As the snow leaves us here in Northern Michigan, the trails and mud seem to call riders from all over to get out their ATVs and hit the dirt, sand and hills.

Michigan is in fact 4th in the Nation for ATV sales and registrations, and in 2014 we had over 206,000 registered ATVs. Unfortunately, Michigan is also 4th highest in the Nation for ATV crashes and deaths.

It is not surprising either to read that in 2006, over 73% of all ATVs in Michigan were operated by children under the age of 18. Putting these statistics together shows that tragically a lot of young inexperienced riders are being injured, sometimes critically using what they consider to be ‘fun’ recreational activities.

For insurance purposes, it’s important to know that in Michigan ATVs are NOT covered for liability once they leave your insured home residence premises. I repeat, the minute that ATV that you own, leaves your property, you are without liability protection unless you have purchased a separate policy for it, or added and extension of coverage off your home, renters or condo insurance policies.

When your ‘owned’ property is involved in an accident in which another party is injured, you are always open to being sued for those injuries or a fatality. Without having specific recreational vehicle liability, you would be held responsible to pay medical costs as well as any legal settlement.

Some insurance companies charge a set amount per item to provide recreational vehicle liability, but we have one company in our agency that only charges a set $25 annual fee for all of your recreational vehicles. You could have a golf cart, a dirt bike and 2 ATVs, and still only pay the annual $25 per year for liability for them all.

We highly recommend when you purchase any items that could cause harm to others, that you consult with your insurance professional just to be sure that you are protected.

As always, we are here to assist with any of your home, business or auto insurance questions or exposures, and wish you a safe and enjoyable Spring and Summer season here in Northern Michigan.