With the summer season in full swing, and what looks to be a beautiful fall ahead, thousands of Alberta residents have taken to the province’s beautiful trail and off-road networks to enjoy their dirt bikes and ATVs. If you’re a dirt bike or ATV enthusiast and you haven’t already considered insurance, it’s very important that you take the time to cover your property before heading out on the trails.
Remember: dirt bikes and ATVs are subject to mandatory insurance, just like regular cars, if you’re planning to use them on publicly owned land.
Important Definitions and Coverage Requirements for Dirt Bikes and ATVs
For insurance purposes, a dirt bike is defined as a two-wheel motorized vehicle that is specifically designed for off-road operation. An ATV, or all-terrain vehicle, is a self-propelled vehicle designed for off-road use, with a minimum of four wheels.
ATV owners are required to carry accident coverage as well as third-party liability protection in order to legally operate their vehicles on public land. Dirt bike insurance, on the other hand, is available in three main forms:
- All perils coverage, which offers the most complete type of protection available
- Comprehensive dirt bike insurance, which is an affordable and flexible alternative that covers most perils except for fire, theft, vandalism, and collisions
- Basic perils dirt bike insurance, a budget-friendly option that meets minimum guidelines and coverage requirements
As a general rule of thumb, the more valuable your dirt bike is, the more inclusive your insurance should be. Basic perils dirt bike insurance is fine for older dirt bikes with lower resale values, but you should seriously consider all perils coverage if you own a newer or more valuable model.
Rules for Off-Road Vehicles
Alberta law dictates numerous additional requirements that dirt bike and ATV riders must meet. First, keep in mind that you only need a valid license if you’re planning to operate the vehicle on a highway or municipally owned and maintained road. However, allowing an improperly trained or inexperienced person to use your dirt bike or ATV can result in claims denials. Do not operate a dirt bike or ATV on your own unless you are confident in your skills, and do not let an inexperienced rider use your vehicle under any circumstances.
Also, your off-road vehicle must be registered with Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation if you plan to use it on public land. Registration requirements include a nominal one-time fee, which covers your vehicle for your entire duration of ownership.
All off-road vehicles must also be equipped with:
- At least one headlight
- At least one taillight
- A muffler
Finally, remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that you are permitted to operate your off-road vehicle in the area in which you’re riding. Not all public lands permit dirt bikes and ATVs, and you may be subject to fines if you are found operating an off-road vehicle in a prohibited area.
Dirt Bike and ATV Insurance: Other Important Considerations
Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation offers a free booklet that outlines the complete operational guidelines and requirements that apply to off-road vehicles. Major points covered by the booklet include the following additional rules and regulations:
- You must be at least 14 years of age to operate a dirt bike or ATV on public land
- Operators under the age of 14 must be directly supervised by someone who is at least 18 years of age
- You must have a valid operator’s license to use the vehicle on a public roadway
- However, you do not need to have a valid operators’ license to cross a public roadway or highway, so long as you are otherwise legally using the vehicle
- When crossing a highway, the operator must yield right of way to all oncoming traffic in both directions
- All passengers must get off the off-road vehicle before it crosses the highway
- All items attached to the off-road vehicle must be disengaged before crossing the highway
- Drivers are required to take the most direct available route across the public road or highway
Failure to follow any of these regulations can result in a fine.
More Resources from Lane’s Insurance
If you have any questions about Alberta’s dirt bike insurance requirements, or if you’re not sure which type of coverage is right for you, count on the courteous professionals at Lane’s Insurance for guidance. Lane’s Insurance is a full-service Alberta-based brokerage offering extensive resources, value-added customer service and outstanding claims support. Visit Lane’s Insurance online today to get a fast, free dirt bike insurance quote.