Frequently asked questions

Below are frequently asked questions and answers about snowmobile insurance from Markel.

Why do I need snowmobile insurance?

A snowmobile insurance policy will cover you if you ride on or off of your property and if you trailer your snowmobile to another location. It’s also important to keep in mind that a lot of state-owned and public parks require snowmobile insurance in order to ride on their trails. Your snowmobile may not have coverage in these three areas if it is included under your homeowners or auto insurance policy.

How much is snowmobile insurance?

That’s a difficult question to answer. The rate you pay for snowmobile 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 snowmobile insurance will cost is to get a quote.

Does Markel insure snowmobiles in my state?

Markel currently insures snowmobiles in the following states: AK, CO, ID, IL, IN, IA, ME, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, ND, OH, OR, PA, SD, UT, VT, WI, and WY.

How do I get a snowmobile insurance quote?

We make getting a snowmobile insurance quote quick and easy. You can generate a quote yourself online or call our customer service team at 1-800-236-2453.

Can I get a snowmobile insurance quote before I purchase my snowmobile?

Absolutely! It’s always smart to do your homework before making a big purchase like a snowmobile.

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.

Insurance scoring is 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 snowmobile?

In order to determine the value of your snowmobile 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 snowmobile. 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 snowmobile. This can involve reviewing online and classified listings to determine the current selling price for snowmobiles 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 snowmobiles similar to yours. They then average these prices to get the real value of your snowmobile.

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 snowmobile. Your snowmobile's value and, therefore, how much coverage you have, is strictly for the “stock” snowmobile. Accessories can include (but are not limited to):

  • Skid plates
  • Windshields
  • Storage bags/racks
  • Custom seats
  • Helmets
  • Riding gear (if used exclusively for snowmobiling)
As you can see, the number of accessories on a snowmobile 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 snowmobile 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 1-800-236-2453.

If I lend my snowmobile to a friend, are they covered?

Yes and no. In the event that your friend uses your snowmobile and has an accident, your snowmobile 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 snowmobile insurance.

Am I covered if I rent a snowmobile on vacation or ride a friend’s snowmobile?

It is a good rule to remember that “insurance follows the snowmobile.” There are select states where insurance follows the operator; however, in the vast majority of states, coverages follow the snowmobile. So, if you are riding a snowmobile that is uninsured (or if you are riding a snowmobile 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 snowmobile.

Can I get full coverage with Markel?

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 snowmobile insurance policies. Here is a brief description of what those coverages are:

  • Collision coverage provides protection for the physical damage to your snowmobile 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 snowmobile, it is wise to consider comprehensive and collision coverages. These coverages are designed to help get your snowmobile fixed and back on the trail.

How much coverage do I really need?

This is another difficult question, because each snowmobile is different in value, usage, and many other factors. The best option is to call one of our snowmobile insurance specialists at 1-800-236-2453 to determine the right amount of coverage for you and your snowmobile.

Is my snowmobile covered for theft?

If you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, your snowmobile would have coverage for theft. Now, neither you nor your insurance company wants to see your snowmobile 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 snowmobile insurance quote and I want to purchase the policy-now what?

That’s great! Policies can be purchased online or over the phone at 1-800-236-2453 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 snowmobile 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 or watch a rider safety video. Most insurance companies will then offer you a snowmobile safety course discount. In the end, you’ll become more safety conscious and a better driver while saving money, all at the same time.

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 discounts are accrued over time, such as our diminishing deductibles and accident-forgiveness program, so it may be financially beneficial to maintain that relationship.

Shop around
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 snowmobile all year if I only ride it in the winter?

The better question would be: why wouldn’t you insure your snowmobile in the summer months? Some people think they will save money by not insuring in the summer. At Markel, we understand that you won’t be using your sled in the summer, and we set our rates accordingly. That means you won’t really see any savings by not insuring the unit in the off-season. The most important reason to insure your snowmobile in the summer is to protect you from any of the situations that can arise when your sled is being stored. We’ve seen everything from shelves falling on snowmobiles to entire garages burning to the ground with the snowmobiles 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, contact our online claims service center or call us at 1-800-236-2453.

Markel Customer Service
Hours of operation:
Mon.–Fri., 7:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. CST
Sat., 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. CST

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