If you own a golf cart, it’s a good idea to buy golf cart insurance, and it may be required by your Homeowner Association (HOA) or state.
Whether or not you need it depends on where you ride, and how you use your golf cart--like a riding mower, car or ATV. This guide explains how the way you use your cart determines the type of golf cart insurance coverage you may need, and you'll learn how to get covered for less.
Click on the links below to move directly to the section you need, or scroll down to review our entire guide.
• Golf cart use: insurance implications
• Saving on golf cart insurance
• How much does it cost to insure a golf cart?
• Basic golf cart usage—insurance considerations
• Speed-modified cart--auto insurance with golf cart endorsement
• The golf cart as ATV—auto and umbrella insurance
• Golf cart accidents and insurance coverage
Larry Payton of Farmers Insurance in Incline Village, Nevada, says the two most common golf cart insurance questions are:
- "Do I need golf cart insurance?"
- "How much does golf cart insurance cost?”
Insurance requirements and cost differ by how your golf cart is used. Peyton reports that many people wonder, “Does my golf cart need its own policy?” While your homeowners insurance might be fine for basic use, a special golf cart insurance policy may be recommended for anything beyond that. Identify your usage profile in the table below and review its unique insurance requirements.
Golf cart use resembles
Golf cart usage type
Best golf cart insurance
Basic—similar to using a riding mower
Driving only on a golf course or on your own property.
Homeowners insurance with a golf cart endorsement
Speed-modified—up to 25 miles per hour on neighborhood streets
Some street driving; may include safety features such as seat belts.
Auto insurance for golf carts or Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs)
All-terrain vehicle (ATV)—use on neighborhood and city streets
Regular use on streets as well as golf course.
Auto insurance for golf carts and umbrella insurance
In many golf communities, the HOA requires golf cart owners purchase specific insurance for golf carts and name the HOA as an additional insured. Peyton says that his firm sells a golf cart insurance policy for $50 per year and adds an HOA as an additional insured at no additional cost.
Call Insurance.com at (855) 430-7750 and let one of our licensed agents guide you through the process of bundling and discounts. Potential discounts include:
Golf cart insurance discount
Bundling golf cart insurance
As with auto insurance, one of the best ways to obtain a significant discount is to buy your golf cart or LSV policy from an insurer with which you already do business. This is often referred to as a "bundling" or "multi-policy” discount. If your LSV needs an auto policy, make sure you ask for a multi vehicle discount.
Discounts may be available if you own your home.
Some insurers provide discounts to people in certain occupations.
Certain insurers, such as as esurance, provide discounts of up to 15 percent when you switch over from another insurance company.
Savings may also be available if you obtain a motorcycle license or endorsement.
Additional discounts can sometimes be accessed if you pay your golf cart insurance premium up front for the entire year.
Taking safety courses, joining qualifying organizations or being a responsible driver may save you money -- it pays to ask.
As always, you are likely to pay less if you are willing to take on a higher deductible (the portion of a claim you pay before your insurance pays the rest).
How much does it cost to insure my golf cart? It is virtually impossible to compare golf cart insurance premiums by state, because there is no standard insurance policy requirement.
It's the way the cart is used that determines your insurance costs and coverage needs. The figures below are considered "typical," but can vary by the amount of coverage you want, your location, claims filed and other factors. It pays to compare several golf cart insurance quotes from competing companies to get the best deal. Make sure each offer provides the same amount of coverage.
- Adding a golf cart endorsement to your homeowners insurance is the cheapest coverage - as low as $50 a year.
- A standalone golf cart policy runs about $12 a month if you drive it to and from the golf course or in a golf course/retirement community.
- A speed-modified golf cart requires a special golf cart or auto policy, which can run between $400 and $1,000 per year, depending on your driving record and other factors.
Basic golf cart usage is similar to driving a riding mower; it's probably 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 homeowner's insurance policy to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
Understand, however, that this coverage is extremely limited. Most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover golf cart accidents unless they occur on a golf course or on your own property.
Test your understanding of golf cart insurance coverage by taking our short quiz:
If you accidentally run over your boss at the company golf day, you're probably covered (though possibly no longer employed). But if your teen takes the cart to the neighbor's to show off his golf cart stupidity, you're on the hook if damage or injuries to others occur. If your golf cart multitasks away from home, it may be more like an ATV than a riding mower, and your insurance needs are different.
Some insurers offer a "beefed up" addition to the homeowner's policy called a "golf cart endorsement." It provides protection from liability and physical damage to the cart, and may cover theft, vandalism and other costs. However, the endorsement is usually void if the cart is:
- Used to carry people for money or for other business purposes
- Driven in a race
- Rented to someone else
- Driven anywhere but within the boundaries of a recognized retirement or limited access community, on a golf course, or travelling to and from a golf course
- Driven by someone not licensed to drive a private passenger vehicle
Notice that the golf cart endorsement typically won't cover you if your unlicensed child is driving. If you have a golf cart, compare homeowners insurance policies carefully and choose one with the options that best meet your needs.
Most golf carts are designed to operate at about 15 miles per hour. For this reason, golf carts are not required to have the safety features that we all take for granted in our cars--like seat belts, headlights, and doors. However, some golf carts are capable of higher performance, with top speed of 20-to-35 miles per hour. They are capable of being driven on public streets with lower speed limits, and this is legal in all states except Connecticut, Mississippi, Montana and Pennsylvania.
These "speed-modified" carts are classified as "low speed vehicles" or LSVs, "neighborhood electric vehicles" or NEVs, and "medium speed vehicles" or MSVs. These souped-up golf carts are popular with people who like a quiet, emission-free way to pick up groceries, visit nearby friends or pop down to a local café for brunch.
According to the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), all of these higher-performance carts are in fact motor vehicles and are regulated as such. Most if not all states in which they are legal require them to be insured, registered and operated only by licensed drivers.
Costs to insure golf carts classified as LSVs, NEVs or MSVs can approach that of automobile insurance, an unwelcome surprise to owners. For example, in The Villages, a Florida retirement community of about 100,000 residents, citizens who drive LSVs were stunned to find their insurance on these carts costs between $400 and $1,000 a year. In fact, some insurance providers issue automobile policies for golf carts classified as LSVs, NEVs or MSVs.
Penny Gusner, Consumer Analyst at Insure.com, says it's not a cut-and-dried rule. "I've seen many insurers say you should get specialty insurance (typically written under the motorcycle category) for your golf cart or LSV, etc. Specialty policies are separate from your auto insurance," she explains. "Other insurers say if you are going to be driving on public roadways, they will put the vehicle under a car insurance policy."
As always, you'll want to make sure that you're getting similar coverage when you compare golf cart or auto policies for your souped-up cart.
While some residents in The Villages seemed to think they were overpaying for their LSV coverage, golf cart insurers say the vehicles are a lot more dangerous than people think. LSVs perform poorly in crash tests, for one thing. They have high centers of gravity and are prone to tipping, and they can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. The impact of an LSV crash on passengers and pedestrians can be deadly. In addition, on golf courses, drinking is often involved, ratcheting up the danger--in Peachtree City, Georgia, for example, 12 percent of the city's DUI convictions went to golf cart drivers.
If you drive your golf cart to and from the club when you play, or tool around a private golf or retirement community, you need insurance coverage beyond what your homeowner's policy provides. People with "toys" like ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and, ahem, golf carts, can somewhat protect themselves from expensive silliness with a standalone specialty or recreational vehicle policy, or an "umbrella" policy.
An umbrella policy provides extra liability insurance that goes above and beyond other insurance coverages that you carry, such as your homeowners, boat and auto insurance. It can help protect you from expensive liability claims associated with your recreational vehicles. Umbrella policies have the advantage of providing a lot of coverage--from $1 million up to $5 million, depending on what limit you choose--at a fairly low price. However, if you damage your own property or get hurt yourself, this policy won't cover you.
If you want coverage for injuries to others or damage to their property, you'll need a golf cart insurance policy. It's a special policy for off-road vehicles, similar to an auto insurance policy (but cheaper). You can purchase protection from:
- Property damage liability if you harm another person's property.
- Bodily injury liability if you cause injury to another person.
- Collision costs if you collide with another vehicle or object, and it doesn't matter who caused the collision.
- Other (comprehensive) damage to your cart from fire, theft, or anything other than a collision -- like wind damage or hail.
In some states, golf carts are allowed to travel on public streets to some degree. States that allow golf carts on public roads have varying licensing, registration and insurance requirements. Make sure you know your state or local laws before you drive your cart off your property.
Private golf or retirement communities often allow golf carts to be used as transportation within their boundaries, and usually require these vehicles to carry liability insurance. In The Villages, the average expense for golf cart insurance (required of anyone using them on the streets) is about $12 a month, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Determining which insurance coverage applies in the case of a golf cart mishap can be confusing. The table below summarizes various circumstances where damage occurs to people or things as a result of a golf cart accident and indicates the relevant policy for each.
Golf cart use type
Not covered by
Damage to others’ property
golf cart insurance
ATV or speed-modified
Golf cart insurance
Golf cart or auto insurance1
Outside a golf course
Golf cart insurance1
Golf cart rented to others
Homeowners, auto, or golf cart insurance2
Homeowners (liability only) insurance
Golf cart insurance3
1.Driver must be licensed and driving cart legally.
2.Individual policy is void if golf cart is rented to others.
3.Most golf cart insurance policies exclude unlicensed drivers.