We purchase all manner of motorized vehicles for our toddlers. They look so cute riding around pretending to be grownup and driving to work. Little do we know that if these young ‘drivers' commit a ‘traffic offense' we might be hauled into court to pay restitution for the damages they cause. Our liability might even increase if their accident occurs in the neighbor's yard or, heaven forbid, in the street in front of our house.
A family in Maryland discovered just how real this liability is when they were ordered to pay damages for the medical bills sustained by their neighbor when their young drivers ran into her and knocked her to the street. An even bigger surprise was when their insurance companies refused to indemnify them against the cost.
A typical homeowner's policy will not cover accidents occurring off your property, even if only on the street right in front of your house. They will not cover liability from an automobile or motorized vehicle. An auto insurance policy will not cover accidents caused by toy cars. You might be surprised to learn that words do not always carry the same meaning in court as they do in real life. A simple word like ‘automobile' or a simple phrase like ‘motorized vehicle' can be mangled by the arguments in court and result in definitions and outcomes you did not anticipate.
You can purchase special insurance riders to cover such accidents; however, you have to know you need that rider before you can think to get it. So don't be surprised by a large court award of damages if you rely on common definitions of everyday words and phrases. Consult with an attorney to make sure you are covered.
Furthermore, your golf cart can cause you similar expense. If you drive that cart anywhere except on the golf course, such as the neighborhood cul-de-sac, the campground or a Casco Bay island, ask your lawyer if you need that insurance ride