Keeping you and your ORV safe

Text by Cameron Dueck

It is wintertime in Manitoba, which means there is a good chance you are deep into the snowmobile riding season. Each winter there are more than 35,000 off road vehicles (ORV) registered in Manitoba, but two thirds of them will only carry the basic registration.

One has to wonder whether this is enough to get you through the riding season. Since 1996 there has been an average of six deaths and 64 injuries each year as a result of ORV riding. Manitoba Public Insurance has several options available to ensure that you and your ORV are well looked after.

The number one concern that should be on everyone’s mind before getting on a snowmobile or an all terrain vehicle is coverage for injury protection. Everyone operating an automobile in Manitoba automatically receives coverage under the Personal Injury Protection Plan. This program will only cover you on an ORV when you have a collision with an automobile.

In order to protect yourself from costly medical expenses and time off work you need to purchase Accident Benefits Coverage. This coverage will pay for injury costs that result from disability, medical treatments and rehabilitation. Without insurance, how much could you afford to pay on your own?

There is basic $200,000 third party liability coverage for an ORV (the same as your automobile) with one major difference. If you cause damage with your ORV, you can be sued for the injuries to others as well as for property damage. Just as with your car, you can improve your liability coverage to one, two or five million.

While you may be responsible and top up your own liability coverage, there is no guarantee that the next guy will do the same. This is why as of March 1, 2006, MPI combined the Third Party Liability and family protection into one coverage option called TPL Plus. This coverage will help prevent riders who have properly insured themselves from incurring uninsured losses due to uninsured motorists.

Your ORV is not insured for physical damage or disappearance under your basic registration. To be fully covered you can purchase Collision and Comprehensive insurance, both are available with either $500 or $200 deductible options.

Collision insurance will cover physical damage claims to your ORV and is based upon the model year and engine displacement. An inspection of the machine to make sure there is no existing damage is required and can be done by your insurance broker. An inspection is valid for 60 days after it is done.

Comprehensive insurance will provide coverage for any fire, theft, vandalism or breaking through ice claims. This coverage is also needed if the ORV falls off your trailer while being transported.

With the right knowledge and proper coverage, hitting the trails can be the perfect way to spend a weekend. It is, however, important to consider the proper safety measures and insurance coverage before getting on your machine.

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