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Snowmobile Theft: What Can Insurance Do?

Jan 29, 2023 9:53:00 AM

Over the Christmas break, some family friends of ours had their snowmobiles stolen right off their flatbed trailer. It was on relatively well lit street, the snowmobiles were tied down and didn't have the keys in them, and they weren't in a seedy area where you might expect something like this. Despite all of this, they still had their snowmobiles stolen in the early hours of boxing day. 

They had planned to take their friends out on the trails for some winter fun. Unfortunately for them, they were left filing police reports and breaking the bad news to their friends and family. 

Stories like these are becoming more and more common. An increased number of stolen vehicles (including snowmobiles) has been felt across the province. Calgary alone has seen nearly a 25% increase in vehicle theft from 2021 to 2022. With theft on the mind, we wanted to provide some information on what insurance can cover in the event of a theft (of a snowmobile). 

Snowmobile Theft (1)

Liability Insurance Only

Liability is the base amount of coverage you need for a snowmobile in order to operate it on public land. If you want to drive your snowmobile on private property only, you do not need insurance. However, the moment your snowmobile touches public property, you need at very least liability coverage. 

But the real meat of the potato question is: What happens if your snowmobile is stolen and you only have liability coverage? Unfortunately,  you there isn't much your insurance can do. You will need to file a report with the police and hopefully they will be able to recover your snowmobile. Unfortunately, your insurance will not have any replacement coverage available.

Comprehensive Insurance

If you have comprehensive insurance on your snowmobile policy, you will have significantly more options in the event of a theft. The first step will almost always be the same, contact the police immediately and report the theft. Get them the make, model, and license plate number, as well as any other relevant information, such as the location where it was last seen or any identifying characteristics (decal, paint job, accessories).

Once you've filed a police report, contact your insurance's claims department and open a claim. They will walk you through the claims process and advise you of what kind of coverage you have on your policy. Depending on your provider and coverage, your insurance may cover the both the replacement cost of the snowmobile and/or the replacement cost of the snowmobile accessories. Unlike auto insurance, theft of a snowmobile will not get you a rental in the meantime. 

Limited Waiver of depreciation

This is probably the most insurance-y part of this, but a limited waiver of depreciation can be added onto a policy of a new snowmobile. This is an add on to a policy for new snowmobiles that can grant you full replacement cost of what you paid for your snowmobile in the event of a total loss. What does that mean? If you buy a brand new snowmobile and for one reason or another your snowmobile has a total loss (fire, theft, etc.) you would be granted the entire purchase price of the snowmobile for your policy.


You know how they say a vehicle loses a ton of value the second you drive it off the lot? The same thing applies for most motorized vehicles. So let's say you hypothetically purchase a new snowmobile for $30,000 brand new. Within the first year your snowmobile depreciates to $21,000. If you were to have a total loss without the limited waiver of depreciation, you would only be compensated $21,000. Naturally, if you had the waiver, you would have the full $30,000 replacement cost. Note that snowmobiles have a 24 month period where a limited waiver of depreciation is applicable. 


Ensuring your snowmobile has adequate coverage given the replacement value and attached equipment is incredibly important. If you're looking to make sure you have the right coverage, contact one of the brokers at Armour Insurance today. 

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Jake McCoy

Written by Jake McCoy


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