Snowmobiles are versatile machines that Albertans and Canadians use for a number of different reasons. In 2018 there were 78,000 snowmobiles registered in the province, with only Quebec and Ontario, which have much higher populations, registering more.
More than 600,000 snowmobiles in Canada are used for transportation, recreation, hunting and trapping. They allow people to reach areas that are generally inaccessible for adventure and exploring, and are considered an essential tool in many northern communities. Like any drivable motorized machine, snowmobiles come with a certain number of responsibilities for owners, including proper licensing, registration, and snowmobile insurance.
A licence and registration required in Alberta
In Alberta, snowmobile drivers must have a valid Class 5 licence to ride. That means drivers must be at least 14 years old and properly supervised as according to which stage of their licence they are at.
Snowmobiles also must be registered. ATV, snowmobile or other off-highway vehicle registration can be obtained at Alberta registry agents or online.
Snowmobile insurance can vary slightly from provider to provider, but the basics are generally the same across the board.
Snowmobile insurance provides these main areas of coverage:
- Third-party liability — If another party is injured or the use of your snowmobile damages their property, third-party liability coverage will help cover medical, legal, repair, and other costs. Third-party liability coverage is mandatory when riding on public lands in Alberta.
- Accident benefits — A snowmobile accident can cause serious injuries that may hamper your ability to work and make a living. Accident benefits can help cover for medical costs and lost income.
- Direct compensation — Direct compensation provides funds for repairs for an accident when you are not at fault.
- Uninsured snowmobile —Coverage for if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver is mandatory in Alberta.
- Property damage — Property damage coverage provides for the repairs or the replacement of your snowmobile if it is damaged or stolen.
Additional snowmobile insurance coverages can include:
- Specified perils coverage for losses caused by fire, floods, hail or theft.
- Comprehensive coverage protects your snowmobile from all damage, excluding collision or upset.
- Collision or upset coverage protects your snowmobile from damage caused by an accident with a vehicle or object.
Who does not qualify for snowmobile insurance?
Be aware that certain situations may preclude you from being able to obtain snowmobile insurance coverage.
- If your snowmobile has been significantly modified or altered (perhaps to enhance its performance), insurers have the right to refuse coverage for some modifications.
- Drivers with poor driving records may find their eligibility to be restricted.
- Snowmobiles used for racing, jumping, or competition may not be eligible for regular snowmobile insurance and could require specialty coverage.
- Snowmobiles manufactured or purchased outside of North America without an established distribution channel may not be eligible for coverage.
Where to snowmobile
When exploring public lands, a licence, registration and snowmobile insurance are required. To find out where you can take your snowmobile for a ride, the Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA) provides a handy trail guide. Be sure to do your research, as several trails require an ASA membership to ride. The ASA works with snowmobile clubs across Alberta to ensure maintenance and improvements are carried out, and membership includes the chance to gather stamps from different clubs and win prizes at the end of the season.
A snowmobile safety course is highly recommended for both new and experienced riders. New riders are introduced to the tenants of responsible snowmobiling, and courses are a great refresher for more knowledgeable riders as rules and regulations can change often. The best part is that they are free.
Remember, helmets are mandatory for snowmobile drivers in Alberta and greatly reduce the occurrence rate of serious injuries. In addition to potentially saving your life, a helmet also ensures your snowmobile insurance remains valid. Without a helmet, you may not be covered for injuries or damage.
Additional snowmobile safety tips:
- Take an avalanche safety course to watch for signs of a deadly avalanche.
- Do not ride at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
- Always stay on marked trails.
- Ride a correctly sized snowmobile in good condition and do not overload it.
- Stay within recommended speed limits.
- Always check the weather and trail conditions before you go.
- Ensure you are prepared for all weather incidences and dress appropriately.
- Bring emergency survival and first-aid kits.
- Never ride over ice that is less than 25 centimetres thick.
- Do not ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Do not ride alone and always make sure someone else knows where you are and when you are to return.
Discover the Lane’s advantage for insurance in Alberta
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based independent insurance brokerage. The key advantage of choosing Lane’s is that our professionals work for you, not for an insurance company. Our only goal is to match you with the coverage you need at exceptional value. We have privileged relationships with multiple carriers, so we can always provide multiple alternatives if you’re looking for quotes or insurance products. For personalized assistance, our friendly customer care experts are here to help. Please contact us if you have any questions.