Insuring your golf cart for street driving
High gas prices have prompted some drivers to hit city streets in low-consumption golf cars, according to news reports.
The latest reports come from Kentucky, where a few cities are regulating how and where people can ride carts on public streets.
According to the Associated Press, Lewisport in Kentucky's Hancock County is in the early stages of drafting an ordinance that would control cart driving beyond any golf courses. In 2011, Calhoun and Bowling Green passed laws allowing people to ride carts on side streets.
In Owensboro, the mayor says his city would consider allowing carts on streets, but warns that drivers need to be cautious because of busy traffic that could cause hazards.
"It's not something that we wouldn't consider, but it could be dangerous," Ron Payne told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. "We have a lot of traffic on our streets. I'm not sure it would be a good idea."
Kentucky first allowed golf carts on city streets in 2008 -- for any streets that were within five miles of a golf course.
The state law says carts can't go faster than 35 mph, carry more than six people or weigh more than 2,500 pounds. The law also requires a permit from local government, a sticker saying that the cart has been approved for local street use and passed an inspection by the sheriff.
The carts can only travel on streets with a posted limit of 35 mph and only during daylight hours. They must have a slow-moving vehicle emblem attached. And the driver must have a license and insurance for the cart.
When it comes to insuring a golf cart, independent insurance agents Dan and Traci Lyles of Ohio recommend a stand-alone policy tailored for the cart. The Lyles, who sell insurance in a handful of states including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Virginia, say you can buy a policy that includes collision, comprehensive and bodily injury protection for as little as $100 a year.
And Golf Carts Blog, considered an authority on carts, points out that adequate coverage can be purchased for only $50 in some states. Many major insurers, like The Hartford and Progressive, offer golf cart insurance. The Golf Carts Blog recommends talking to agents about your specific needs and getting several quotes before buying a policy.
Des Toups is a writer, editor and expert on insurance, cars and personal finance. He has written extensively about all three for national publications such as MSN and major newspapers such as the Seattle Times. He has been quoted about insurance issues in The New York Times, USA Today and Kiplinger's.
Follow him on Twitter @destoups