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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Protecting Your Winter Toys

winter toys.

Does your pulse race at the first forecast of freezing temperatures, powder snow, and brilliant winter sunshine? If so, then it’s important to know that whether you’re an enthusiastic backwoods snowmobiler or a first-time skier getting ready to hit the bunny slope, properly protecting your winter toys can greatly increase the amount of enjoyment you’ll get from them. The following tips can help you not only increase your personal safety, but also the chance your equipment will make it through the winter unscathed:

1. Learn proper use. Many people assume that the best way to learn how to ski, snowboard, or even snowmobile is to just hop on and go for a ride. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong. Reporting shows that in cold states like Michigan, off-road injuries and fatalities due to snowmobiling rose dramatically in 2016. So learning how to properly snowboard down a mountainside, ride your snowmobile, or operate your ATV isn’t just an investment in your own safety; it’s also a great way to protect your equipment from costly damage. Remember: Snow and ice might be fun, but winter conditions demand our respect, especially when it comes to things like safe speeds and stopping distances.

2. Conduct regular maintenance. Wear and tear occurs naturally when you use your toys, so maintenance and repair are critical to keeping them in top operating shape. If you’re not mechanically inclined, it’s advisable to have a professional tune up your winter toys. Additionally, in ski areas, there are plenty of ski and pro shops where you can have your skis or snowboard checked to ensure they’re in excellent condition.

3. Transport your equipment properly. If you’re transporting a snowmobile or ATV, make sure before each trip that your trailer is in good shape. This includes checking that hitches, tires, brakes, and all lights are functioning properly. Also, after hitching the trailer to your vehicle, make sure your mirrors are placed correctly so you have good visibility, and check that your snowmobile or ATV is secured properly with strong straps and/or chains. If you’re transporting skis or snowboards, you’ll need a sturdy, properly installed roof rack. Put your toys in a bag or case to protect them from dirt and debris, and make sure they’re fastened securely to the rack.

4. Ensure safe, clean, secure storage. The outdoor elements can be harsh, so storing your winter toys in a dry, well-protected space is key to preventing all sorts of corrosion and damage. It will also add a level of security at night or when your toys aren’t in plain sight. Additionally, before storing your snowmobile, skis, or other toys for the off-season, select a secured storage area where your — thoroughly cleaned —equipment can be covered and put away properly so it won’t be accidentally scratched or damaged.

5. Obtain adequate insurance. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your winter equipment is to have adequate insurance. To navigate those types of complexities you should contact your local insurance agent. Remember to always make sure you understand your policy, especially if you intend to have a passenger on your snowmobile or lend your equipment to a friend.

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