Skip to main content

Manufacturers developed ATVs as off-roaders used mainly for recreational purposes. Some are geared toward experts, while others are good for beginners. Others can be used on job sites. And yet others were designed for farms and ranches. Built mainly for adults, ATVs now even come in sizes made for kids.

Because four-wheelers are motorized vehicles, the question of whether they should be registered often comes up. Here are some state laws.

Do states require an ATV to be titled or registered?

Registration is required in quite a few states. However, each has different regulations and rules for registering. Some states say you only need to worry about titling it and not registering it. A few require both a title and registration. A handful of them neither is necessary, reports.

In Georgia, if you use an ATV as an off-road vehicle only and do not operate it on any public road, you can get by without registering or insuring it. However, if you plan to use it on public roads, you will need to obtain registration through the state. 

If you’re in Washing, D.C., you won’t need registration for it because you’re not allowed to use it on any public lands there. Hawaii is much the same. You can’t use four-wheelers on public roadways or lands, but you can use them on private property. 

Other requirements some states have for ATVs

Not all states have the same requirements. However, some common rules are age restrictions, locations, and equipment needed while operating four-wheelers on public roads. 

When it comes to age, many states limit how old you can be to operate one. It varies with each state, though. Some say you can’t be under the age of 14 to drive one at all. Others say young kids should have safety equipment and adult supervision. 

Locations are another area where states differ on what they allow for ATV use. Some states say you can operate them only on trails, pathways, and places designed for motorized vehicles like four-wheelers. Some don’t allow you to drive one on public roadways but will let you cross one at a traffic light or stop sign. 

Certain places also require special equipment to use an ATV. For example, Nevada says the vehicle must have headlights and taillights when riding at night. It should also have a muffler, working brakes, and spark arrestors. 

Do four-wheelers need to be insured?


What You Should Know Before Buying an ATV

Many states do not require you to insure ATVs. But a few do. Those that say you need it require only liability insurance, and you must provide proof of it when you register your four-wheeler at the DMV. 

New York requires ATVs to be insured, and there’s a minimum coverage as well. Currently, the state requires $50,000/$100,000 for death, $25,000/$50,000 for injury, and $10,000 for property damage, LIRTC states. 

ATVs are fun and useful vehicles that can navigate some of the toughest terrains. But unlike automobiles, four-wheelers don’t always need to be registered with the state unless you live in one that requires it. So check the laws in your state to determine if you have to make a trip to the local DMV.