Why Your Farm's JD Gator Needs RV Insurance

Why is My JD Gator Not Considered a Piece of Farm Equipment?

November 3, 2022

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Insurance isn’t often known for being straightforward, and when it comes down to the finer details of what can be insured under what policy, there’s bound to be some misconception. A common misconception to do with Farm Insurance is that a farmer can insure their farm ATV/ORV (all-terrain vehicle and off-road vehicle, respectively) under their Farm Insurance coverage and list it as “farm equipment.” Unfortunately, Farm Insurance won’t cover your ATVs as farm equipment.

What Defines an ATV/ORV?

According to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, an ATV may be defined as a vehicle that has the following characteristics:

  • Has handlebars to steer
  • Has 4 wheels, and all wheels are in direct contact with the ground
  • Has a seat that the driver must straddle
  • Has the carrying capacity for the driver and a single passenger.

A multi-purpose off-road vehicle, or ORV, is defined as having such:

  • A steering wheel
  • 4 wheels (or more) with all wheels in direct contact with the ground
  • Seats that are not intended for straddling
  • Can carry a minimum of 159 kg or 350 lbs.

Your John Deere GATOR, Kubota RTV, Kawasaki Mule, etc., are all examples of off-road vehicles or ORVs. Your tractor, however, can be insured as a piece of farm equipment. This is because it is not considered an off-road vehicle. This has caused significant confusion in the agriculture community as to why a tractor is insurable under a Farm Insurance policy but not ATVs or ORVs that are used on the farm.

Restrictions Surrounding ATV/ORV Usage

How you may use your ORV or ATV is regulated by the ORVA or “Off-Road Vehicles act” as well as the HTA or “Highway Traffic Act.” ATVs and ORVs are typically not allowed to be driven on public roads, unless the farmer is driving the ORV on the “travelled” portion of public roads for agricultural purposes. Another permitted usage is for a licensed trapper to drive an ORV on the travelled portion of the road for trapping purposes. Individual municipalities may permit recreational ATV or ORV use on the shoulder of certain provincial highways, but if there is no by-law, then there can be no recreational road usage.

While your Farm Insurance may not include your ATVs or ORVs, as a farmer you can drive these vehicles on the travel-able portions of municipal roads and provincial highways for business purposes, so long as the farmer is licensed (with a minimum G2), the ATV/ORV is registered, the ATV/ORV has a Slow-Moving Vehicle sign on its rear or the rear of any towed vehicle, seatbelts are worn, and the ATV/ORV is insured under a separate recreational vehicle policy.

How to Insure Your ATV/ORVs –

Recreational vehicle insurance is designed to protect motor vehicles with coverage that a typical personal auto coverage policy might exclude. Most recreational vehicle insurance policies will include coverage for emergency expenses, total-loss replacement (or agreed value), and liability. Moreover, note that typical car insurance coverage can’t be suspended when the vehicle is placed in storage, whereas RV coverage may have that option. It is worth discussing with the experts here at Excalibur Insurance Group about your ATV or ORV and your insurance needs for your financial security and fuller peace of mind.