Golf Cart Insurance Basics

Golf Cart Insurance Basics

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Many people use golf carts for more than getting around the links. These compact vehicles can also help you move through your own property, neighborhood or even city. But because of the additional risks, you may need to purchase insurance for your golf cart.

Who needs golf cart insurance?

Here's a quick rule of thumb: If you own a golf cart, you should consider purchasing golf cart insurance. It depends on how you use the cart.

For example, if you only drive your golf cart while playing at a course, you won't need insurance. But if you use the golf cart beyond the course, then you likely need a policy. From 1990 to 2006, there were nearly 148,000 golf cart injuries across the U.S. — and they were a direct result of the expanded use of golf carts.

Even the most comprehensive auto insurance policies will not cover a golf cart or anyone injured while it is operated. Homeowners insurance is also unlikely to cover a golf cart or any injuries associated with it, especially while it is operated.

No matter what kind of golf cart you own or where you drive it, you should consider getting a separate insurance policy for this special type of vehicle. Some states even require it.

What does golf cart insurance cover?

Golf cart insurance is similar to auto or motorcycle insurance. In fact, almost all insurance companies cover golf carts under their motorcycle insurance policy along with scooters, mopeds, ATVs and other vehicles. Like motorcycles, a variety of different coverages are available for golf carts.

Bodily injury and property damage liability: In states that require golf cart owners to have insurance, this type of coverage is mandatory. It covers injuries to others and damage to their property after an accident.

If your claim limits are "$25,000/$50,000/$10,000," for example, then your policy covers injuries up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, plus $10,000 for property damage.

Guest passenger liability: This coverage provides a claim limit specifically for passengers injured in an accident. It is a coverage unique to golf carts, motorcycles and other vehicles covered under motorcycle insurance policies.

Medical payments coverage (optional): This coverage is optional and pays for medical bills incurred by the golf cart driver or passengers after an accident. This coverage applies regardless of fault.

Uninsured/underinsured motorists (optional): If you're hit by someone who doesn't have enough coverage or lacks a policy altogether, then UM/UIM covers your own injuries and property damage.

For example, UM/UIM coverage applies to medical treatments, lost wages and other damages a policyholder might be subject to as a result of other party's lack of adequate insurance.

Collision and comprehensive (optional): This type of coverage pays to repair your own golf cart after a covered incident.

For example, if your golf cart is destroyed in a fire, vandalized, stolen or damaged in a storm, comprehensive coverage would cover those perils.

Golf cart insurance cost

Even though golf carts are typically covered under motorcycle insurance policies, they are generally less expensive to insure.

For example, Progressive's policy costs as low as $75 a year when the golf cart is used exclusively off-road, while a more comprehensive policy costs $405 per year. The company does not offer policies for golf carts driven on public roadways. For comparison, the average cost of motorcycle insurance in the U.S. is $519.

The cost to insure golf carts and other similar vehicles can reportedly be as much as $600 to $1,000 per year in some areas. In some Florida retirement communities, where many residents take golf carts on public roads that can reach 25 mph, the cost of premiums is significantly higher, according to CNBC.

Like insurance for all other vehicles, the cost of golf cart insurance depends on several factors. Fortunately for golf cart owners, the vehicles are not typically driven on the road and have speed inhibitors. These factors reduce the insurer's risk and, consequently, the policyholder's cost.

Shopping for golf cart insurance

Golf cart owners can shop for coverage the same way they would any other insurance policy. Begin by gathering and comparing quotes and coverages online.

For owners who drive their golf cart on public roadways, shopping for insurance might not be as easy as submitting basic information online. Some carriers might require an owner to call and speak to an agent about their golf cart. Others, like Progressive, might not insure golf carts driven on public roadways at all. In this case, there are a number of specialty insurance companies that can serve their needs.

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