You don’t have to be a fan of the Winter X Games to know that snowmobiling is cool again. Wherever snow is not just a four-letter word but a fact of life, you’ll find a growing number of hardcore sledders riding the trails and backcountry. According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), more than 2.1 million sleds are registered in North America.
It’s easy to see why snowmobiling is so popular. It’s an invigorating sport that’s great exercise and brings people outdoors to interact with nature and each other. A perfect escape from your computer screen or smart phone.
Of course, there’s also the adrenaline. You can get a contact high just watching those X Games maniacs with all their jaw-dropping backward flip Supermans (as you might guess, a “Superman” is a trick where the snowmobile is launched and the rider’s body is in a horizontal position above the snowmobile hanging onto the handles. Don’t try this at home).
Sledders sure love the freedom of riding for miles through virgin powder. In fact, ISMA estimates that the average snowmobiler in North America rides 1,414 miles per year. But for whatever reason (mesmerized by all that pure white snow? Headgear too tight?), they can sometimes lose their bearings when it comes to making sure they’re protected. Not from physical harm or the elements, but from the unexpected that can instantly turn an exhilarating cruise into a “what was that?” crash.
You wouldn’t think of riding without a helmet. But sledders everywhere forget that they also need to protect their snowmobiles—and personal funds—from accidents. Some of the reasons given for not getting snowmobile insurance are as outrageous as a big-air heel-click:
“No one else is buying snowmobile insurance.” Remember what your mother said when you asked for her OK to do something and bolstered your argument by saying that all the other kids are doing it? Then she said, “If Tommy jumped off the bridge, would you follow him?” Maybe that’s not the right question to ask a snowmobiler, but you get the point.
“It’s too expensive.” For only $10 per month on average, snowmobile insurance can protect you, your passenger, your snowmobile and even someone else’s property.
“I’m a great driver.” No one doubts your skills. But an unseen tree stump or partially hidden fence can cause even a professional to lose control. You wouldn’t drive your car without insurance—why take that chance on your sled, especially when you consider that some high-powered snowmobiles can weigh more than 600 pounds and achieve speeds in excess of 150 mph!
“Snowmobile accidents aren’t that big of a deal.” According to a study in Clinical Orthopedics, snowmobile accidents in North America cause approximately 200 deaths and 14,000 injuries each year.
“My sled isn’t worth that much.” ISMA reports that the average suggested retail price of a new snowmobile is about $8,500, which isn’t exactly chump change. You also need to consider what it could cost you if you damaged someone else’s sled or property, or caused bodily harm.
If you’re a hardcore snowmobiler, you can’t wait to squeeze the throttle and churn up clouds of virgin powder. But before the first snowflake hits the ground, be sure to check with your insurance agent about protecting you, your sled and your money. Happy trails!
For more information on snowmobile coverage and tiding safety tips, visit Allstate.com.