Acing insurance coverage for golf carts
Golf carts are not just for golfing. In Florida’s numerous retirement communities, a golf cart is the family car. The type of insurance you get for it depends on how speedy the golf cart is, where it travels and how proactive you are about protecting your assets.
Most insurance companies provide coverage for golf carts in one of these ways:
- As part of the homeowner’s insurance policy or as a special endorsement to it,
- Under an automobile insurance policy, or
- Through a separate recreational motor vehicle policy.
The distinction in insurance coverage depends on speed and, typically, the speed determines where golf cart owners drive. If the golf cart goes no faster than 20 miles per hour, it often stays on the golf course and does not have to be licensed. If the cart zips along at more than 20 mph, people in retirement communities tend to use it for more than recreation, such as trips to the corner grocery store. If that’s the case, it’s considered a “motor vehicle”—and that requires certain types of insurance coverage. These “low-speed vehicles” are also considered motor vehicles under federal law. They must carry Florida’s minimum no-fault auto insurance coverage. Low-speed vehicles are allowed on certain roadways where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less.
This summer, a new law was passed enabling people with low-speed golf carts to go even slower by converting them mechanically to golf cart status. That means owners are no longer required to register or insure them as vehicles. But golf cart owners still need proper coverage. You want to be both on the safe side and on the smart side, so talk to your insurance professional about what kind of coverage you need.
The whole point of insurance is to protect you and your assets. Ask about bodily injury liability, uninsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage.
Owners of golf carts are still responsible for damages, even if they let someone else drive. There is a Florida court ruling that labeled golf carts “dangerous instruments” because they can cause injuries identical to those caused by other moving vehicles.
Mark Twain said it’s not good sportsmanship to pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling. Good sports can also be wise about the risks that are par for the course—of the game and of life.