Snowmobile Insurance

How Much is Snowmobile Insurance in Ontario?

To give you a sense for how much snowmobile insurance costs, we ran quotes for Canada’s most popular snowmobiles. For insurance affordability, the mid-sized Yamaha SX Venom and Arctic Cat Blast ZR 4000 are your best bet, at $549 a year for an experienced rider with a clean record. Full size sleds will run you $817 to $966. Bundling your sled with your home and auto insurance can save you 20%.

Are you a snowmobiler thinking about a new sled for you, or maybe your kids? How much should you budget for insurance? Whenever you’re thinking about buying a new vehicle, it’s a good idea to consider the full cost of ownership, which includes not only monthly payments, but also fuel, maintenance, perhaps storage, and of course, insurance.

To give you an idea about that last part, annual premiums for a new snowmobile typically land between 5 and 7% of the value of the sled. If you’re paying more, that probably means you have at least a few tickets or accidents on your record.

Pricing for snowmobile insurance is not as complicated as it is for auto insurance. Your age, gender and marital status don’t matter much, and where you live only matters if you’re in Northern Ontario (10% discount). As for the sled itself, what matters is the size of the engine, and the purchase price.

Below are quotes for Canada’s most popular snowmobiles. To run the quotes, we created 3 rider profiles:

  • Edgar, 20 years old, 2 years’ experience, clean record
  • Callista, 40 years old, 20 years’ experience, 2 minor tickets
  • Lars, 50 years old, 10 years’ experience, clean record

All quotes are based on full coverage, standard accident benefits, $1 million liability, $300 deductible, and coverage for underage riders.

Ontario Snowmobile Insurance Rates for Canada’s Most Popular Sleds (Yearly Premiums)
SnowmobileEdgarCallistaLarsAvg premiumSled MSRP
2021 Yamaha SX Venom$549$549$549$549$7,999
2021 Arctic Cat Blast ZR 4000 121 1.0$549$549$549$549$8,095
2021 Ski-Doo MXZ® Sport 600 EFI$771$549$549$623$8,649
2021 Ski-Doo Renegade® X-RS 850 E-TEC$1,150$817$817$928$15,149
2021 Arctic Cat M 8000 Mountain Cat Alpha One$1,150$817$817$928$15,945
2021 Yamaha Sidewinder SRX LE$974$935$935$948$17,999
2021 Ski-Doo Summit X 850 Turbo 175 with Expert Package$1,196$966$966$1,043$17,849
2021 Polaris Switchback® Assault® 850 144$1,104$1,215$817$1,045$14,199
2021 Yamaha Mountain Max LE 165$1,104$1,215$817$1,045$14,249
2021 Polaris INDY® XC® Launch Edition 137 850$1,104$1,215$817$1,045$14,299
2021 Ski-Doo Backcountry™ X-RS® 146 850 E-TEC$1,104$1,215$817$1,045$14,849

What Factors Affect Snowmobile Premiums?

Unlike auto insurance, where your age, gender, postal code and a bunch of other factors are taken into account for pricing, snowmobile insurance pricing is fairly simple.

  • Your gender and marital status don’t matter at all.
  • Your postal code only matters if you’re in Northern Ontario, where you get a 10% discount.
  • Your age only matters if you’re under 25, and even then, only if you’re riding a larger, more powerful sled.
  • Your years of experience only matter if you have less than 4 years and have tickets.
  • The only things that matter about the sled are the value and the engine size (cc).
  • All tickets count against you (sledding, driving, motorcycle).
  • Only at-fault accidents related to sledding count against you.

Ways to save

There are a few easy ways to save money on premiums for your sled:

  • Insure your home and car with the same insurance company as your sled (bundling) – save 20%
  • Keep your record clean – 2 tickets can add 50% to your premium
  • Buy a cheaper sled – for new sleds, annual premium is typically 5-7% of the sled value

Snowmobiling is a great winter pastime that can be fun for the whole family. To make it as affordable as possible, connect today with one of our experienced brokers. They’ll answer all your questions, set up your policy in a jiffy, and get you out on the trails in time for the next snow fall. Happy sledding!

Find out how you can save on snowmobile insurance today.

Learn more

Call Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers for a quote on Ontario snowmobile insurance.
Speak with a broker today: 1-800-731-2228

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Illustration of snowmobiler riding his sled through the snow
Snowmobile and car

How is Snowmobile Insurance Different Than Auto Insurance?

Getting insurance for your sled is not nearly as complicated as getting auto insurance. Insurance companies have simplified ratings that group sleds together based on the size of the engine, and they rate riders broadly as experienced or inexperienced, instead of crediting you for every year you ride. Tickets and accidents still count against you, but not quite the same way.

If you’ve had auto insurance for a long time, you’re probably quite familiar with what factors are used to determine your premium. In fact, we write a lot of stories about how your age, gender, postal code and driving history can and do affect your auto insurance rates. Well, if you’re just getting into snowmobiling and were wondering if the same factors apply, the answer is, not exactly.

Let’s take a look at how snowmobile insurance differs from auto insurance in terms of how premiums are determined.

Rating factors for auto vs. snowmobile insurance
FactorAutoSnowmobileNotes
Vehicle yearYesNoFor auto insurance, every year, make and model could potentially change the rate. For snowmobiles, sleds are grouped by engine size.
Vehicle makeYesNo
Vehicle modelYesNo
Vehicle price/valueYesYesThe insurance company needs to know how much it will cost to replace the sled if it’s stolen or damaged beyond repair.
Vehicle horsepower/ccNoYesFor cars, year, make and model captures horsepower, so your broker won’t ask, but it does affect the price. For snowmobiles, horsepower doesn’t technically affect pricing, but some insurance companies won’t insure a sled over 800 cc, so you could pay as much as 50% more for certain models.
Driver/rider ageYesNoYour age doesn’t technically matter for snowmobile insurance pricing, but some insurance companies won’t insure you if you’re under 25 and your sled is over 800 cc.
Driver/rider genderYesNoYour gender and marital status don’t matter at all for snowmobile insurance. Your broker may ask, but only because they would also like to sell you car insurance at some point.
Driver/rider marital statusYesNo
Driver/rider postal codeYesNot reallyUnlike auto insurance, where every neighbourhood could potentially pay a different rate, snowmobile insurance has two territories. One for Northern Ontario, and one for the rest of the province. The North pays 10% less.
Driver/rider years experienceYesNoYour experience doesn’t affect your rate for snowmobile insurance, but some insurance companies won’t insure you have less than 4 years experience and have tickets.
Driver/rider ticketsYesYesFor sled insurance, all tickets count: Auto, motorcycle, and snowmobile.
Driver/rider at-fault accidentsYesYes and NoOnly snowmobile at-fault accidents affect your snowmobile rate. Car/motorcycle accidents do not.
Driver/rider suspensionsYesYesLicense suspensions and cancellations for non-payment don’t technically affect pricing, but if you have these on your record, only high-risk insurers will accept you, so you’ll be paying more.
Driver/rider cancellation for non-paymentYesYes

What Rating Factors Are Different For Sled Insurance?

The experience of shopping for snowmobile insurance will feel much like what you’ve experienced when calling for a car insurance quote. Your broker will ask for your full address, birthdate, maybe even marital status, and will definitely ask you for the year, make and model of the sled you want to insure. In fact, they’ll want the VIN, just like for your car. But some of these questions won’t be for the purpose of getting you an accurate quote. For example, they will ask for your address, but just so they know where to send your paperwork.

Here’s how it all breaks down:

The sled: Unlike auto insurance, where every year, make and model could potentially generate a different premium, your snowmobile insurer really just needs to know the purchase price of your sled and the cc.

The rider: For sled insurance, your exact age doesn’t affect pricing except that some companies won’t insure you if you’re under 25 and have a sled over 800cc, and some have an “underage surcharge”. Experience is grouped into “experienced” (4+ years) and “inexperienced” (less than 4 years). Being a novice rider could affect how much you pay because some insurers won’t accept inexperienced riders with tickets.

In terms of your past record, at-fault claims only affect your snowmobile rate if they are related to sledding. On the other hand, all tickets, license suspensions and past cancellations for non-payment can affect your premium, even if they are related to your car or motorcycle, not your sled.

Why is Snowmobile Insurance Pricing So Much Simpler?

Insurance companies always want to be as detailed as possible in setting their pricing. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Profitability: They want to set premiums high enough to avoid losing money.
  2. Market share: They want to set premiums as low as possible to win new customers.

The problem is that pricing is based on past claims, and there just aren’t enough snowmobiles out there to provide statistically reliable claims data for all the possible sub-groups of sledders.

There are 9 million cars and trucks in Ontario, so there are enough claims in a given year, say, from 31-year-old drivers, to provide accurate pricing for that group. Given that there are only about 150,000 snowmobiles in the province, and most people don’t make claims, there may only be a dozen or so claims made by 31-year-old riders in a given year. That’s not nearly enough to accurately price that narrow sub-group, so insurers have to group more broadly. One price group for riders with less than 4 years’ experience (inexperienced riders), and another for everyone else (experienced riders).

Simple…If You Don’t Cancel

There is one way that snowmobile insurance pricing is actually more complicated than auto insurance. And that’s when it comes to how your annual premium is broken down by month. Just like with motorcycle insurance, insurance companies know that you’re only likely to use your sled during certain months. So they charge you more during months when you’re more likely to ride, and less when you’re less likely to ride. If you keep your sled insured year-round, it doesn’t matter, and you can pay a regular monthly premium. But it can get tricky if you try to cancel your policy in the spring.

Here’s how it breaks down:

MonthPercentage of Annual Premium Charged
January25%
February25%
March15%
April0%
May0%
June0%
July0%
August0%
September0%
October0%
November10%
December25%

So, if you start your policy November 1st, then try to cancel April 1st, thinking you’ll get back seven months worth of premium, you’ll actually get back nothing, because your entire annual premium will already be used up. What’s worse, if you’re making monthly payments, you’ll only have made 5 monthly installments by then, and cancelling will force you to pay the other 7 installments all at once.

Whenever this happens, the instinct is to feel ripped off, but it’s just what happens when you choose to make regular monthly payments on something that you only use for 5 months. It’s just like buying a 5-month supply of eggs and paying for it over a year. After 5 months, you’ll still be paying for eggs, but you won’t be able to make an omelette. It’s best to keep your policy for the full year, and you won’t run into this problem.

How to Get the Best Price For Your Sled Insurance

Just like with your auto insurance, the best way to get a good rate on your sled is to keep your record clean. Unlike auto, the actual value of your sled also makes a big difference. Premiums can start at a couple hundred bucks a year if you have a clean record and a used sled. Beyond that, you can save an additional 20% if you bundle your sled insurance with your auto, home, condo or tenants policy. Call us for a quote today. We know when that hotline bling, that can only mean one thing…Somebody wants insurance.

Find out how you can save on snowmobile insurance today.

Learn more

Call Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers for a quote on Ontario snowmobile insurance.
Speak with a broker today: 1-800-731-2228


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Snowmobile safety course

On the Trail of Snowmobile Training Courses

More Canadians than ever are taking up the joys of snowmobiling. And the biggest requirement to enjoying this fun, wintertime hobby is learning how to do it responsibly, using common sense, and practicing essential skills.Experts agree that a snowmobile training course can provide everything you and your family need to engage in this popular pastime safely.

So you‘ve decided this is the year you are finally going to get yourself a snowmobile! You are not the only one. With travel being what it is these days, many people are looking for new and fascinating ways to enjoy the Canadian winters.

If you and your family are primed to hit the trails this season, it’s time to think about snowmobile training courses. Do you need them? Are they all the same in Ontario? What, exactly, are the legal requirements?

Let’s get down to the bottom of this before we all head out on the trails this winter…

What is a Motorized Snow Vehicle Operator’s License, and do I need one?

A Motorized Snow Vehicle Operator’s Licence, or MSVOL, is a certificate proving that you have successfully passed the Ontario Snowmobile Safety Course. This course is exclusively offered by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) under the authority of the Ministry of Transportation.

An MSVOL is NOT required if you already have a valid driver’s licence. Still, it might be a good idea to brush up on some of the rules and etiquette of snowmobiling anyway.

An MSVOL is required if you are between the ages of 12 and 16, or you are older than 16 but still have not obtained a regular driver’s licence.

Basically the snowmobiling rules are:

  • You must be at least 12 years old
  • You must carry a valid driver’s licence (Ontario or another recognized jurisdiction) or an MSVOL
  • You must register the snowmobile with the Ministry of Transportation
  • You must have insurance

If you do not have an MSVOL or regular driver’s licence, you can only operate a snowmobile on private property.

How do I get an MSVOL?

These days, getting your MSVOL is rather simple. Since the start of the pandemic, the OFSC has put the entire safety training course online, so now you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home.

  1. Study the online safety course. It’s all narrated, interactive and animated. In short, it’s easy to understand, especially for your 12 year old!
  2. Pass the short quiz at the end of each unit. A passing grade is 80%. If you don’t pass it the first time, you can keep redoing the unit until you do.
  3. Pass the exam at the end of the course. You must get at least 80% to pass. You have two attempts to pass it before you must begin the course again from the beginning.

After you have passed the final exam, you can print a copy of your MSVOL right away and you are good to go. They will send you a permanent card in the mail.

The cost is a one-time fee of $40, which includes the course plus all attempts at passing the quizzes and exam.

The course is developed and hosted by Fresh Air Educators, which works with government agencies and organizations across the country to develop educational materials and applications for a wide range of outdoor activities. Their goal is to make education and certification safe and easily accessible.

According to Michael Dean, Senior Account Manager at Fresh Air Educators, The online course is a great way for students to learn about snowmobile safety through fully narrated animations and illustrations, which means you aren’t just reading, but listening, watching and engaging to learn more and have fun doing it.

I have a valid driver’s licence, should I take the online safety course anyway?

The important thing about the online safety course for you and your family is that it encompasses every aspect of ownership and safety. It has been designed to educate snowmobilers about safety and ethics, as well as to inform them of the responsibilities they have not only to themselves but to other riders and the environment.

There is certainly lots of safety information in the course, says Dean, but also great general knowledge about snowmobiles that is necessary for youth and those that are new to the sport. There are a lot of aspects to snowmobiling that can easily get overlooked. Most people are anxious to get out riding on the trails, but don’t always take the time to plan for a safe trip back home.

Though taken online, the course is surprisingly extensive, and can prepare you for every aspect of driving a snowmobile safely, training you in a diverse set of topics, including:

  • Laws and Regulations
  • Parts Terminology and Maintenance
  • Trip Planning
  • Trailering
  • Riding Skills and Etiquette
  • Keys to Survival

What about a more hands-on course? Or is the online course sufficient?

While the online course is quite extensive, you might consider taking a more hands-on approach to snowmobile safety by getting some extra training with a certified instructor, especially if you or your family are new to sledding.

Ideally anyone that is new to the sport has a friend or family member that is showing them the ropes. explains Dean, The online course is a great first step but continued education is always important. If they are completely new and have any hesitations at all, then an in-person follow-up course would be recommended.

Because driving a snowmobile is considered more in line with driving an ATV than, say, a motorcycle, and due to the reality of pandemic precautions, there aren’t many places offering hands-on training in Ontario at this time.

One exception is an 7-8 hour course offered by the Canada Safety Council. They have certified instructors located throughout Ontario, and will even start training students as young as 6 years old!

This kind of course will add more practical training to the online version offered by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, but you will not obtain an MSVOL at the end of the training sessions, so the online course is still more essential for you and your family.

What you will do is gain more immediate familiarity with the vehicle, such as techniques for turning, negotiating hilly areas, swerving effectively and riding over obstacles. Plus you will get more in depth knowledge of:

  • The snowmobile itself, including its capabilities, limitations and proper maintenance
  • The wide array of operating conditions, and how to recognise them
  • The local laws in your area, or the area you will be sledding in
  • The etiquette around snowmobiling and proper judgement calls
  • Survival techniques

This will certainly give you and your family a better foundation on the many elements of snowmobiling, and help to keep you safe on the trails as you enjoy your new hobby.

And according to renowned snowmobile expert Craig Nicholson (aka The Intrepid Snowmobiler, a little hands-on training just makes good sense…

While only the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs has the authorisation to issue a MSVOL,” says Nicholson, “It never hurts to have some extra training!

Does the Canada Safety Council course provide equipment, or will I need my own?

This depends on the instructor and where he/she is located. Some instructors working for the Canada Safety Council can provide the snowmobile, though most will not. Others are located at resorts that can sometimes rent you one. This will all depend on the instructor.

In any case, due to pandemic restrictions, at the time of writing, everyone must have their own equipment, including their own helmet!

Finally, what kind of insurance do I need?

While it is legal to drive your snowmobile on private property without insurance, if you want to go out on Ontario’s 30,000 km of trails, you are going to need an insurance policy that contains:

  • Third party liability coverage
  • Accident benefits coverage
  • Direct Compensation – property damage coverage
  • Uninsured automobile coverage

And as with your car insurance, it is always a good idea to add collision and comprehensive coverage as well.

You can purchase snowmobile insurance as a stand alone policy or you can bundle it with your car and home insurance for a 20% discount.

Premiums start at just a few hundred dollars a year. Though they can set you back a thousand or more for young snowmobilers with less than stellar driving records.

Just remember that if you have your children included in your policy, their sledding record affects your insurance rates. So in the end, getting them the best training will help keep those rates low!

Call Mitchell & Whale at 1-800-731-2228, and let’s get you out on those trails today!

Find out how you can save on snowmobile insurance today.

Learn more

Call Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers for a quote on Ontario snowmobile insurance.
Speak with a broker today: 1-800-731-2228

Read more

Snowmobile

25 (or so…) Things You’ll Need Before You Go Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is a great way to get out and explore Ontario’s great outdoors. Before you do, we have a checklist of items that you’ll need to make your trip safe and enjoyable. Warm and waterproof clothes, water and snacks, duct tape, proof of insurance…

Every year, tens of thousands of Ontarians look forward to the first snow, because that means it’s almost sledding season! Ontario has 30,000 km of groomed snowmobile trails, so why not explore every last one?

But before you get out there, it’s important to remember that snowmobiling can be dangerous. You’ll be outside for hours at a time, sometimes in unpredictable weather and visibility conditions. You could be traversing frozen rivers and lakes. You will have to cross roadways, and very possibly will encounter cars or other sleds traveling at high speeds. You also have to account for the possibility that your sled will break down and leave you stranded where you are unable to get a cellular signal.

Sledding is meant to be fun. So think about being safe before you head out, so you can fully enjoy your experience.

What will you need?

Your sled, of course

Some of us have a shiny new sled, and some of us may have one with a little more experience. Regardless, it’s important to make sure your sled is in good condition before you set out for the riding season. A fall checkup with your local dealer or mechanic is a good idea.

It’s also recommended that you carry the following with you while sledding:

  1. Extra spark plugs and an extra drive belt
  2. Motor oil
  3. Duct tape and basic tools for minor repairs

Your papers

While sledding in Ontario, you need certain documents with you in case a police officer stops you:

  1. Proof of ownership/registration for your sled
  2. Trail permit sticker – Learn more – Permits – Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs
  3. Proof of insurance
  4. Valid driver’s license or MSVOL

Remember that any tickets you get while sledding will affect your car insurance, and vice versa. Having all your permits and insurance in order is not a nice-to-have, it is the law. And failing to produce one or more of the above documents could have serious consequences.

Clothing

You may think you know what Canadian winters have to offer, but experienced sledders know that you need special gear to be safe and comfortable out on the trails. Temperatures can reach -30 degrees Celsius or colder, so no, your windbreaker probably won’t cut it.

You’ll want to wear:

  1. An inner layer of synthetic (non-cotton, ideally polypropylene) long underwear
  2. Warm wool or synthetic socks
  3. At least one middle layer made of a wind resistant material that will keep in heat
  4. A warm but lightweight facemask or balaclava
  5. A jacket and snow pants designed for snowmobiling (or what they call a monosuit)
  6. Warm, waterproof winter boots with a good tread for navigating ice and snow
  7. Warm, waterproof gloves, or ideally mittens
  8. An approved helmet
  9. If your helmet has no visor, goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare and debris

Try to avoid wearing cotton, because that will make you cold if it gets wet. And remember, more layers is always better. If you get too hot, shed a layer.

Safety gear

A few other things you might want to bring with you while sledding, just in case:

  1. A cellphone (to call for help and monitor weather conditions)
  2. A trail map (in case your phone dies)
  3. Two-way radios (walkie-talkies) in case you are separated from your group
  4. A first aid kit
  5. A blanket
  6. A lighter
  7. A foldable shovel
  8. An emergency whistle
  9. A tow rope
  10. A knife
  11. Water and snacks

Sled safely

Snowmobiling is a heck of a lot of fun, but it’s no joke. Snowmobiles are fast and powerful, which makes them dangerous. A few other tips to stay safe:

  • Don’t use alcohol, cannabis or other drugs before or while sledding (all laws that apply to driving also apply to snowmobiles).
  • Don’t speed. Maximum speed on any trail in Ontario is 50 km/h or 20 km/h in any public park.
  • Even if you have a valid driver’s license, it’s recommended that you take a snowmobile safety course before riding.
  • Always let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to arrive.
  • Never ride alone.
  • Never leave the trail.
  • Stay off roads and railway tracks except where you need to cross them.

Learn more:

Need insurance for your sled?

Mitchell & Whale shares your love of adventure and the great outdoors, and we want to help you get out there. Snowmobile insurance won’t break the bank, but it is important that you get the right coverage for your circumstances. We work with more insurance companies than most brokers, so we have lots of options if you want them, but we can also get you set up with the basics in one quick call, so you can go and enjoy! Our brokers are waiting for your call.

Find out how you can save on snowmobile insurance today.

Learn more

Call Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers for a quote on Ontario snowmobile insurance. Speak with a broker today: 1-800-731-2228

Read more