Golf Cart Insurance: Do I need it and how much is it going to cost?

Well, you’ve found a golf cart you like, found the color you want and added a few niceties. That racing stripe is a bit unusual, but that ball washer is certainly a great idea.

And then it hits you. What about insurance?

Oh, yes, you knew that miserable question would come up. And now it has.

Well, the first thing you will need to know is whether or not your state or your residential enclave – your homeowner’s association, that is – requires you to have it.

There are 50 states last time we checked, so it is cumbersome to check each one and tell you which states require insuring your cart or not, but a call to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles should get that question cleared up in short order.

Side Note: Check out your State’s golf cart laws here

Your homeowner’s association is another matter. There are untold numbers of homeowner’s associations many of which limit residents to using a golf cart on their property. These golf cart havens are abuzz with golf carts darting from house to house or to do local shopping or take residents to the designated parking lots. While these are mostly retirement communities and civility and decorum are high on the list of possibilities, the words “havoc” and “potential train wreck” still leap to mind. As such, to keep the peace many residential communities that rely on golf cart transport also insist that cart owners carry liability insurance and they often set minimums for how much they recommend you carry.

Further, it is possible your homeowner’s association has its own policy that means residents can pool together for a group rate. Your homeowner’s association is mostly likely well ahead of the game in informing you about that option.

This brings us quickly to the first question your insurance agent will ask about your golf cart, which would be “What do you plan to use the golf cart for?”

Here are the critical differences: If you use the cart on your own property alone, then the golf cart could be placed under your homeowner’s insurance, just like a riding lawn mower. You don’t need a special insurance policy for that, but a quick call to your insurance company could clear up that question quickly.

On the other hand, you might have a cart that’s intended use is for your residential community, which would usually be a gated homeowner’s association. If this is the case, your insurance agent will want to know if you have a speed-modified cart or not? They will want to know if it has safety features, like a horn or seat belts. This would put your cart under the category of either your automobile insurance or in what is termed a “low speed vehicle” category, an LSV.

Shopping around for golf cart insurance, as I did for an exercise, was a lesson in common sense more than anything else. About half the states mandate your golf cart insurance policy be added to your auto insurance. These would be Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

By process of elimination, that means the other states allow you to attach your golf cart insurance to a motorcycle insurance policy.

This means, coming from New York, I could only walk through the paces in this type of state. And, sure enough, the standard insurance-type questions arise, including whether or not I had been guilty of a moving violation in the past three years.

Do I have to answer that here? Well, I guess I just did. I have one speeding ticket – and I was in the middle of nowhere … but I’ll pocket that sob story for now.

The company also wanted to know the year, the make, the model, whether the golf cart I intended to buy had anti-theft features and whether or not I had a modified speed enhancer – such as nitrous oxide. I always thought that was reserved for “Fast and Furious” movies. Well, you learn something new every day.

Had I taken a driving safety course recently? (No.) Was it an historical vehicle of some kind? (No.) How long have I been driving? (Forever.) Did I want additional drivers to be insured? (No.) Was I male or female? (Yes.)

What I was aiming for was the ability to tell our readers what to expect in terms of costs of insurance, so I picked a hypothetical cart and rang up the options based on my record. I answered each question above and then I said I was about to buy a pricey, top-end, brand new cart with no added features of any kind.

At this point the other standard question arose: How big a deductible was I willing to pay?

The options for that included deductibles as low as $100 and as high as $1,000 and I ended up with a range of costs that went from $325 per year for a $100 deductible to $177 per year for a $1,000 deductible.

Of course, options also exist for how much coverage you want or whether or not you opt for comprehensive insurance, which actually sounded like the best deal. Furthermore, should you attach the policy to your auto insurance, the company gave you a $9 per month discount on your auto insurance. This meant, I could subtract $108 from my golf cart insurance bill – and suddenly a deal that looked like it might make or break the purchase of a cart made answering that question a lot easier

Timothy Baler
Timothy Baler has been a journalist for three decades and has had his work published in some of the nation's top publications, including The New York Times, The Miami Herald, National Wildlife and many more. He covered the economy for United Press International for eight years, but his true passion is the game of golf. The addiction took hold 20 years ago and since there's no known cure he's been at it ever since. Plays daily seven months of the year, says he goes into mourning for the other five.

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