Published: March 2014
While renting a snowmobile on vacation can make for a day of wintry fun, enjoying the trails and powder on a rented sled should start with making sure you have the proper coverage to help protect you in the event of an unexpected accident.
Your homeowners or auto insurance policies probably won't help if you're involved in an accident on your snowmobile rental. If you own a snowmobile and it's covered under a snowmobile insurance policy, some coverage under that policy may extend to a snowmobile rental you use while away on vacation. For example, the liability coverage under your personal snowmobile policy may also help cover you in the event you cause an accident while on the rental. There are two types of liability coverage:
Bodily injury liability coverage, which helps protects you if you cause an accident and someone's hurt, typically helping to pay for the other person's medical expenses.
Property damage liability coverage which helps repair or replace damaged property, when you cause the accident, and the damages is to someone else's property, home, or vehicle.
Collision and comprehensive coverage will not usually cover damages to a rented snowmobile. Collision coverage typically helps pay for the damage to your snowmobile if you hit an object, such as a tree, or another vehicle; it does not pay for the damage caused to someone else's property. Comprehensive coverage helps pay to repair or replace your snowmobile if it's damaged by flooding, theft, vandalism or most other reasons not involving a crash with another vehicle or object.
If the rented snowmobile is wrecked, the collision or comprehensive coverage you have as part of the snowmobile insurance for your own machine probably won't cover the damage to the rental
If the snowmobile rental company offers insurance, check if it offers additional coverage options beyond just basic collision coverage. As explained above, bodily injury liability, property damage liability and comprehensive coverage will help protect you against most unexpected situations you encounter on a rented snowmobile. In addition, if available, you may want to consider medical payments coverage—sometimes called medical expense coverage—which can help pay for your medical expenses for injuries incurred while operating an insured vehicle.
Before hitting the trail with a rented snowmobile, check your auto, home and snowmobile policies to find out what if any coverage may extend to the rental. If you aren't sure, check with your agent before you go. This way, you will be prepared to ask about other insurance options offered by the rental company as soon as you arrive.