Canadian Underwriter

Where Intact will stop insuring dune buggies and some snowmobiles

September 9, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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Clients with dune buggies or with snowmobiles that carry more than two people will no longer be able to get those vehicles insured by Intact starting next year in Nova Scotia.

Intact considers dune buggies as “too risky,” wrote Jennifer Nicholson, a members of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review board, in a decision released this past Friday.

Intact is also adding snowmobiles designed to carry more than two people (more than one driver and one passenger) to the list of risks the insurer will not write, Nicholson wrote.

“As with dune buggies, the additional risk of more than one passenger is too great,” Nicholson wrote of Intact’s decision to stop insuring snowmobiles that carry three or more.

“I think it’s a smart move on the part of Intact,” said Brian Patterson, CEO of the Ontario Safety League, in an interview Monday.

“The need for speed with some people on those things, the reckless choices they make and the lack of skills – the injuries are significant,” said Patterson. “You can have an unskilled driver, you can have a young driver who is not capable of assessing risk and often on unregulated property.”

In its recent ruling, NSURB supported changes proposed by Intact – and some of its sister companies – to its auto risk classification system in Nova Scotia.

Those changes take effect Jan. 1, 2020 for new business and Feb. 1 for renewal business.

Patterson offered several reasons why insurers are cautious about off-road vehicles.

If a snowmobile with three riders (including the driver) flips, this can put the weight of the vehicle on three people including children, Patterson pointed out.

Injuries from dune buggy and snowmobile accidents sometimes include broken pelvises and severe back injuries, added Patterson.

Nova Scotia law puts dune buggies and snowmobiles in the category of off-highway vehicles – a category that also includes dirt bikes, off-road motorcycles and min-bikes.

If your client in Nova Scotia has such vehicles, they normally need $500,000 in liability insurance but there are exceptions – such as one those who ride such vehicles on property they own or occupy.

Children can drive those vehicles but those 14 and younger – if driving a snowmobile – must take a safety training course, be under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian and must only be operating the vehicle on private land or a designated trail.

“On many snowmobile trails, the conditions change within an hour,” said Patterson. “You could have gone north on it and coming south, it’s debris-strewn. These are high-risk activities and people have to treat them accordingly.”

In its Sept. 6 decision, NSURB noted that Intact will stop insuring trailers and camper units if they are valued at more than $80,000, are in excess of 40 feet in length and are not written in conjunction with a new or existing automobile policy.

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4 Comments » for Where Intact will stop insuring dune buggies and some snowmobiles
  1. Dave says:

    I have recently purchased a ” dune buggy ” which has also had a complete safety inspection as would any other vehicle on the road does. I then found that after recieveing a quote from haggerty insurance on line that they told me after my purchase that they would not insure it in canada but only in the U.S . Despite my disappointment I ventured to find insurance through any of the other companies that I presently delt with as well as more . I found it absolutely ridiculous that not one company would insure a dune buggy because it was “unsafe” even though it passed the same safety inspection as any other vehicle on the road. It is not anywhere near a high performance vehicle with a 4 cylinder 90 hp engine, nor is it even capable of offroading as it would be stuck in seconds. It has a roll bar and an aftermarket fiberglass body that sits on a VW chassis. Yet, they will insure any hot rod that doesn consist of anty orignal mfg parts, a jeep tgat has no doors,roof and I could actually fall out of with out a seatbelt latched and to top it all off they have no problem with a 2 wheel motorcycle which yes it falls over if you dont out your feet down ! The common sense factor has completey exited insurance companies minds in this whole process. It is without a doubt THE most frustrating process I have ever had to deal with when it comes to insurance companies and that takes alot !! I woukd like to see the evidence of dunebuggy tragedies verses motorcycles, corvettes, kit cars, cobras, jeeps, and even bicycles!! A dunebuggy isnt an offroad vehicle. If you think so then you’ve been watching too many old movies and have never seen or driven one. A sandrail isn’t the same as a dunebuggy.

  2. I agree with Dave, I have a 1958 Volkswagen Authenticated Meyers Manx Dune Buggy, that has been in the family for over 50 years. It’s show car quality and certainly doesn’t go off road, or even driven on a gravel road.

    #INAC has been insuring this car for as long as I can remember, and I have been driving it since I was 16, my first car, 46 years ago. INAC requested an appraisal since my renewal is the end of this month. I provided the appraisal at an expense of $150.00 Canadian (hard earned) dollars and I get a “Notice of non-renewal” in the mail! Nice customer loyalty program @INTAC….

    I have called around and so far, no luck with any of the classic car insurance companies. #Facility Association is not an option when the rate is 14 times the amount I paid, this year! Yeah, that’s right, 14 time… highway robbery… and they want you to submit a binding application!!!!!!

    So, thanks to the Insurance Companies of Ontario/Canada, I have a car that has thousands of dollars and time invested, that will sit in my garage. Or sell, but who will buy a car, they can’t insure to drive? Any Lawyers out there that want to help us out?

    • Jeff says:

      Any further developments on this topic? I’m thinking of buying a dune buggy but so far I’ve been turned down from my broker who uses Hagerty. They are continuing to look for an underwriter.

  3. John says:

    Anyone find a solution to this?
    I also purchased a dune buggy after getting an online quote from Hagerty (which has a “dune buggy” category under VW Beetle) and then discovered that they no longer insure them.
    (not knocking Hagerty. Those people are AWESOME!)

    I now find myself stuck with a several thousand dollar decoration in my garage. 🙁

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