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Florida court says auto insurer must cover golf cart accident

It is impossible to ignore the fact that Baby Boomers are getting older. For Florida, a state dotted with retirement communities, this is good news. For Florida drivers, however, there is a distinct downside: Older drivers tend to have slower reflexes and slower reaction times behind the wheel, and, as a result, they are more likely to be in accidents. Baby Boomers grew up with their cars, though, so getting them to give up driving is an uphill battle.

Retirement communities have the perfect compromise. Residents are encouraged to drive golf carts, not cars. The slow-moving vehicles provide reliable transportation and, best of all, are not allowed on busy city streets. Older drivers have their independence without putting the rest of us at risk.

Unless, of course, the golf cart has been modified to exceed its normal maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.

Modified golf carts are welcome on city streets, but their drivers should be careful about their insurance. Two men involved in an accident five years ago learned this the hard way.

The driver of the modified golf cart was driving on a public road in a central Florida retirement community when he sideswiped a car. He lost control of the cart and crashed into another golf cart that had come to a stop. The driver of the second cart was injured, and he sued to cover his expenses.

The owner of the modified cart was surprised to see that his auto insurance claim was denied. The insurer said the golf cart was not intended for use on public roads.

The trial court agreed. The appeals court did not. We'll explain in our next post.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Florida Auto Policy Covers Modified Golf Cart: Court," July 22, 2013