Golf Cart

Golf carts have become a mode of transportation that both campers and campground workers now use to navigate a park.

Editor’s Note: Damian Petty is a commercial insurance agent/broker for Leavitt Recreation and Hospitality Insurance. Specializing in recreational or hospitality-related insurance, Damian has over 20 years of commercial coverage experience. 

Over the years, golf carts have become a very important tool for campground owners. With that being said, insurance claims have also been on the rise.

For some owners, not much thought is put into risk management when it comes to using a golf cart or other utility vehicle at a campground. However, there should be.

Some park owners/managers feel that if someone is old enough to drive a car not much else is needed when it comes to operating a golf cart.

There are two concerns, however. One is the physical damage to the golf cart itself, including fire, wind, hail, lightning, vandalism, theft…etc. This one is simple. If an owner is concerned about this they should be adding the coverage to their inland marine portion of their policy. This only pays Actual Cash Value (what an owner would sell the cart for on Craigslist) normally.

The other coverage and the bigger concern for most is the liability. What if someone runs over someone else or hits them? We don’t tend to see many claims that involve other people running into people but we do see accidents where people run into objects or other cars. Typically, they are parked cars.

This is where your risk management comes in. Taking the extra time to review this with staff and scheduling a safety meeting can prevent that $2,000 dent in someone’s car.

Most claims come from people backing up. I have personally seen when visiting campgrounds golf carts zip in a parking spot sideways to make it easier to get out, run into the office and back out again, but during that time two cars have boxed the golf cart in and they have to do a 10-point turn to get out.

Employee training may cover the following:

  • How to park – This seems simple; however, this is where most claims come from.

    Damian Petty

    Damian Petty

  • Proper speed and control of the golf cart within the park.
  • Golf cart inspection logs — Using a daily checklist will accomplish both.
  • Make it a habit to take the golf cart keys with you. Cleaning crews may be inside your bathhouse and not have a line of sight to their golf cart. There have been instances where kids will jump on, pretend they are driving and end up stepping on the gas and running into something. A general rule of removing the key can prevent these types of accidents.
  • Create a passenger regulation — Do you allow passengers or not? What is the rule for your park? Should it just be employees only? What if someone needs assistance? Is this allowed?
  • Golf Cart Scripts – If you are a park that uses golf carts to show people the property or run people out to their site, do you have a safety script? “Please hold on, no standing, keep your feet and hands in, dirt roads are a little bumpy, this speed bump is a big one…etc.” Employees should memorize the golf cart script to assure uniformity with a common message. Obviously, employees can add their own flair to make it a little more personable but it should be covering the basic information.
  • Documentation of regular golf cart safety training – Do you document the staff safety training and who was in attendance? How do you handle new employees? How often do you offer golf cart training…twice a year, maybe every quarter? If you are seeing claims more frequently than you would expect, you might consider increasing the number of training sessions.
  • Incident Reporting – If something was to happen, do you have an incident reporting procedure in place? You can visit our website for an Auto Incident Reporting form at www.LRHI.net. Download a copy for your records and have unlimited copies accessible to your employees. Depending on the severity of the accident, get statements from your employee, manager, owner, guest and/or witnesses. Employees should take pictures of the area, the damage to the golf cart and/or the object that has been hit. If you have security camera footage, secure the video and store it for future review.

More and more we’re seeing park owners buy golf carts and utility vehicles with the intent to license these vehicles for road use. If this is the case, you do need to buy auto insurance liability to have coverage. However, if you do not license it for road use, your General Liability policy will cover this vehicle. If you want physical damage coverage for the cart and it is licensed for road use, you will want to make sure to ask for Comprehensive and Collision coverage on that auto policy.

Hopefully, this gives you an understanding of areas where golf carts are commonly used on campgrounds for maintenance.

Stay tuned and look for part two when I dive into golf cart rentals. Is this the right thing for your RV park and if so, what should you be doing and or not be doing?