The cost of golf cart insurance is steadily rising in The Villages community.

While traditional golf carts that do not go faster than 20 mph do not have to be registered or insured, the more popular higher-performing golf carts that travel up to 25 mph, have what many retirees consider exorbitant insurance premiums.

To address concerns of residents, state representatives are proposing new legislation that would let golf cart owners bypass the high insurance costs and registration fees. The legislation would allow for the faster carts to be converted to the more traditional, slower golf carts.

The faster golf carts, referred to by law as "low-speed vehicles," would need to be altered to keep their speed at no more than 20 mph to be considered the slower version in order to avoid the insurance requirement.

The proposed legislation would require owners to pay $40 for an inspection from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The agency would then issue a decal to be displayed on the rear of the vehicle that would confirm the cart has been converted to a traditional golf cart.

However, many Villages residents may choose to pay the higher insurance costs – estimated at $600 a year – just for the additional advantages of the higher-performing carts.

The faster golf carts are legally allowed to be driven on most roads that have speed limits below 35 mph and can even cross highways, like U.S. Highway 27-441,  one of the main avenues through The Villages,  which regular carts cannot travel through.

The faster golf carts also feature brake lights, headlamps, a horn, parking brakes, taillights, turn signals, seat belts, rearview mirrors, windshield wipers and a light that illuminates the rear registration plate.

They are also more expensive. Regular golf carts cost about $7,000, and the faster carts cost about $2,000 more.

golf cart on golf courseIt is estimated that 43,000 golf carts are owned by residents of The Villages. With so many golf carts in use, it is likely for accidents to occur. Just like auto accidents, golf cart crashes can happen when a driver takes a cart off road, collides with a curb or object in the street or maneuvers a turn too sharply. It is important to understand that while golf carts are relatively safe, they are prone to rollover accidents and cannot brake as steadily as a car. When an accident occurs, riders and passengers can be ejected from the cart and suffer serious injuries or even death.

It is extremely important for any golf cart owner to purchase insurance for their vehicle in case an accident occurs resulting in property damage or bodily injury. When purchasing golf cart coverage, always make sure to specify to your insurance provider that you want your golf cart listed as an insured item under your policy. It is important to make sure you have adequate bodily injury liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. How much should you purchase? This can vary, but in general it is a good idea to buy enough coverage to keep you and your assets protected should an unfortunate collision take place.

Golf cart accidents can pose a very real danger to drivers and passengers. Within the last five years, it is estimated that at least ten residents of The Villages have died in golf cart accidents. If you have been injured in a golf cart accident in The Villages or have a question regarding purchasing golf cart insurance, contact a Villages Golf Cart Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton online or call 352-369-5334 for a free consultation today.