Well it seems like the winter season wants to continue to hang on. Like that toddler that won’t let go of your leg, or your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend that keeps blowing up your text messages. “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY!”
Since it’s still here, let’s talk about something winter related….again. Snowmobiling rules and insurance regulations. AWE FUN! Let’s do it with a fun Q&A format.
“Am I legal to operate a snowmobile?”
If you were born before 1989, if you are 12 years or older, you are allowed to operate a snowmobile without a snowmobile safety course. If you were born after 1989, and do not have a driver’s license (ages 12-15+), you are required to have completed the snowmobile safety course. This snowmobile safety course is similar to the boaters exam. You can take it online here, at a charge of $45. Upon completion of the course, you will obtain a certificate which will allow you to drive immediately. If they are under the age of 15, they are required to operate under supervision of someone who has a valid driver’s license.
Children ages 12-15 cannot drive a snowmobile on any travelled portion of a road or street, except to cross it. Operators that are 15 and hold a Class 7 learner’s licence can operate on the travelled portion of the road when permitted by a local bylaw; as long as they are accompanied or supervised by someone who holds a valid driver’s licence. Other than on streets and roads, these underage operators can operate snowmobiles under the same conditions as a licensed driver, provided they have successfully completed a snowmobile safety course and are supervised by someone who holds a valid Saskatchewan drivers licence.
“Are there any limits on what type or size of snowmobile I can drive? Like there are with motorcycles?”
Currently, there are no limitations or restrictions on what type or size of snowmobile you operate as long as you are abiding by the licensing requirements.
“If I buy a snowmobile, what are the steps to getting it registered?”
Once you have a bill of sale from purchasing your new or used sled, you can bring that bill of sale into any SGI issuers office and register the snowmobile under your name. Make sure you bring in your driver’s license for photo identification. The snowmobile will be registered under whomever’s name the purchaser is on the bill of sale. The seller’s signature, date, year, make, model and serial number must be on the bill of sale. Just remember, with the Saskatchewan Governments changes to PST, you will be responsible to pay PST upon registration as ALL snowmobile sales over $5000 will require PST, unless previously paid to a dealer.
When the registration is purchased, $110 of the registration is designated for the Saskatchewan trail permits, safety, grooming/trail maintenance and growing Saskatchewan snowmobiling across the province. Your registration also includes $200,000 liability coverage in the event that you were negligent and damaged someone’s property or caused bodily injury to someone while operating the snowmobile. The registration DOES NOT include any insurance coverage for your snowmobile. It also DOES NOT include any injury coverage to the operator of the snowmobile. You will receive a license plate to mount to your snowmobile. Most people attach it to the snow flap, however, this usually gets ripped off from driving. Be sure to secure it to a place that will not be damaged.
“So if I don’t have any snowmobile insurance on the registration, how do I insure my sled?”
In order to insure your snowmobile for perils such as: Collision, Theft, Vandalism or Fire, you will need to purchase an extension policy or “auto pak” on your snowmobile. The coverage, deductible and liability limit can be added/increased on this extension policy and can be designed to fit your needs. SGI Canada and Got Toys Insurance are great options for insurance coverage on your snowmobile. If your snowmobile is purchased brand new from a dealer, you can purchase “Replacement Cost” coverage on the unit for the first 2 years.
These policies vary in price depending on: Drivers Claims Experience / Driving record, year, size of engine & value of snowmobile, coverage selected, deductible selected and liability limit selected. Please contact your broker to obtain a personalized quote.
“Now that I’m ready to ride, is there anything else I should know?”
As previously mentioned, snowmobile registration does not include any injury benefits with the registration. Typically this is covered under our “No Fault” insurance for our regular vehicles. However, they have excluded it under snowmobile registration and it is your responsibility to purchase injury/disability coverage on your own. Maybe your employer has coverage for you under your benefits package. Check with them to find out if their policy would cover your recreational activities outside of work.
Your snowmobile needs to be registered while operating on any crown land: Lakes, Rivers, Ponds, Roads, Ditches, Highways, etc. If you are unregistered and operate on any crown land, you can be fined for driving an unregistered vehicle AND if you cause an accident, you can be personally liable for ALL injuries and damages. Please make sure you are protecting yourself from these types of risks.
“What type of gear and safety measures should I be aware of?”
With our cold weather, it is important to wear multiple layers of clothing to keep yourself warm. There are different types of layering material that will benefit you. Many brands like “FXR” or “KLIM” will have a great selection of under layers, jackets, pants, boots, balaclavas and gloves to make sure you’re warm no matter what the weather. A good helmet is also important. Always carrying some food and an additional jerry can of fuel and matches is important to make sure you will be able to stay warm if you get stranded. Your phone may not always work in the areas you are riding, so make sure people are expecting you and know the route you are coming from. It is always best to be prepared and think ahead.
With that all being said, it is important to ride safe and enjoy the rest of the winter. I mean, it’s not going to last forever…..we hope. Have fun & take care!