Frequently asked questions
Need more answers? Give us a call at 800-236-2453.
Why do I need ATV insurance?
An ATV insurance policy will cover you if you ride on or off of your property and if you trailer your off-road vehicle to another location. It’s also important to keep in mind that a lot of state-owned and public parks require ATV insurance in order to ride on their trails. Your ATV may not have coverage in these three areas if it is included under your homeowners or auto insurance policy.
How much is ATV insurance?
That’s a difficult question to answer. The rate you pay for ATV insurance is based on many factors, which makes it difficult to give a ballpark figure for the cost of coverage. The best way to know how much ATV insurance will cost is to get a quote.
Does Markel Specialty insure ATVs and UTVs in my state?
ATV/UTV insurance is available in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Massachusetts is the only state where we currently do not insure ATVs/UTVs.
- How do I get an ATV/UTV insurance quote?
Can I get an ATV insurance quote before I purchase my off-road vehicle?
Absolutely! It’s always smart to do your homework before making a big purchase like an off-road vehicle.
What does my credit history have to do with my insurance premium?
Insurance scoring as a component of rating has become common in the insurance industry. It's based on various parts of your credit report. Financial responsibility has proven to be an effective predictor of an individual’s responsibility in operating a motor vehicle and the likelihood of being involved in a costly accident. Your insurance score usually makes use of the following five categories (Click here to learn what is included within each category):
- Payment history
- Amounts owed
- Length of credit history
- New credit recently opened
- Types of credit used
While the rules vary from state to state, the following items are among those not used to calculate an insurance score: race, age, address, gender, marital status, national origin, religion, employer, salary or wages, whether you’re seeing a credit counselor, and any other “non-responsibility type” information not proven useful in predicting insurance risk.
Here are a few important things to note about insurance scoring:
- Unlike credit checks when applying for a loan, insurance scoring is a “soft hit” inquiry on your credit and does NOT affect your credit score.
- While many insurance companies may have access to your insurance score, they do not actually see your credit score.
- The majority of states—but not all—allow for insurance scoring.
How does an insurance company determine the value of my off-road vehicle?
In order to determine the value of your off-road vehicle after a claim, some insurance companies simply use books such as N.A.D.A. Guides or the Kelley Blue Book. The problem is that these “guides” rarely give a complete picture of the current value of your off-road vehicle. There are many factors the books don’t take into account when determining values that a specialty insurance company will.
A thorough claims examiner will usually consider the book values as well as the actual market value when determining the true value of your off-road vehicle. This can involve reviewing online and classified listings to determine the current selling price for off-road vehicles similar to yours. Our examiners will try to find at least four or five examples in your geographic area to obtain a complete picture of what people in your area are paying for off-road vehicles similar to yours. They then average these prices to get the real value of your off-road vehicle.
What are “accessories” and why do I need special coverage for them?
An accessory is anything that was not included as standard by the manufacturer of the off-road vehicle. Your off-road vehicle’s value and, therefore, how much coverage you have, is strictly for the “stock” off-road vehicle. Accessories can include (but are not limited to):
- Cab systems
- Storage bags/racks
- Custom seats
- Riding gear (if used exclusively with the off-road vehicle)
As you can see, the number of accessories on an off-road vehicle can add up pretty quickly. And since coverage for accessories is a separate part of your policy with its own limit, it’s important to take a thorough inventory of the accessories on your off-road vehicle when deciding how much accessory coverage to purchase.
Are my injuries covered if I get into an accident?
Many insurance companies offer medical payment coverage (med pay) to help cover reasonable medical expenses (and also funeral expenses) if an accident were to occur, regardless of fault. It is typically secondary to an individual’s health insurance, but it can become the primary coverage if an individual does not have health insurance or if he or she is on Medicare or Medicaid. Med pay also helps with the out-of-pocket expenses that health insurance plans normally don’t cover, such as deductibles and copays—expenses that can add up in a hurry! Coverage amounts vary by state and insurance carrier. Coverages such as uninsured motorists bodily injury and underinsured motorists bodily injury can also cover your medical expenses if you are involved in an accident where the at-fault party either had no insurance or didn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages. If you have questions about med pay or other coverage that may be available in your state, be sure to talk to your insurance agent or call our customer service team at 800-236-2453.
If I lend my off-road vehicle to a friend, are they covered?
Yes and no. In the event that your friend uses your off-road vehicle and has an accident, your off-road vehicle will be covered, and any damages he/she causes to someone else for which you become legally liable will be covered. Should he/she end up being injured in the incident, his/her injuries may be covered by the medical payment (med pay) coverage on your off-road vehicle insurance.
Am I covered if I rent an off-road vehicle on vacation or ride a friend’s off-road vehicle?
It is a good rule to remember that “insurance follows the off-road vehicle.” There are select states where insurance follows the operator; however, in the vast majority of states, coverages follow the off-road vehicle. So, if you are riding an off-road vehicle that is uninsured (or if you are riding an off-road vehicle without the owner’s permission), you are most likely riding without any insurance protection. It is always a good idea to review your policy or talk to your insurance company before hitting the trail with someone else’s off-road vehicle.
Can I get full coverage with Markel Specialty?
There is not an industry-standard definition of the term “full coverage,” and therefore it can mean different things to each insurance company. The term “full coverage” is used more frequently in the banking industry. What you may be referring to are comprehensive and collision coverages, and we do offer both of those coverages on our off-road vehicle insurance policies. Here is a brief description of what those coverages are:
- Collision coverage provides protection for the physical damage to your off-road vehicle when it hits or is hit by another vehicle or object.
- Comprehensive coverage provides protection for damage not caused by collision and usually covers things such as theft, fire, vandalism, weather damage, or hitting an animal.
Even if you are not financing your off-road vehicle, it is wise to consider comprehensive and collision coverages. These coverages are designed to help get your off-road vehicle fixed and back on the trail.
How much coverage do I really need?
This is another difficult question, because each off-road vehicle is different in value, usage, and many other factors. The best option is to call one of our off-road vehicle insurance specialists at 800-236-2453 to determine the right amount of coverage for you and your off-road vehicle.
Is my off-road vehicle covered for theft?
If you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, your off-road vehicle would have coverage for theft. Now, neither you nor your insurance company wants to see your off-road vehicle get stolen, so here are some things you can do to help prevent a theft claim:
- Always remove the key when the unit is unattended.
- Store the unit in a locked garage.
- Store the unit out of sight. If thieves don’t know it’s there, they won’t steal it!
- Don’t leave the unit unattended for long periods of time.
I got my off-road insurance quote and I want to purchase the policy-now what?
That’s great! Policies can be purchased online or over the phone at 800-236-2453 from one of our customer service representatives. Before purchasing the policy, it’s important to check over all of the information on the quote to make sure it is accurate and correct. Once everything is verified as correct, payments can be made online, over the phone or mailed in via debit card, credit card, or check. Once the payment is received, coverage will start immediately. While you will receive a hard copy of your policy in three to five business days, a copy of your insurance cards and policy can be emailed or faxed over immediately.
Will improving my credit score lower my off-road insurance premium?
It just might. Keep in mind that there are many factors that go into determining your overall premium, so the results may vary. Nonetheless, improving your credit history, and therefore your insurance score, wouldn’t hurt.
According to FICO, there are a few tips that can help you work toward improving your insurance score:
- Pay your bills on time, and if you’re behind, get caught up.
- Keep balances low on credit cards and never move debt from one card to another. Also, don’t open new credit cards that you don’t need (this includes store-specific or gas station cards).
- If you’re young and are just establishing your credit, don’t open a lot of accounts too quickly.
- If you are looking for new credit, do your rate shopping first and then make a single application rather than making more than one. Multiple credit inquiries to the credit bureaus can be a negative.
- It’s important to note, however, that when an insurance company accesses your credit report to develop an insurance score, it’s considered a “soft hit” on your credit and does not affect your credit score. This is also true of “promotional” inquiries—for example, when a credit card company approaches you to sign up and tells you that you’re pre-approved.
- Having credit cards and installment loans can improve your score if you’re always on time with your payments. Don’t just open accounts to try for a better mix: it probably won’t help.
Can I break my policy premium into payments?
Yes. We have installment plans to meet most budgets. Keep in mind, however, that a fee is charged for each installment. Depending on how many installments you break your payment into, those installment fees can add up pretty quickly.
Payments, whether made at the start of the policy period or by installments, can be made over the phone, online, through automatic withdrawal, or by mail.
How else can I lower my insurance premium?
We know how quickly expenses can add up. We also know how important it is to have insurance in case an accident happens. Here are some ways you can lower your insurance premium without having to sacrifice your coverages:
Increase your safety efforts
The most obvious thing you can do is take a rider safety course. Most insurance companies will then offer you an off-road vehicle safety course discount. In the end, you’ll become more safety conscious and a better driver while saving money, all at the same time.
In addition to being a safe driver, you can also add safety devices to your ATV or UTV. For example, you can look into installing an anti-theft device such as an electronic alarm or tracking system.
Improve your level of financial responsibility
As you saw in a previous question, being more financially responsible can lower your insurance rates. Your efforts to improve your credit score, by doing things like paying bills on time and keeping credit card balances low, will go a long way toward reducing how much you are charged for insurance.
Practice customer loyalty
The insurance industry is a competitive one, and most insurance companies will gladly give you a renewal discount for your continued business. Some benefits are accrued over time, such as our diminishing deductibles and accident-forgiveness program, so it may be financially beneficial to maintain that relationship.
Don’t assume the insurance companies with the best commercials are actually going to have the lowest rates or the best service. Get quotes from different companies—they’re free and most take only a few minutes. And make sure you compare apples to apples. Find out what is included in a basic policy—at no additional charge—and what costs extra. Slight differences while quoting can add up to big differences in premiums. But keep in mind that the cheapest insurance isn’t always the best. Good customer service and a company that supports you throughout the claim process can be worth a few extra dollars in the long run.
Do I need to insure my off-road vehicle all year if I only ride it in the summer/winter?
While it's not required, we recommend that our customers insure their off-road vehicles year-round. Some people think they will save money by only insuring part of the year. At Markel Specialty, we understand that you won’t necessarily be using your off-road vehicle all year, and we set our rates accordingly. The most important reason to insure your off-road vehicle all year is to protect you from any of the situations that can arise when your off-road vehicle is being stored. We’ve seen everything from shelves falling on off-road vehicles to entire garages burning to the ground with the off-road vehicles inside. If you don’t have insurance in the off-season, anything that happens to the unit will not be covered. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Will submitting a small claim affect my premium?
Maybe. The challenge in answering this—and many other questions—is that the answer varies based on the situation and is different for every insurance company.
If you are in good standing with your insurance carrier and have no previous claims, it will certainly help. The biggest determining factor of whether your rates will be affected is if you are at fault or not. If you are not at fault, your rates will probably not be affected. If you are at fault, this can be a different story, and whether your premium is affected might depend on the size of the claim.
One other consideration to take into account when deciding whether or not to submit a claim is your deductible. If the cost of repairs is less than your deductible, it’s probably not worth submitting.
No matter what, always let your insurance company know if you are in an accident involving an injury to a third party or damage to a third party’s property.
What do I do if I have an accident?
Step one after any accident is assuring the safety of everyone involved. Certainly, if there are any injuries, contact the authorities or medical personnel to have them attended to. Next, secure the unit and equipment to make sure it won’t be further damaged or cause any other damage or injuries. Take photos of the scene and the unit for use in processing the claim. Then, file your claim online or call us at 800-236-2453.