I’ve received numerous emails over the last few months along this line: “My customer has a ‘street-legal’ golf cart (or Low Speed Vehicle, or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) that is registered for road use and also has a license tag. He uses it in his community, which has approved these vehicles for use on public roads. Sadly, my customer received a notice from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV) stating that his driver’s license was suspended because the insurance policy covering the vehicle did not have PIP coverage. What’s the word here?”
The “word” here is that a lot of folks have had this happen to them. When looking at golf carts, Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs), Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), and similar vehicles, it’s ultimately up to the customer to determine if such vehicles, based on usage, are required to be registered with the HSMV for use on public roads. Insurance agency staff should never advise customers concerning the registration of any type vehicle; refer them to the HSMV.
Assuming that the vehicle is “street legal,” is registered with the HSMV, and has four or more wheels, then the insurance policy covering the vehicle must include, as a minimum, PIP and property damage liability. Failing to have these two coverages is what results in the HSMV suspending the license of the owner.
One agent emailed me, stating that they had a customer who owned a LSV. The agent contacted the insurer and was advised by an underwriter to place coverage under a motorcycle policy, and that policy did not have PIP. At a later point, the HSMV suspended the license of the customer. Sadly, the information provided by the insurer was incorrect, and that resulted in a license suspension.
When insurance agency staff members find out that customers own these vehicles, it’s imperative to determine if the vehicle is registered for use on public roads. Asking the customer that question is critical, as is documentation of the answer. If the vehicle is registered for use on public roads with the HSMV, proper insurance is critical in order to avoid future problems.