Do You Really Want a Snowmobile Trail On Your Property?

First of all, this post has nothing to do with the “local clubs” which are run by volunteers who like snowmobiling and work hard to make it available for others.  The local clubs, however, are under an umbrella organization called the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (“OFSC”), and that is where the insurance coverage is provided, and that is the topic of this post.

Landowners who are willing to accommodate a trail through their property are required to sign a “Land Use Agreement”.  From the landowner’s standpoint, the critical thing is know is what risk, if any, they are taking on, especially for something they don’t get paid for.

Many landowners, are shown that the OFSC provides liability coverage with limits of $15 million. That is accurate.  But it is important to drill down to see what is exactly there.  Policies often have “deductible’s” or “self insured retention”.  In other words, the insurance does not kick in until a certain amount.  If the “self insured retention” is $1 million, where does that leave the landowner?  Perhaps the OFSC has that first $1 million set aside, thus rendering this a non-issue?  But the landowners need to confirm this.

More importantly, is there a clear understanding of what exactly will happen when a claim is made by someone injured as a result of a snowmobile accident?

Invariably, when an injured party sues, his/her lawyer sues everyone, and in this case that would include the landowner.  Will the OFSC policy respond to claim as against the landowner?  Will the OFSC policy pay for the lawyer to defend?  Or does the landowner’s insurer have to become involved, which at minimum would trigger a deductible at the expense of the landowner?

Why should the landowner be put to any expense?

Even if one gets those assurances from the OFSC has its insurer confirmed those commitments?

Finally, has the landowner checked with his/her own insurer to make sure its coverage remains, or does the activity fall outside the scope of the landowner’s own insurance?

From my perspective, absolute clarity, disclosure and transparency is something that the OFSC should provide, along with binding commitments not just with the local club, but the OFSC itself and its insurer.



John Barzo
205-60 Collier Street,
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
L4M 1G8

#: 705-733-6245

Leave a Comment