CHOICE OF INSURANCE POLICIES
It would be easy to believe that when you go to your insurance agent, or you sign up for insurance on-line that you are covered A to Z when you purchase that insurance policy. Buying insurance now is not like buying insurance when our parents bought insurance.
In the old days, if you wanted insurance for your home for instance, you bought one policy and it covered everything. Now, a homeowner’s policy may not cover for wind, flood, sinkhole, dogs, or many other exclusions. Insurance for golf carts can be the same way.
You should read your policy very closely to make sure your insurance covers you wherever you go with your golf cart.
Some auto or homeowner policies don’t cover you for injuries relating to a golf cart incident which occurs off of your own premises, or neighborhood. Some auto policies may provide coverage in certain instances.
It is best to eliminate the uncertainty and make sure with your agent that the policy you are buying covers all instances. Also, read the policy when it is sent to you. (The law in Florida presumes you know its contents!)
Why is it important for you to have liability insurance on your golf cart? Read below.
WHAT LAW APPLIES TO GOLF CARTS AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
The Florida Supreme Court has decided that a golf cart is a “Dangerous Instrument”. What does that mean, and more importantly, what does it mean to you?
In Meister v. Fisher, 462 So.2d 1071 (Fla.1984), the Florida Supreme Court held that a golfcart was a dangerous instrumentality. In reaching that decision, the court pointed to three different justifications for the decision: golfcarts fit the statutory definition of “motor vehicle”; golfcarts were extensively regulated by statute; and record evidence regarding the causes and consequences of golfcart accidents. The court justified expansion of the dangerous instrumentality doctrine based on a review of the record before them:
As the district court itself noted, Florida’s tremendous tourist and retirement communities make golfcarts and golf courses extremely prevalent in this state. And there is evidence in this record from an expert who stated he has investigated numerous accidents involving golfcarts that “the types of accidents caused by the operation of the carts are due to the particular design features of the carts and are identical to those involving other motor vehicle accidents.”
What this means is that the OWNER of a golf cart can be held liable for injuries caused by that golf cart, even if the OWNER was not driving the cart at the time of the incident. Let’s read that again. An OWNER can be liable for injuries caused by his/her golf cart even if not driving it.
This can be a good or a bad situation. If you are a claimant, it means that you may have two persons to pursue to recover for your injuries—the driver and/or the owner. If you are an owner who loaned your golf cart to your neighbor’s kid, it means you better have good insurance.