)
  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Never drink alcohol and operate an OHV.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to get back.


(We also have some advice on securing your OHV from thieves, too.)


Talk to an OHV Insurance Broker

If you have any questions about OHV insurance or want to get an OHV insurance quote, a broker is your best bet to get competitive rates.

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