We know how popular our BC outdoors are for enthusiasts of off-road vehicles (ORV). Just be sure you know before you go!
We can’t overstate the importance of purchasing of road vehicle insurance. When you’re out enjoying your off-road vehicles – includes your all-terrain vehicle, dirt bike, and snowmobile or motor sled – it’s vital that you have appropriate insurance coverage. There are too many ways things can go sideways off road to not properly protect yourself and your off-road vehicle.
And, insurance can be confusing enough for your primary properties let alone the vehicles you use only occasionally off-road. To help get a better understanding, below are the essentials so that you can make informed decisions – and not jeopardize your fun off-road!
ICBC Basic Insurance for off-road vehicles – plate and licence
Even if you’re simply loading or unloading your ORV in a parking lot, but certainly if you operate a registered ORV on or across a highway, you must:
- license and insure the vehicle, and
- attach a validation decal to the ORV number plate or number sticker plate
ICBC Basic insurance doesn’t apply:
- to operation on the highway beyond what is permitted by regulation (see operation restrictions below), or
- while operating on
- Crown land
- forest service roads
- private property
- other resource roads on Crown land, or highway that is not permitted, as outlined:
A vehicle that displays an ORV plate with a validation decal may be operated on a highway without an Operation Permit to:
- cross the highway at an intersection controlled by a stop sign or traffic light, and be loaded/unloaded to or from another vehicle in a parking lot
Off-Road Program – Legal Age to operate an ATV, Dirt Bike or Snowmobile ON PUBLIC ROADS:
Prohibited use by Insured
c) while he or she is under the age of 16 years or under such other age as is prescribed by the law of the province in which he or she resides at the time this contract is made as being the minimum age at which a licence or permit to drive an automobile may be issued to him or her.*
Prohibited use by others
(i) unless that person is for the time being either authorized by law or qualified to drive or operate the automobile, or
(ii) while that person is under the age of 16 years or under such other age as is prescribed by the law of the province in which he or she resides at the time this contract is made as being the minimum age at which a licence or permit to drive an automobile may be issued to him or her.*
*Page 6 of wording MGH571 Ed. 2811
For those who DO NOT have a valid Drivers License (any age) and who wish to operate your off-road vehicle OFF A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
7) It is understood and agreed that while the vehicle is being operated off a public highway the Insurer waives compliance with that portion of the Statutory Condition dealing with prohibited uses which prohibits the Insured from driving or operating the vehicle or permitting the use of the vehicle when the operator is not authorized by law or qualified to drive the vehicle or while he is under the age prescribed by law for the operation of a vehicle on a highway
Did you know? If you operate your ATV or other ORV on a Forest Service Road or Crown land in British Columbia, it is required by law that you carry liability insurance. It’s also required that you carry liability insurance with your snowmobile if you cross a ploughed Forestry Road.
Think you won’t be travelling BC Forestry Roads or Crown land? Think again! If you’re operating your ORV on road in the backcountry of BC, chances are almost guaranteed that your travels will include BC Forestry Roads as well as Crown land. Regulations set by the Ministry of Forests require you to carry registration and evidence that you have purchased liability insurance for your ORV.
Be warned, that if a Conservation Officer or the RCMP stops you, you’ll be asked to produce proof of liability insurance for your off-road vehicle – the fine can be $200.00 or more if you’re unable to do so.
Liability insurance for your off-road vehicle provides vital coverage for you in the event of the unexpected – if you damage another person’s property or injure someone. Talk to your representative for liability coverage designed to meet the legal requirements for operating your ORV on B.C. Forest Service Roads.
It is critical that you know that you’re off-road vehicles are NOT covered by your home policy. It’s not merely part of the contents of your garage, which are covered by your homeowner’s insurance. The policy for your home doesn’t cover vehicles, outside of only limited exceptions which DO NOT include ATV’s, side-by-sides, snowmobiles, and the like.
Belong to an ATV club or organization such as ATV/BC? Have you successfully completed a relevant safety course? Be sure to ask for potential discounts associated with club membership or safety certifications.
As a driver of a car or truck in British Columbia, your insurance coverage provides accident benefits coverage – if you happen to get into an accident, no matter whose fault, insurance covers injury and any associated costs. You can purchase similar coverage for an ORV – if you’re injured while riding, there is some accident protection.
ORV operators may also want to consider collision and comprehensive insurance to protect against theft. It’s an unfortunate fact that ORVs are vulnerable to both being stolen as well as accidents.
As you think about your insurance, and before you talk to an insurance agent, there a couple of factors to be clear about:
- You must disclose how the vehicle will be used — exclusively recreation, farm or business use, for example.
- Be sure to consider the value of your ORV. New models can qualify for cost coverage for its replacement.
No doubt, you’ll have questions! Don’t be afraid to bring questions to your insurance representative. Insurance helps to provide preparedness and protection as well as peace of mind. And this includes the coverage of your off road vehicles.