It’s winter. There is plenty of snow on the ground, and one of northern Minnesota’s great pastimes is in full swing – snowmobile season in the north country. Do snowmobiles need to be insured in Minnesota?
The answer is that you can legally operate a snowmobile in Minnesota without insurance, but that doesn’t mean that you should. Not only is the value of your sled at risk if you get in an accident or your snowmobile is stolen, but, more importantly, your financial assets and future could be at risk as well if there is a serious injury for which you are held responsible.
If you think that a snowmobile accident is too unlikely to ever happen to you or someone you know, think again. Each year, around 14,000 people in North America are injured on snowmobiles, with approximately 200 snowmobile fatalities. This shouldn’t be surprising, since snowmobile these days weigh up to six hundred pounds and can reach speeds of 90 miles per hour (way above Minnesota’s 50mph maximum speed limit).
Just like when you are driving your car, you are financial responsible for any injury or property damage that results from your actions operating a snowmobile. That’s why Liability insurance coverage is important – protection against the potential of a financially catastrophic loss if there’s a serious accident.
Beyond Liability insurance, you should consider purchasing Physical Damage coverage for your sled. New snowmobiles are now costing more than $11,000, and even a used sled may represent a significant financial investment worthy of protection.
Physical Damage coverage will typically cover damage caused by accidents, theft and even fire if your snowmobile is stored in a garage that burns down. (Contrary to common assumptions, snowmobiles are not covered by most Homeowners insurance policies, even while stored in your garage.) If you are buying a new sled, ask us about optional Replacement Cost coverage, which would pay to replace your snowmobile with a brand new one, in the event of a total loss.
Other coverage you should consider for your snowmobile include Medical (to cover your basis medical bills if hurt while riding) and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (to protect yourself against riders and other motorists who don’t do the prudent thing and buy coverage – in case you are injured in an accident).
Snowmobile insurance is typically less expensive than Auto insurance. In fact, a seasoned adult rider with a good driving record may be able to fully insure their sled for $10 or $20 a month, or even less for just basic Liability coverage.
What questions do you have about snowmobile insurance? We’d love to hear from you.
Ken Cobb is owner of Pine Country Insurance and has been active in the insurance industry for over 15 years. Meet Ken.
Coverage descriptions found in this blog are summaries provided for general educational purposes and cannot fully detail the terms, conditions, limitations or exclusions of a specific insurance policy. Please read your policy carefully.