ATV/UTV buying guide

Adventure 6 min read

Finally getting around to buying that powersports vehicle you’ve always wanted? Not sure where to start? Lucky for you, we put together a full guide on buying ATVs and UTVs, including cost, insurance, financing, and more so you can feel confident about your next purchase!

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know before you start scanning the classified ads or hitting the showroom floor for your new vehicle.

Do you know if you want an ATV or UTV?   

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) offer an efficient way to get around outdoors and are great for solo riding, off-road trails, and making quick turns.

Utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), also called side-by-sides (SXS), are built and used more for specialized work than for recreation. UTVs are large and powerful vehicles that seat passengers side by side, and they’re typically built with lots of storage space.

Learn more about the difference between ATVs and UTVs here.

To start this guide to buying ATVs and UTVs, there are some things you need to consider before you dive into the buying process.

  1. Type/Use—What do you need? What are you using it for? Are you looking for an ATV for racing and solo riding or do you need a UTV for more specialized work like hauling things?
  2. Budget—What is your budget? ATVs and UTVs can cost anywhere from $1,000 to upwards of $30,000 depending on what you’re looking for and what features you add.
  3. Condition—What condition is the vehicle in? New ATVs and UTVs should be in perfect condition, but if you’re buying used, you can run into some hidden problems. Be sure that the previous owners kept up on maintenance and servicing, as you want to make sure you’re making a purchase that is drivable and worth the money.
  4. Features—Does the vehicle have all the features you’re looking for? Does it have headlights? Roll bars? If not, can you add them? Check out Rollick’s ATV Accessories Guide to see what you might want. Ask yourself if you prefer to ride a certain way. Keep in mind that UTVs ride more like cars with regular seating and a steering wheel, while ATVs ride like bikes with handlebars. If you’re investing in a powersports vehicle, make sure it has everything you’re looking for!

Pro tip: You should also consider your riding experience when you’re looking into buying an ATV/UTV, so you aren’t going above and beyond your skill level.

ATV/UTV buying guide: New vs. used

Other than deciding on the type of vehicle you want (ATV or UTV), you also have to decide on whether you want a new or used ATV/UTV.

Of course, ATVs and UTVs are at their best and in best condition when brand new, but for some enthusiasts or hobbyists, buying a used one may be the best route, and that’s a decision you have to make.

If you’re new to ATV or UTV riding, the safest thing to do is to buy a new one for practical and safety reasons, as used ones have been utilized by their past owners and have the usual wear and tear.

Pros and cons of buying new vs. used

  • Used ATVs and UTVs might cost you more in repairs as you ride, while newer ones won’t have near as much upkeep.
  • New ATVs and UTVs cost more than buying used. See cost and incentives below.  
  • New ATVs and UTVs come with a warranty.       
  • Used ATVs and UTVs offer more room for negotiation in price.

ATV/UTV buying guide: How to find financing

So, you’re ready to buy your brand-new ATV/UTV, but how do you find financing?

The right ATV/UTV loan could help you finance your new vehicle in a responsible way, so you don’t have to wait until you have the entire purchase price saved up. However, before you do borrow money, it’s important to make sure you compare loan options and read the fine print, so you know just what you’re getting into and what you’ll owe.

You can typically find loan terms from one year up to six years, where you pay off the cost of your ATV/UTV in monthly installments, plus interest and any fees.

  • Dealers and retailers—Some dealers and retailers also offer special loans or credit cards that you can use to finance your ATV or UTV. These options are typically based on the manufacturer you buy from and special promotions they have in place. Retailer financing is most convenient to use when you apply for financing at the dealership, and you may even be able to get 0 percent APR for a limited time.
  • Banks and credit unions—Banks and credit unions offer conventional ATV loans for fixed periods of time, typically between three to six years, with fixed annual percentage rates. The APR ultimately depends on your credit score, the loan term, ATV/UTV cost, and the organization financing the loan.

So, here’s how you can calculate the monthly rate for an ATV or UTV:

  1. Take the total cost of the vehicle.
  2. Calculate the monthly fixed-interest rate. (There are loan calculators that can help you crunch the numbers for this. Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate on your purchase.)
  3. Finally, divide those totals by the number of months you wish to finance, and you have your monthly rate.

More questions? Check out Rollick’s Definitive Guide to Motorcycle, ATV, UTV, and RV Financing.

Pro tip: While an ATV loan could help you get the ATV you want within a matter of days, you may be making payments for years. Make sure you understand how your loan works and exactly what you can afford before you commit.

ATV/UTV buying guide: Cost and incentives

There are thousands of ATVs and UTVs made by different manufacturers. You can buy large (or small) fully-loaded ATVs and UTVs with all the bells and whistles, and you can also buy very basic models with fewer upgrades and a more compact design.

Of course, the price varies depending on what you are looking for, as well as whether you buy new or used. Nonetheless, ATVs and UTVs can run you anywhere from $1,000 to upwards of $30,000.

To help with the cost, you can often find incentives on manufacturer’s websites. Customer incentives typically include things like cash back rebates, low interest financing offers, and other perks. The goal of these offers is to make buying these vehicles more affordable, and they vary depending on your region or dealership. For example, sometimes manufacturers offer customer incentives on models that aren’t selling well in one particular region or state.

Remember to shop around for incentives so you can get what you want for the price you can afford. What might be offered as an incentive at the dealership in your town might not be the same as the one in the next town over.

ATV/UTV buying guide: Licensing and insurance

Proper licensing and insurance are a must before driving a new ATV or UTV.

Age restrictions and licensing for ATV and UTV usage vary by state. Some states allow people of any age to drive ATVs, while other states require you to drive under the supervision of a parent or guardian. Some states restrict ATV use to people 16 or 18 years of age and older. For more information on age restrictions and special licensing for operating vehicles, click here.

ATVs and UTVs can be dangerous to riders and those around them if you aren’t careful, and it can be expensive to repair if the vehicle is damaged. That’s why as a new owner, it’s important to consider purchasing ATV insurance for your off-road vehicles. In fact, if you want to ride in some places, such as state parks, basic ATV insurance is required by law.

Most insurance companies cover ATVs under their motorcycle insurance policies, but rates are generally lower for off-road vehicles.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that if your vehicle is referred to as a UTV, utility vehicle, or side-by-side, it is likely considered an ATV when searching for insurance.

What ATV insurance covers:

  • Bodily Injury Liability—Pays for damages associated with any other parties injured or killed in an accident associated with your ATV/UTV or off-road vehicle (even if you aren’t driving it).
  • Property Damage Liability—Pays for the cost of any damage an ATV or UTV driver might cause to another person’s property, including their vehicle, home, or yard.
  • Medical Payments (optional)—Pays for any medical expenses sustained by those riding your ATV or UTV. It covers things like surgeries, X-rays, a hospital stay, and even transportation via ambulance.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (optional)—In the event you or someone riding your ATV or UTV are injured by someone who doesn’t have insurance, or not enough of it, these coverages pay for your expenses; however, there are claim limits.
  • Collision (optional)—Pays to repair any damages to your ATV or UTV caused by a collision with another vehicle or if it overturns.
  • Comprehensive (optional)—Pays for damages to an ATV/UTV that are not caused by a collision with another vehicle, like theft, vandalism, etc.

ATV/UTV buying guide: General buying tips

  • Do your research.
  • Look for manufacture and dealer offers or incentives.
  • Check monthly finance rates from dealers and lenders.
  • Find the vehicle you want and get a price before you head to the dealership. The Progressive Outdoor Vehicle Buying Program is a great place to get started.
  • Don’t forget insurance.
  • If it’s used, do an inspection, so you know what you’re buying.
  • Make sure you have the proper licensing.

Well, that covers what you need to know about buying ATVs and UTVs. Regardless of whether you’re looking for an ATV for fun, solo riding on the trails or a UTV for specialized work around the farm, remember to do your research and look for manufacturer incentives, insurance, and financing, so you can feel great about your purchase. Ride safe and have fun!

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