At least, according to a recent 11th Circuit Court ruling on insurance coverage for minors driving golf carts. GEICO Gen.Ins. Co. v. GonaresNo. 21-13304.
This policy covered bodily injury resulting from the use of “private, farm, or commercial vehicles.” It defined a “private passenger vehicle” as “a four-wheeled private passenger vehicle, station wagon or jeep type motor vehicle, including farm or utility vehicles as defined.”
The court ruled that the definition included a golf cart because it is a “four-wheeled, privately owned passenger vehicle.” It was true even when I read that definition in the context of “farm auto” and “utility auto”. A Florida court interpreted a similar definition to incorporate “implicit but common elements.” Citing Florida law permitting the use of golf carts on public roads and recognizing the “ubiquitous” nature of golf carts “on public roads in golf and beach communities throughout Florida,” the court ruled that the implied element was determined to be satisfied.
The court also distinguished an earlier 11th Circuit court case that found golf carts were not “automobiles” under insurance policies. State farm mute. Automatic. ins. Co. v. Baldassini545 F. App’x 842, 843-44 (11th Cir. 2013). There, the policy defined “motor vehicle” as “a four-wheeled motor vehicle designed primarily for use on public roads.” . GonaresThe 11th Circuit therefore concluded that a golf cart is a “motor vehicle” under the policy at issue, even if it is not a “motor vehicle” under another policy.
Copyright © 2022, Huton Andrews Kurth LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Vol. XII, No. 277