These days, you can find more golf carts on our public roads and campgrounds than on the golf course. They’ve become somewhat of a status symbol with trick paint jobs, speed modifications, chrome wheels, and leather seats.
If you own a golf cart, it’s a good idea to buy golf cart insurance – it may even be required by your HOA (Home Owner’s Association) or state law.
Whether or not you need insurance depends on your existing homeowners and/or auto policy, where you ride, and how you use your golf cart – like a riding mower, car or ATV. This guide will help you determine the type of golf cart insurance coverage you may need.
Basic golf cart usage is similar to driving a riding mower; it may be covered under your homeowner’s policy. A riding mower doesn’t have to be registered, you don’t need a license to drive it, and you only use it on the grass. If this also describes your golf cart, you can probably just add it to your homeowners insurance policy to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
Some insurance companies offer a golf cart endorsement on their homeowners policy. It provides protection from liability and physical damage to the cart, and may cover theft, vandalism and other costs. However, this extension can vary widely from company to company.
Specialty or modified golf carts can reach speeds of 20-35mph and can be driven on public roads with lower speed limits. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), these golf carts are classified as motor vehicles in 46 states and are regulated as such. Some of these classifications include:
- SMV – Slow Moving Vehicle
- LSV – Low Speed Vehicle
- MSV – Medium Speed Vehicle
- NEV – Neighborhood Electric Vehicle
Most if not all states in which they are legal require them to be insured, registered and operated only by licensed drivers.
A lot of families purchase a permanent or seasonal campground site and spend part or all of their summer enjoying off-the-grid living next to a campfire. Most campgrounds allow golf carts, and many even have a dealership with sales and service on site.
Again, there is no steadfast rule here. More often than not, your existing homeowners and/or auto policy does not automatically extend coverage to your golf cart.
The cost to insure tricked-out golf carts is often an unwelcome surprise to new owners. Be sure to consult with your insurance agent before you buy.