Tips for buying an ATV

Man wearing helmet and goggles driving yellow ATV

Before you head out to your local dealership or start looking online, you'll want to decide how much you are willing to spend on your new ATV. Remember that the sticker price on the ATV will only be one component of the total budget as there are a number of other expenses (which are mentioned in more detail below) that you will also need to consider.

The ATV and accessories

On average, an all-terrain vehicle can cost anywhere from $3,000—15,000 depending on which model you choose and whether it's new or used. It is important to note that any additional accessories (an accessory is anything that was not included as standard or basic by the manufacturer of the ATV and includes things like plows, windshields, storage racks, and safety guards) would be an extra expense and increase your total ATV cost.

Riding gear

ATV riding can be fun, but it can also be dangerous without the correct gear. That's why you'll want to budget a few extra dollars towards your riding gear (helmet, goggles, gloves, boots, etc.). Whether you're using your ATV for work or pleasure, wearing the correct riding gear will not only make your ATV riding experience more enjoyable, but it will also help protect you.


Much like a car, all-terrain vehicles require routine maintenance checks to make sure things continue to run smoothly. They require oil, gas, and replacements for broken parts. Costs can vary greatly depending on the age of the unit, how you decide to use the unit (trail riding vs. plowing vs. hauling), and the type of terrain you'll be riding on (sand can be very hard on your bearings, especially if a seal goes bad).


If you are planning to drive your ATV on state-owned trails, ride in public parks, or finance your ATV, you will most likely need to carry ATV insurance. When deciding how to insure your ATV, keep in mind that some homeowner policies won't cover your ATV if you ride off your property and/or if you trailer your ATV to another location. A specialized ATV insurance policy, however, can cover you if you ride off of your property or trailer your ATV to another location, and can provide coverage for theft, vandalism, and injury. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent or call Markel, a specialized ATV insurance carrier, (1-800-236-2453) to make sure your ATV is properly insured.

After determining your budget and costs associated with owning an ATV, the second most important question you'll want to ask yourself is, "What am I planning to use my ATV for?". Someone who is planning to use their ATV for trail riding in the dessert will need a different kind of ATV than someone who is going to use their ATV to haul and carry cargo. There are three different categories ATVs usually fall into: sport/performance, recreation/utility, or super utility. Purchasing a model that is designed to fit your needs will not only be more beneficial to you, but will also help your ATV last longer.

Sport/performance ATVs

Sport/performance ATVs are smaller and lighter than utility ATVs. Ranging from 250cc to 900cc, sport ATVs are built for speed and designed to handle jumps, bumps, and turns. If you like fast trail riding and getting big air, this is the quad category for you.

Utility/recreation ATVs

Compared to a sport ATV, utility ATVs are usually bigger in size, heavier, and have larger tires. They are typically used for hunting, hill climbing, plowing, and hauling. Even though these machines are more geared for work, they are still great for recreational trail riding (making them the most popular type of ATV sold today!).

Super utility ATVs

Super utility ATVs are sometimes referred to as side-by-side ATVs or UTVs. These types of ATVs are designed to carry passengers and even more cargo than a typical utility ATV. The super utility ATVs have larger, more powerful motors, extreme suspension, and a shorter wheel base.

Finding an ATV (or UTV) that fits both your budget and your needs takes time and patience. The best way to find the ATV that's right for you is to visit dealerships, read reviews, and talk to other ATV owners.

Man wearing helmet and goggles driving yellow ATV
This article is intended for general informational purposes only regarding non-insurance matters and is not designed to provide professional advice.
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