Insurance Goes Off Road – Dirt Bikes, ATV's and More

Is Insurance Required?

It can vary by state, but most vehicles designed for strictly off road use are not required by law to have insurance since they will not be sharing the highways. However, that doesn't mean that the vehicle cannot be stolen or damaged in a crash, not to mention possible injuries that you may sustain.

Here are a few things to consider when looking at insurance for your favorite off-road vehicle.


Dirt bikes are awesome for conquering the rugged terrain with big air and incredible speed. Because they're not usually street legal, regular motorcycle insurance will not cover your dirt bike. However, due to the rough riding, your bike is probably going to endure, it's still a good idea to get some insurance. Thefts, damage to the bike, personal injury, as well as basic liability are all coverages you should look for in your policy.

And if you're riding your dirt bike competitively, you should look into specific motocross insurance.

ATV (3,4, or 6 Wheeler)

All-Terrain Vehicles are the perfect tool to help you get to those hard-to-reach spots. They help farmers reach the far corners of their land. Hunters and fishermen use them to get to their favorite spots. Others hop on their ATV's to just ride for fun. Just like dirt bikes, these vehicles tend to go over some rough terrain and are not immune to accidents. Theft, damage to the vehicle, personal injury and liability are the major coverages here, just like with dirt bikes.

Dune Buggy / Sandrail

Dune buggies are vehicles that are usually modified to handle sand and rough terrain. Sandrails are vehicles that are specially designed for operating on sand dunes or beaches. Some models can actually be made to be street legal to make it easier to get to that sandy spot. If you plan on driving yours on a public road or beach you will need to have at least minimum liability coverage. Even if you are not driving on public lands, liability coverage is a good idea in case someone gets hurt. Otherwise, damage, theft and personal injury policies are up to you.


Snowmobiles may not look too dangerous, but they can weigh up to 600 pounds and reach speeds of 90 miles per hour. Each year, there are approximately 14,000 accidents and over 200 deaths in the United States, 12 of those in Wisconsin alone. With many trails winding through heavily wooded areas, it can be difficult to maneuver through tight corners and avoid other sleds. Liability insurance, though not required in most states, is a good idea. Most snowmobiles are not overly expensive, so coverage for the vehicle itself is not necessarily a must-have, but before you ride, you'll want to make sure you are covered against an accident that injures someone else.



These cool, two-wheeled vehicles are the perfect way to zip around town. They shouldn't need insurance, though, should they? Let's think about this. They're not cheap (new ones go for over $5,000). They are small, which makes them fairly easy to steal. They are usually operated in urban areas where there are cars, pedestrians as well as stationary obstacles like fire hydrants and street signs which mean crashing may not be too difficult. In fact, in 2010 James Heselden, the owner of the company that makes Segways, died in a Segway accident.

These factors make it pretty clear that if you're willing to pay up to own a Segway, it would be wise to protect your investment, and yourself, with comprehensive insurance.

Not Just Toys

Ultimately, the choice on whether or not you want to insure your off-road vehicle is up to you (as long as you're keeping it off roads). Consider how you plan on using it and how often. Then, think about what could go wrong. These vehicles are made for fun, and everything is a little more fun when you're comfortable with your coverage.

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