Difference between ATV and UTV
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What is the difference between an ATV and UTV?

difference between atv and utv

ATVs and UTVs are different vehicles. They serve different purposes, and have different insurance needs.

What is an ATV?

At its simplest, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is defined as a vehicle with the following: a straddle seating position, handlebar steering, and the ability to maneuver through a variety of terrain conditions. While there are a variety of ATV customizations and modifications available, at their base all ATVs share those three features.

Wheels and Tires

ATVs have either three or four wheels. Tires are kept at a lower pressure than standard car or UTV tires.

Steering

The operator can steer the ATV by using handlebars.

Seating and passenger capacity

On an ATV, the operator is seated in a straddle position. ATVs are normally built for just one rider, some are made to carry the operator and one passenger.

Speed and handling

ATVs are not “one-size-fits-all” and should be sized appropriately for the operator.

When operated safely and correctly, ATVs offer a quick and nimble means of transportation over a variety of terrain.

Braking and acceleration

The majority of stock ATVs come with a thumb throttle. Pressing the throttle with the thumb controls acceleration. It is possible to modify an ATV to use a twist throttle, which allows the operator to control the vehicle’s acceleration by twisting the ATV’s handle.

Given the unpredictable nature of the terrain ATVs cover, twist throttles can make it difficult and dangerous to control the vehicle. For example, if a rider leans forward and unknowingly twists the throttle while going downhill, the vehicle may unexpectedly pick up speed. This can easily cause the rider to be thrown forward off of the vehicle, and the vehicle may roll and fall on the rider.

To brake, operators can use either the brake handle or the foot pedal, depending on what type of ATV they are operating.

Safety equipment

ATVs often do not come with safety equipment as part of the vehicle. Some do have “roll bars”—strong steel pipes that form a cage-like structure around the operator to provide protection if the vehicle rolls.

ATV operators should strongly consider wearing protective clothing, boots, and gloves—and should always wear a helmet.

Cabin

ATVs are open and do not have a cabin. However, as mentioned above, some do have roll bars.

Uses

As a quick means of transportation over rough ground, ATVs are a valuable tool. However, they are mainly used for recreation, like racing or trail riding.

Cost

Compared to UTVs, an ATV is a much more budget friendly option. When planning their purchase, potential buyers should make sure to account for the additional costs of safety gear and insurance.

ATV insurance needs

While ATVs can be used safely, accidents happen. And when they do, being on the back of a powerful vehicle without seatbelts isn’t the safest place to be. That’s why you should always make sure you’re properly protected—first with gear, and then with insurance.

Medical coverage is an important option to consider for ATVs, which lack many of the safety features of UTVs. Nationwide offers this and other ATV insurance options.

What is a UTV?

Utility Terrain Vehicles, or UTVs, are built and used more for work than recreation. They are large, powerful, able to seat passengers side by side, and built with lots of storage space. They’re commonly used to haul equipment and supplies in locations that make using a truck impractical or impossible.

Wheels and Tires

Like a car, UTVs have a standard wheel base (four wheels). However, they can have more wheels for specialized purposes.

Steering

Again, the UTV handles more like a car than an ATV, and is steered via a steering wheel.

Seating and passenger capacity

Normally, between two and four passengers can ride safely in a UTV. Passengers sit side by side, which has earned the vehicle the nickname “side-by-side”. You may also see the UTV referred to as a SxS, again referencing the seating arrangement.

Speed and handling

UTVs are faster and more powerful than ATVs, but not as nimble. Their max speed is generally between 25 mph and 50 mph.

Braking and acceleration

Both braking and acceleration on a UTV are controlled by foot pedals.

Safety equipment

With occupant restraints (seatbelts) considered standard, and the option to add a windshield and roll bars, UTVs tend to have more safety features than ATVs do.

Cabin

It’s not unusual for UTVs to have a cabin. Oftentimes it’s similar to the roof on a golf cart, but fully enclosed cabins are available.

Uses

UTVs have a lot of storage space. Most known for hauling feed, hay, and supplies on farms, they are becoming more popular within non-agricultural communities. They’re not uncommon at schools, where they’re used to transport water jugs, sports equipment and occasionally, athletes.

The many available modifications for UTVs are making the vehicle a popular choice for transporting equipment in many industries.

Cost

The customizability and versatility that make a UTV appealing comes at a price. UTVs tend to be more expensive than ATVs, especially after they’ve been modified.

UTV insurance needs

UTVs are covered by ATV polices, but like the vehicle itself, the policy often needs to be adjusted to do exactly what it’s supposed to. Since UTVs are often modified in order to perform a certain job, adequate comprehensive insurance that covers damage to the vehicle and its modifications can be a valuable tool to quickly return a UTV to proper working order. Nationwide agents are happy to discuss UTV insurance options that best set you and your vehicle up for success.

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