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Snowmobile Financing: What You Need to Know

snowmobilers-posing-in-deep-snow

If you’ve ever been on a snowmobile, you know how addictive it can be. Flying along the VAST trails or zipping around local fields is a great way to enjoy a weekend afternoon or let off steam after a hard day at work. Snowmobiles aren’t cheap, though, so it’s a hobby that most people need to finance. Financing is relatively simple, but there are a few things you should know as you consider how to finance your sled.

 

EDUCATE YOURSELF

Though it isn’t related to financing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention snowmobile safety and what is required in order to ride in Vermont.

  1. If you were born after July 1, 1983, you will need to pass a state snowmobile safety course before you ride.
  2. You will need a registered and insured snowmobile
  3. You will need to purchase a TMA (trail pass) from VAST. Part of the TMA purchase process will also require you to join a county and snowmobile club

You can visit the VAST website to learn more about state laws and regulations and to find an approved safety course.

 

GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A SNOWMOBILE LOAN

Before buying a snowmobile, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved. It will help you determine what you can afford and could reduce your financing costs. Shop around and compare interest rates, terms, and monthly payments to get the best deal. Many sites will offer calculators where you can enter the dollar amount you’d like to finance to calculate what interest rate you could expect, and what your monthly payment would be for different term lengths. Credit unions often have lower financing rates than other lenders, so make sure to check those out first!

I would suggest that you start by roughing out a budget to see what you can afford to pay each month. It shouldn’t take long and will ensure that you don’t take on a loan that will become a burden on your finances. Your lender can only see a portion of your financial obligations. You are the only one with the full picture, so take the time to review your finances and set a reasonable limit on how much you will spend.

 

OBTAIN INSURANCE

In Vermont, you either need liability insurance or a bond that is adequate to cover damage to the vehicle and the number of riders. You will want to shop around for and secure insurance before you purchase your snowmobile. You can find more information about insurance/bond requirements in this manual provided by the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.

 

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FIND THE RIGHT SLED

If you’re in the market for a new snowmobile, it’s important to find the one that meets all your needs, wants, and desires while staying within the price range you are pre-approved to borrow. Are you a newbie or a seasoned veteran of the trails? Will the sled be used on the trails, or is it a work sled or a sled to have around the yard? Do you need room for two? Do you need the latest and greatest technology? How important are things like gas mileage, noise, and emissions?

Many high-end sleds now have car-like accessories like heated seats, GPS, and connections for your phone. You’ll want to consider the size of the engine, the type of suspension, the capabilities of the track, and the features you want. With so many options available, you’ll want to go into the buying process with enough information to make an informed decision. Here is one article I found helpful, but make sure to do your research before you make this purchase. After all, snowmobiles aren’t cheap!

 

PULL YOUR DOCUMENTS TOGETHER

Once you’ve chosen a lender and have a sled in mind, it’s time to get your financial ducks in a row. Talk with your lender about the documentation needed for the final financing transaction. Proof of insurance is a must, but you may also need to provide proof of income, bank statements, or other documents to verify your creditworthiness. This will depend on your credit score and the financial institution you are working with. Doing your research and having all the necessary documents will ensure a smooth financing process.

 

MAKE THE PURCHASE

You’re nearly there! Now it’s time to finalize everything with your financial institution. You chose a snowmobile you could afford and you’ve pulled all of the relevant materials together. If you’re financing through your dealer, they will help you complete the process. If you’ve chosen to go with your financial institution, you have your paperwork to hand to the dealer. Either way, you can now sit down, sign the papers, and walk away with your new (or used) snowmobile. Congratulation!

 

REGISTER YOUR SLED

Depending on where you intend to go snowmobiling, you may need to register your sled. This guide will help you determine whether you need to register your snowmobile. It also contains a lot of great information for snowmobilers, so I encourage you to download it and read it thoroughly, whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned rider who hasn’t reviewed the rules in a while.

 

CONCLUSION

Every financial scenario is unique, and every institution varies in terms of what they offer. Do your due diligence and research what you are looking for in terms of financial needs so that you can make sure you are choosing the best option for you. Preparing yourself ahead of time and understanding the process from start to finish can be a major benefit and help you be one step ahead of the game. Knowing what to expect and what you can afford will help you to identify the most suitable option for your specific circumstances.

Love snowmobiling? Don’t miss our latest Greener Pastures podcast about snowmobiling with Hanna Morris and Steve Avery.

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Hanna Morris

About Hanna Morris

I am a passionate and proud mom of two incredible sons—a nine-year-old and a thirteen-month-old—and partner to an inspiring member of the military. When I’m not working, I’m savoring every moment with my family and two beloved dogs, exploring the great outdoors and embarking on unforgettable adventures like hiking, snowshoeing, or simply enjoying nature together. Before I joined VSECU, I had the honor of working as a Licensed Nursing Assistant. I’m thrilled to be part of the VSECU team, where I’m able to continue advocating for the well-being of others.

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