Snowmobile Insurance – Is Your Sled Covered...In Transit? Probably Not
Mountain Sledder | On 26, Dec 2017
Imagine this common scenario. You load your sled on a friend’s sled deck or in their trailer, and hit the road for some time on snow. Happens all the time, right? Everything is going great until it starts to snow and the road becomes slick. The next thing you know, the truck is sideways and you’re headed for the ditch. Well, this is maybe not the best time to realize this, but any damage to your sled as a result of a vehicle accident will NOT be covered by your friend’s vehicle insurance! For that, you need snowmobile insurance with ‘Transit’ coverage.
It’s true, unfortunately. Many sledders likely mistakenly assume that there will be some sort of coverage for their snowmobile in the event of a vehicle accident either through the liability, comprehensive or collision insurance of the owner of the vehicle. But not even a standard collision policy will cover what’s being conveyed on the vehicle in transit. The same goes for trailering. Even if your friend has collision and comprehensive coverage for their trailer, that still does not cover any of the contents.
By not having Transit coverage for their own snowmobile, sledders—whether they know it or not—are relying on the option to sue their friend through their vehicle liability insurance to cover the damage to their sled from a vehicle accident. And that’s not something anyone wants to put their friend or themself through. On top of that, you’d have to prove negligence on the part of your friend, the driver. And that would land your pal in trouble, let alone what it would do to their insurance rates if you won. It’s an ugly situation, anyway you slice it.
So now we know that it’s not safe to assume your beloved snowmobile is somehow covered for damage while being transported from Point A to Point B by yourself or a friend. Unless you have dedicated snowmobile coverage, it isn’t. So we reached out to Zach Schwing from Capri Insurance to find out how to ensure that your sled is covered for winter driving conditions in the mountains.
Is Your Sled Covered…In Transit? Snowmobile Insurance
So how do you ensure your sled is covered? Well, Capri and other insurance companies do offer coverage for transportation in their snowmobile insurance policies, called Transit. But check to make sure it’s included in your policy first. Zach informed us that all three levels of snowmobile coverage available from Capri include Transit.
So with Transit coverage, if you’re involved in a vehicle accident and your machine is destroyed in that accident, it’s a covered claim. It doesn’t matter if it’s you driving or someone else—or whose fault the accident is. You would be covered up to your policy limit, no different than if your sled was stolen or destroyed by fire.
There is one key point to keep in mind though. Transit coverage doesn’t cover improper hookup. So if you’re just driving down the road and your sled falls off because you didn’t tie it down properly, that isn’t covered. It has to be the result of an actual accident.
Real-Life In Transit Accident Case Scenario
Here’s a real-life scenario in which a sled was damaged in a vehicle accident in transit. This is the sled before the accident. Looks pretty cherry, huh? Unfortunately, accidents do happen.
The insured party was hauling his snowmobile with his vehicle when he was involved in an accident. Although the damage doesn’t not appear to be all that extensive, the tunnel was twisted. There was also damage to the front suspension.
Unfortunately, anytime a tunnel is damaged, it’s a big job to replace. The cost of repairing the damage was such that the machine was considered a total loss. The insured party paid his policy limit deductible of $500 and was paid out $16,700.
Now without Transit coverage, the party would have only had one option—take it on the chin. Had he been riding with a friend instead of driving himself, the only other option would be to sue the driver—which isn’t much of an option at all. That would also require the victim to prove that the driver was negligent in causing the damage.
Know What to Expect
So now you know if—and how—you can expect your sled to be covered in an accident in transit! Obviously, the most ideal scenario is to drive carefully and hope for the best. But winter conditions can easily throw drivers a curveball. Even the most diligent person can hit an unseen slippery patch and find themselves headed for the rhubarb. If that happens to you, it’s best to be protected and confident that your losses will be minimized.
Zach Schwing is a Commercial Account Executive at Capri Insurance in Kelowna, BC. Stay tuned throughout the winter as we ask Zach to explain legality and how snowmobile insurance coverage works in common situations experienced by snowmobilers. If there’s a question you’d like clarified, let us know in a comment!