What is the Difference Between an ATV and a UTV?

You may be familiar with ATVs (“All-Terrain Vehicles”) and UTVs (“Utility-Terrain Vehicles,” sometimes also called “Utility-Task Vehicles” and “Side-by-Sides”).  While they may look somewhat similar, there are some key differences between them. The major difference between an ATV and a UTV is their build and the applications they are designed for. Whereas ATVs are typically used for off-roading and trail riding, UTV’s are geared more towards hauling or transporting materials. Whatever your preference, the Cross Insurance team can help you find quality insurance options for your ATV or UTV at a competitive price. Continue reading below for some additional information about differences between ATVs and UTVs.

utv stopped on a mountainous new england trail


As mentioned above, there are some simple differences between ATVs and UTVs, such as how they may look or may typically be used. While the differences between an ATV and a UTV can vary a bit depending on the specific brands and models at issue, the following characteristics may typically be found when comparing both ATVs and UTVs.

  • Seating

While ATVs are usually designed and intended for single rider use, UTVs are typically made for at least two riders. Some models include options to have a total of four seats.

  • Steering

UTVs are designed like your typical vehicles and use steering wheels to drive, whereas ATV riders use handlebars to operate their machine.

  • Structure

UTVs are designed with enclosed cabins, and “roll cages” or bars are usually used for safety. In comparison, ATVs are commonly designed with open cabins, although there are usually aftermarket options available to add an enclosure to your ATV.

  • Speed

The speed of your ATV or UTV heavily relies on the manufacturer and model that is being used. With that said, as UTVs are generally larger and heavier, they tend to be slower when it comes to speed.

  • Uses

The intended use of ATVs and UTVs is where some of the major differences lie. ATVs are typically designed for recreational use, including trail riding and leisure. In comparison, UTVs are designed more for work and labor. UTVs typically have more cabin and storage space, as well as hauling ability, which make them a common choice for work activities.

  • Pricing

The difference between ATV and UTV costs is directly reflected by the year, make, and model that you are looking to buy. But if you look at a stock version of both an ATV and UTV, an ATV is typically less expensive, as UTVs usually include additional safety features and more of an opportunity to customize your ride.

Insurance for Your ATV or UTV

When looking for an insurance policy for your ATV or UTV, they both will typically be covered under an ATV policy.  As with other types of insurance policies, you should keep your intended application and usage in mind when evaluating and comparing different coverage options so that you can make an informed decision about which policy to select.

group of utvs on a wildreness trail

What Coverages Should my ATV or UTV Have?

As an owner of an ATV or UTV, knowing your policy and its details is important. To understand your policy and exactly what is and isn’t covered, you should carefully read your entire policy. Your agent may also help answer certain questions that you may have, so you should not hesitate to reach out to them for assistance. The following are just a few non-exhaustive examples of what may not be covered:

  • ATV Insurance generally won’t cover loss or damage while you are using your ATV for racing, instead of the intended purposed of recreational use.
  • Insurance for your ATV will also typically not provide coverage for loss or damage if you ride on highways or undesignated roads.

Is an ATV or UTV Right for You?

While ATVs are designed for recreational use and UTVs are typically designed for utility and leisure, deciding which machine fits best for you comes down to your desired use and comfort level of operating it.

Where to Ride Your ATV or UTV

Just as many of the Cross Insurance branches can be found in the Northeast, so can some of the country’s best ATV and UTV trails. Before exploring, make sure to check out your Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont trail lists and rules to follow to prepare for your time out riding.

pair of atvs parked overlooking a mountainous area

Request a Quote for Your ATV or UTV

If you are looking to get an insurance quote for your ATV or UTV, reach out to our office today. We work with over 100 insurance carriers, which means we can find options for your off-road ride. You can request a quote from us today by filling out our form here, or giving us a call.



This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Cross Insurance shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, insurance, accounting or other professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article are that of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of Cross Financial Corp. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Cross Insurance”) or Cross Insurance’s management or shareholders.


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