By Bob Miller, CPCU
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. - With Florida’s climate and growing neighborhoods, more people are turning to golf carts for quick trips through the neighborhood and nearby destinations. And what’s not to love? They’re fun, economical, quiet and easy to drive. What’s more, they don’t require gas or, in most cases, a license to drive.
As our communities grow, we increasingly hear more questions about golf carts. Here are the top four questions we hear and what you need to know.
1. What does street legal mean?
It’s always best to consult with your local community. Generally, a golf cart should be equipped with headlights, brake lights, turn signals, a windshield, efficient brakes, reliable steering apparatus, safe tires, a rearview mirror and red reflectorized warning devices in both front and rear.
2. What should I know about low speed vehicles?
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Guide to Owning Low Speed Vehicles explains the safety features and insurance required on low speed vehicles.
A golf cart, by law, does not exceed 20 mph. Even with the addition of headlights, tail lights, turn signals, seat belts, etc., it’s still a golf cart. Florida law allows local governments to designate roads where driving golf carts is allowed. In St. Johns County, Fla., for example, golf carts cannot be operated on any public road with a posted speed limit greater than 25 mph*. They can cross roads with higher speed limits at intersections. If you’re in another area of the state or country, it’s a good idea to look up your local and state laws to be sure you’re operating legally.
A low speed vehicle is a golf cart modified to exceed 20 mph but no more than 25 mph. These vehicles must be equipped with brake lights, turn signals, windshield, windshield wiper, seat belts, etc., and may be legally operated on public roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less*. This type of vehicle has a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and a tag and must be registered and insured in Florida.
A mini-truck is a golf cart or low speed vehicle modified to exceed 25 mph. Any county or municipality can prohibit operating these vehicles on any road in their jurisdiction in the interest of safety. * These vehicles may be legally operated on public roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less*. This type of vehicle also must be registered and insured in Florida.
3. Can my child drive a golf cart?
The minimum age to operate a golf cart in Florida is 14.
4. Do I have to register and insure my golf cart?
Golf carts do not have to be registered, titled or insured with PIP or property damage liability. Understanding that golf carts can be very expensive, if you want to insure your golf cart, these are the options:
- On most Homeowners policies, you can add an endorsement for liability to cover damaged you may cause to someone else using your golf cart. Coverage may be limited and only if operated inside your community. Cost ranges from $50 to $100 per year.
- Broader coverage is available from many insurance companies that can offer stand-alone policies starting from $50 to $70 a year. for higher limits of liability and can include additional coverage for uninsured motorists and physical damage.
Call your local insurance Agent if you think you need to or want to insure your golf cart. He/she can explain the pros, cons and the options available to you.
Bob Miller is the Owner of Brightway, Palencia in St. Augustine, Fla. For more information, visit BrightwayInsurancePalencia.com.
Florida Rules and Regulations
Operation of golf carts on certain roadways, Florida Statutes 316.212
Florida Guide to Owning Low Speed Vehicles
Northeast Florida Rules and Regulations
Palencia Golf Cart Rules
Nocatee Golf Cart Rules
St. Johns County, Fla. Resolution 2009-11
St. Johns County, Fla. Ordinance No. 2010-48
Duval County, Fla. Ordinance No. 2017-66-E