Off-road vehicles are year-round utility and seasonal recreational vehicles. Many Canadian’s take advantage of the many trails and permitted roadways Ontario has to offer for off-roading enjoyment. Ontario laws require Off-road vehicles to be registered and must have a visible licence plate on the rear of the vehicle. Off-road vehicles also must be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy. Off-road vehicle insurance varies from province to province as each province has its own requirements. For example, Quebec’s off-road vehicle insurance is almost 2 and a half times what New Brunswick and British Columbia’s off-road vehicle bodily injury and property damage liability insurance are.
What Are Off-Road Vehicles?
Off-road vehicles are typically any type of vehicle that is capable of being driven on and off gravel and paved surfaces. Usually, an off-road vehicle has larger tires with deeper open threads and a much more flexible suspension system. Many off-road vehicles are built to withstand uneven ground with rough and low traction surfaces. Off-road vehicles are described as any 2 or 3 wheeled vehicles, as well as some four or more wheeled vehicles that are intended for recreational use.
Are Off-Road Vehicles Permitted to Cross a Highway?
There are specific by-laws in different areas of Ontario pertaining to Off-Road vehicles on roadways. Where permitted, a person on an Off-Road vehicle may cross a highway if:
- The off-road vehicle is registered and licenced
- The off-road vehicle is covered under a motor vehicle liability insurance policy
- The driver of the off-road vehicle is at least the age of 16 and has a valid Ontario driver’s licence of any class
- The driver of the off-road vehicle and all passengers are wearing approved motorcycle helmets that must be securely fastened under the chin
Who is Permitted to Drive an ATV/Off-Road Vehicle?
For on-road riding of an ATV or off-road vehicle where permitted the driver must:
- Be a Minimum age of 16
- Have a valid G, G2 or M, M2 drivers licence
- Wear a seatbelt where one is provided
- Wear a securely strapped under the chin approved motorcycle helmet
- Travel at speeds no more than 20km/hr on streets where the posted speed maximum is 50km/hr and at speeds no more than 50km/hr where the posted maximum speed is higher than 50/hr
For off-road riding of an ATV or off-road vehicle where permitted the driver must:
- Be a Minimum age of 12
- Have a valid motorized snow vehicle operator’s licence (MSVOL)
- Wear a seatbelt where one is provided
- Wear a securely strapped approved helmet
- Follow all trails rules and regulations
List of Off-Road Vehicles
There are several types of off-road vehicles such as:
- ATV’s (different types)
- Dirt Bikes
Things to Know Before Insuring
There are many types of off-road vehicles. Some insurance providers have restrictions such as a maximum 900 cc limit. This is due to the fact that some larger off-road vehicles are considered racing vehicles. Many regular insurance companies will not insure racing off-road vehicles.
Does Car Insurance Cover Off-Roading?
In some cases, you can add an ATV to your auto insurance policy but generally, you need off-road vehicle insurance.
Who Insures Off-Road Vehicles?
Motor vehicle insurance companies insure off-road vehicles.
Where Can You Ride Snowmobiles?
You are permitted to ride snowmobiles on your own property, snowmobile club trails, public parks, and conservation areas (where permitted) and on private property with the owner’s consent. Where permitted, you can ride a snowmobile directly across certain highways. When crossing a highway you must:
- Slow down
- Proceed at a 90-degree angle
Some community by-laws also permit snowmobile riding along public roads between the shoulder and the fence line, keeping as far away from the road as possible. Always check your community by-laws to educate yourself on where you can and cannot drive your snowmobile.
Public Snowmobile Trails
Many of Ontario’s public trails are constructed and maintained by snowmobile clubs. These public snowmobile trails are patrolled and enforced by conservation officers, Ontario Provincial Police, Snowmobile Trail Officer Patrol, and municipal police. Some public trails require snowmobile riders to purchase and display a trail permit in order to ride on their trails.
Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club Trails
Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club trails requires all riders to have in their possession and display a trail permit. There are some exemptions that apply which can be found under the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act.
Dirt bikes can be an expensive investment. Ontario laws require all dirt bikes to be registered, plated, and insured However, the loss of the dirt bike is not the only expensive part of an accident. Liability claims can be huge. This is why it is very important to purchase a dirt bike insurance policy that covers all the bases. Remember to include riding gear and your towing trailer (where applicable) in your insurance coverage. It is also a wise idea to include theft and other perils to be well protected. Accident and rescue benefits must also be included in your policy coverage. The cost of dirt bike insurance is based on the following factors:
- Year of the bike
- Make of the bike
- Model of the bike
- Engine (CC)
- Driver’s license history
- Number of previous claims
- Experience riding a dirt bike
- Purpose of riding the dirt bike
What is an XTV?
XTV is an acronym for Extreme Terrain Vehicles. These vehicles are the cream of the crop when it comes to off-roading. Typically an XTV will have between 6 and 8 wheels and can maneuver over terrain that ATV’s cannot. A popular brand of XTV is ARGO. These XTV vehicles are built to traverse grades and slopes that ATV’s would not be able to access. They are manufactured with a multi-differential setup. This type of construction provides even torque to all of the vehicle’s tires. Due to the cost of XTV’s purchasing insurance for these vehicles can be quite expensive. XTV’s can be used for commercial, personal and sporting purposes. Regardless of the purpose of use, these vehicles must be insured.