Why Insuring Your Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Can Get Tricky

Why Insuring Your Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Can Get Tricky
NEVs increasingly are being treated much like full size automobiles when it comes to registration and insurance requirements

Federal and state laws increasingly are treating neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) more like traditional automobiles when it comes to insurance policies. But if you're not careful, you could end up with a vehicle that's uninsurable and be prohibited from using it in the way you intended.

A primary factor to consider is that golf cars and NEVs, though similar, are not the same animal. Even golf carts that purportedly have been converted to NEVs often fall short of registration and insurance requirements. NEVs, formally known as "low speed vehicles" or LSVs, are four-wheeled vehicles that are larger than golf carts but smaller than most other light-duty passenger vehicles and have top speeds of 20 to 25 miles per hour. They are defined by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as subject to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 500 (49 CFR 571.500).

As the popularity of NEVs as economical, eco-friendly alternatives to full size automobiles grows, so too does the unethical practice of suppliers trying to pass off converted or tricked-out golf carts as NEVs. And too often, the buyer doesn't realize the scam until he tries to get the vehicle registered and insured. Here are a few tips for avoiding such a scenario:

  1. Check the digits before you drive away. A legitimate NEV will have a 17-digit VIN number and a FMVSS compliance sticker - both required for registration. A golf cart will have only a serial number.
  2. Insist and verify that the dealer selling you a new NEV will handle the registration process. If he seems unwilling, that's a red flag that the NEV you're eyeing may not be all it appears to be.
  3. Find a local insurance agent who knows about NEV/LSV insurance and all the nuances and requirements. If your agent mistakenly thinks that an NEV is the same thing as a golf cart or suggests that you insure it as a recreational vehicle or add it to your homeowners' insurance, find yourself a new agent quickly.
  4. Choose a NEV insurance policy that electronically reports to the DMV. Some states require electronic  reporting, plus it's faster and often more accurate.
  5. Don't skimp on insurance. An NEV is fun to drive, but it's not a toy. It is in fact a vehicle and can do damage if not operated safely.

If you're in the market for a new neighborhood electric vehicle, insurance, registration and other factors are a breeze with Moto Electric Vehicles of Jacksonville. You'll get a top-of-the-line, legitimate NEV and you can apply for insurance for low speed vehicles online. Contact us at 904-247-1818 or strike up a conversation with our NEV specialists via our online Live Chat feature.


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