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Guide: Insuring ATVs and UTVs on a farm policy

January 30, 2024

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) designed for farm or ranch use are normally insured by a farm insurance policy. Just don’t let customers count on that coverage if one of the machines is used in other ways.

Even though operation on public roadways is now allowed by law in many farm states, that doesn’t mean operators are protected when they’re on the road. Some machines are designed for farm and ranch work. Those that aren’t — ones with higher horsepower and recreational modifications — can also fall outside of farm insurance policy coverage. Especially when considering an ATV or UTV purchase, your customers will benefit from knowing the key distinctions and what’s best for farm use in making an informed decision.

Farm vs. recreational use

As a rule of thumb, operation of an ATV or UTV designated for farm work could qualify for liability coverage on a farm policy. This includes operation on or off the insured’s farm or ranch, but only if the machine is being used for active farm or ranch work like transporting feed, tools, equipment or other supplies from one location to another.

That’s not to say an ATV or UTV not specifically designed for farm or ranch use can’t be put to work. It just may require additional powersports coverage given the machine’s potential use for recreation.

Farm vs. powersports coverage

If a machine is being used for farm work and recreational use, a farm policy may not provide required ATV or UTV insurance liability coverage. That’s when a powersports policy may be a better fit, especially in cases when the insured will operate a machine frequently off their farm or ranch. People are the major variable: liability coverage, whether through a farm or powersports policy, is intended to protect the operator from liability stemming from incidents with uninsured or underinsured motorists.

Considerations for farm use

Think about these variables when determining the right coverage for your customers’ ATVs and UTVs:

  • Design. Machines for farm use are normally designed with utility in mind. Non-farm ATVs and UTVs, on the other hand, may feature a sportier look and feel. Most non-farm machines are designed with speed and maneuverability in mind.
  • Power. Non-farm ATVs and UTVs typically feature higher horsepower than farm-use machines. The higher the horsepower, the more likely the machine can or will be used in non-farm activities. Lower-horsepower machines with features like attached boxes or beds are much more likely to be used only for farm work.
  • Payload and towing capacity. These are normally prioritized in farm-use ATVs and UTVs. The same is normally not true of recreational ATVs and UTVs. If looking for a farm-use machine, payload and towing capacity will be primary things to consider.
  • Safety features. Farm-use ATVs and UTVs often come equipped with roll cages, safety nets and other components that enhance safety during farm or ranch work. Recreational UTVs and ATVs, on the other hand, will likely feature components like sport-style suspension or reinforced frames.
  • Adaptability. Farm-use ATVs and UTVs are capable performers on the range of landscapes where farmers and ranchers operate them, including farm yards, fields and pastures. Recreational machines normally feature additional components and parts that enable them to perform in a range of other landscapes, like rock formations and trails.

For further detail on eligibility and underwriting guidelines, consult your Nationwide Farm Underwriter.