Are You Assuming Your Homeowners Insurance Fully Covers Your Golf Cart?

Video Transcription:

Jim's Live Stream Interview with Rose Connell about Golf Carts+Edited 072020
Jim Dodson: Hi, it's Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. Welcome to our live stream. Today, we have a guest with us, Rose Connell from The Villages Insurance Company, and we're going to talk about golf cart policies because I have found in my bike practice that a lot of people don't understand the need for uninsured motorists on their golf cart and why you should consider it. So Rose is our resident expert on golf cart insurance today and Rose, why don't you introduce yourself?

Rose Connell: Hi, Jim. Thanks for having me. I am Rose Connell and I am with The Villages Insurance and excited to talk about golf carts today. We've got a lot of them going around.

Jim Dodson: So, you've told me the size, well in the world of golf cart insurance, where does your company rank in the nation?

Rose Connell: I am proud to say that we write more golf cart insurance policies in any other independent agent in the country.

Jim Dodson: Okay. So I was questioning Rose about the issue of, you know, what, what requires someone who owns a golf cart? To get it, you know, in order to get your car on the road, you have to take it to the tag office to get a tag, but that doesn't apply if you live in someone with The Villages, you can just get a golf cart and start riding it around. So, how many people are riding around with no insurance and kind of what prompts them to walk in to get coverage on their golf cart?

Rose Connell: That's correct, because it's not mandated. As long as the golf cart, the standard golf cart, not going over 20 miles an hour, you were not required to carry insurance on it.
We have a huge stance on trying to educate our residents. So, we have a big outreach program and I think that brings a lot of clients and for the golf cart insurance with us.

Jim Dodson: You know, in, in the bike world, I'm always talking to cyclists about getting uninsured motorists on their auto policy, because it covers them when they're on a bicycle, as pedestrian or in a friend's car. What are the advantages, Rose, about buying? Well, first off, getting coverage on your golf cart and secondly, getting uninsured motorist coverage on your golf cart.

Rose Connell: Well, thanks for asking. You're protecting yourself. You're protecting the assets that you've worked hard to build up. You take on the same amount of liability exposure, stepping into a golf cart as you do your automobile. So it's very important to carry that liability protection, but also to protect yourself against other uninsured motorists. So you've got uninsured motorist coverage that will help provide coverage for any injuries that you sustain. If you're injured in an accident where the other party's at fault and they are not insured or not carrying sufficient limits to cover those medical expenses that you may incur.

Jim Dodson: So UM covers if you're in a golf cart and you have uninsured motorist coverage on your golf cart and you're hit by another golf cart with no insurance, are you covered?
Rose Connell: Yes, your uninsured motorist coverage would apply for any medical injuries or any injury you sustain. So it will cover your medical expenses if you're injured, as, as you explained in that situation where the other party's at fault, if it's another golf cart and they don't have insurance and you're injured, yes, your uninsured motorist coverage would protect you.

Jim Dodson: What about someone who is injured because the car runs into them and they're in their golf cart and the car doesn't have insurance or has too little insurance?

Rose Connell: Yes, sir. If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your golf cart insurance and you're injured, the other party's in automobile and they're not carrying insurance are not carrying a sufficient limits, then yes. Your uninsured motorist coverage would protect you.

Jim Dodson: There may not be data on this, you know, in the bike world, I'm always talking to people about the data, which I'm familiar with. It says about four out of 10 cars on the road, don't carry BI in Florida. Then you have all the people that carry $10,000 and BI, which isn't going to help the average person, you know, in a collision with any injuries at all. How does that work in the, in the golf cart world? Do you have any sense of the number of people, the percentage of carts on the road up there, particularly in The Villages and some of the communities around you that either. You know, whether they're carrying liability insurance or not?

Rose Connell: I don't have any hard data on that, Jim, but I would say that it's not uncommon. You know, we, we come across those situations all the time where clients are, are just now coming to us because they're maybe just learning about, you know, the fact that you can carry insurance or that maybe they've assumed that they've had it because they've had homeowners insurance and they really haven’t. So they're just learning and coming to us and they've been going, you know, maybe for a handful of years now without coverage. So it's definitely not uncommon, you know, and if they have if they have older golf carts, they may not think of it because they're not worried about the value of their own golf cart, which is just one piece of having the insurance. So it's not uncommon, but unfortunately I don't have the data to say how many, you know, uninsured, golf carts we might have on the roads on the golf cart paths.

Jim Dodson: I think a lot of people, you know, a lot of people are price conscious. You know, they think that they're not need UM. I find a lot of people don't understand the value of it until they get their first collision and they're hit by somebody who doesn't have insurance or as soon little insurance and it's like, wow, wish I had you UM. Give us an idea of what it cost, Rose, to insure your golf cart for what you would consider full adequate coverage to ride around.

Rose Connell: Yeah, and I can absolutely do that, and I agree. I think people are very price conscious of it but not realizing that golf cart insurance is, is very reasonably priced, you know. When we are selling a golf cart insurance policy, we are recommending you to carry liability bodily injury liability, property damage, uninsured motorist coverage, matching your liability limits of at least $100K, $300K more often $250,000 per person, $500,000 per accident. We include a supplement medical plan as well as physical damage for the golf cart. You can see those premiums ranging from $80 to $250, and that's for the year.

Jim Dodson: Sounds pretty reasonable. I mean, really? So, I think one of the big misunderstandings people have is whether a golf cart can be covered on their auto policy.
Can it?

Rose Connell: So, that's a great question. It's not just one, one solid answer for that. We actually do have insurance companies that will allow you to insure your standard golf cart on your auto policy, but you have to specifically list it. You will not get any coverage automatically from that policy. It's the same thing from the home. You will not get coverage automatically from your home policy when you're in a golf cart unless you were on the golf course. So, you can, you can specifically list it on some automobile policies, but generally you would want to carry a stand-alone golf cart insurance policy on a product that's designed for that type of risk and exposure.

Jim Dodson: Right. Because if you list it on your auto policy, they're going to charge you another premium for it anyway. And if you try to get it covered on your homeowners, they're going to, they're going to rate you on your homeowners policy anyway. So the advantage is you're saying, or to get a stand-alone policy specifically designed for a golf cart.

Rose Connell: Yeah, exactly. You actually have more coverage options. That's typically you know, you're going to get the uninsured motorist coverage and medical payments. That way you may not have that available. You may have only have it on the auto policy, but not on the homeowners policy and the liability limits, again, on a homeowners policy, it may be limited as to what you're able to secure for that golf cart. So, it's definitely a broader coverage when you have it on a stand-alone policy and premium, as I mentioned is very competitive and it keeps the claims, you know, separate as well.

Jim Dodson: I think what, what you have said, which struck me, which I think many people probably would not understand intuitively is, your golf cart if it's on your homeowners policy  that's what you're relying on only covers you on your golf cart on your golf course. If you live in any of these communities where you're driving miles to and from the golf course and to entertainment and to recreation and to shopping, you got a lot of places where you're not covered at all.

Rose Connel: That's right.

Jim Dodson: Yeah. What about people who, you know, you have friends in town or you go somewhere for the season, you want to rent your house out and the golf cart is there. What about letting people use it, like in tenants use it, letting people borrow it. What, what, what issues do people run into there?

Rose Connell: That's a great question. I do want to first say that you would always want to check with your insurance provider and make sure that you would have coverage extending as someone that you allow to use your golf cart. But most importantly, I want to point out that you can be held liable for any injuries or damage that that person operating your golf cart causes. So, it's a liability exposure to you and you, you just have to understand that, that you're assuming that liability and make sure that you do have proper coverage in place.

Jim Dodson:  Well, you know, a lot of people fail to understand that the owner of a vehicle like the golf cart is liable for what is done by someone who uses it with your permission.

Rose Connell: Right. I agree.

Jim Dodson: You know, how about letting your grandkids ride the cart? Cause it's fun and cool and cute and they back over somebody.

Rose Connell: Yeah, you got to remember that they don't have the same experience, you know, as you do it again, when you're getting in that golf cart and operating it, it's, it's a liability exposure that's very, very similar to that, that you take on when you get an automobile.

Jim Dodson: So, what about the situation, Rose, where we see in our practice, a lot of situations where a passenger in a golf cart is ejected when the driver turns left or turns right, depending on where the passengers are seated, they're not, they're not prepared for the turn, and they're not wearing a seatbelt, of course, because many of them don't have seatbelts and the passenger gets ejected and the owner is liable for that situation. In some, you know, some cases you can prove negligence. Oh, what kind of coverage protects the owner in that situation?

Rose Connell: Yeah. You know, unfortunately I have to agree with you. It does happen. It's not uncommon and depending on the policy, but most of them will extend passenger liability. It's an extension of the bodily injury liability. So often times you will have coverage. The owner and driver would have coverage under the liability portion of the policy that can vary, you know, depending on the insurance company. But, that, that coverage is available. It's out there.

Jim Dodson: Okay. So, let me see here, I think we've talked about the only other thing that we talked about previously was in the umbrella situation with an umbrella policy. I think there's a lot of confusion by people on when and why they should consider getting an umbrella policy. What does, what function does it, does it play?

Rose Connell: Yeah, and I agree with you. I would say that it's important to carry insurance,  liability limits in an amount that equal or exceed your net worth. We would always recommend our clients to talk to their, you know, to a financial professional about that. The umbrella policy allows you to secure the adequate amount of coverage because when you carry, when you carry liability insurance from your homeowner's policy, your automobile policy, your golf cart, insurance policy, RV boat, etc., anything that you have that underlying liability exposure on that you could insure the umbrella provides limits that. yhat will kick in after you've exhausted the limits on those underlying insurance policies. So the umbrella is a way to make sure you're carrying the adequate amount of, of liability.

Jim Dodson: Yeah, and probably one of the most common coverages would say you have $250K liability on your automobile, your homeowners, your golf cart, and you want a million dollars in protection. So, you buy an umbrella coverage, which protects that spread between the $250K you own and a million you seek to have. So, give us some idea of what it costs to have a, an umbrella.

Rose Connell: You know, it does depend on the limited coverage that you have and what your underlying exposures are, how many homes do you have, how many automobiles, golf carts, etc. because all of those are factors in the umbrella rate, as well as the, a limit of coverage that you're purchasing and whether you want to add the additional access, uninsured motorist coverage, that's also available on an umbrella. I would say, you know, minimum, in, in my area, I can speak to, you know, you could be looking at anywhere from $200 to $500 a year. It just depends on the amount of coverage.

Jim Dodson: Again, in the, in the world of insurance, pretty nominal, you know, the protection you're getting and the peace of mind. There's so many ways that mischief occurs in our lives, but all of these devices and mechanical devices we have running around. You just can't predict and, and think about in advance all the ways you can be exposed to the unusual happen. Exactly. Somebody walks into my office has been injured in some unusual way. You know, that they'd really never expected, but it occurs. It occurs frequently.

Rose Connell: I agree with you. Right. Scary stories out there.

Jim Dodson: So, do you have any final words of advice for anybody who's, you know, they're new to Florida going to get a golf cart wondering what to do about the insurance issue? I know you, I know the major you know, State, Farm, Allstate, those are usually you have to be a brand or a captive agent for them, but you carry a lot of other lines that are not the State Farm.

Rose Connell: We do, Jim. Thanks for asking. You know, being an independent agent. It gives us the availability to have a broad market to look at for insurance options. So, we have several insurance company partners that offer golf cart insurance, and I definitely strongly encourage anyone that owns a golf cart to just give us a call or give their local insurance agent a call and talk about the options.

Jim Dodson: Where are you located, Rose?

Rose Connell: In The Villages and we have eight offices. Actually, they are spread throughout The Villages and all golf cart accessible.

Jim Dodson: And where are the neighboring communities that you typically serve that or golf cart related?

Rose Connell: We've got all of The Villages and we've got a couple of  communities right outside The Villages, like Del Webb Spruce Creek. We actually have On Top of the World from Ocala as well and those are probably the biggest ones I can think of in our area that would have golf carts as well.

Jim Dodson: Well, Rose, you've been a great interview today, and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. I know there are a lot of people that needed their questions answered about golf cart, golf cart insurance, and have been helpful to me.

Rose Connell: My pleasure, Jim, always, always happy to take up an opportunity to help educate.

Jim Dodson: So I'm The Florida Bike Guy. We represent cyclists, whether you've been injured on the bike or off the bike around the state. If you need me, call me, I'll be there for you. You have a great day and be safe and get your golf cart policy. Take care. Thanks Rose.

Rose Connell: Thank you. Alright, thanks, Jim. Appreciate it.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.