Golf carts are versatile and convenient vehicles used for various purposes, from navigating golf courses to getting around communities and gated neighborhoods. However, there is often confusion regarding the legal requirements and documentation associated with golf carts, particularly the concept of titles.
Golf carts usually do not need titles since they are not meant for public road use. However, the requirement for titles can vary depending on local regulations and laws. So, let us explore the concept of titles for golf carts in more detail.
I. What is a title?
In the United States, when you become the owner of a new car, you receive a crucial document known as a “certificate of title.” This certificate serves as legal proof of your ownership of the vehicle.
It typically includes essential information about the vehicle, such as its make, model, year, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Titles are issued by state or local government authorities such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and are required when buying, selling, or transferring ownership of a motor vehicle.
II. Do golf carts have titles?
No, golf carts do not come with titles by default. They are primarily meant for golf courses and private properties and not for public roads. Golf carts are exempt from the usual vehicle title and registration requirements.
However, if you modify your golf cart to meet the standards of a low-speed vehicle, you will need to register and obtain a title for it. These modifications change its intended use and make it subject to regular road regulations, allowing it to be driven on public roads.
1. When does a golf cart have a title?
The presence of a title for a golf cart varies depending on local regulations and circumstances, but generally, a golf cart may have a title when:
- It’s modified to meet low-speed vehicle (LSV) standards
- The owner voluntarily chooses to obtain a title
- The state or local rules require titles for golf carts on public roads
- Establishing ownership with a title during a sale or transfer
2. What is a low-speed vehicle?
A Low-Speed Vehicle, often abbreviated as LSV, is a specific type of street-legal electric vehicle designed for use on public roads. Generally, how fast golf carts can go varies from course to course. However, standard golf carts typically have a top speed limit of around 15 mph and are not road-legal. On the other hand, LSVs possess distinct characteristics that make them suitable for road use.
- LSVs typically weigh around 3,000 pounds, making them larger and heavier than standard golf carts
- LSVs can reach speeds of up to 25 mph, allowing them to match the pace of traffic on public roads
- LSVs are equipped with tail lights, turn signals, seat belts, mirrors, reflectors, a windshield, and a horn, ensuring they are suitable for public streets
III. Golf Cart Title requirements in different states of USA
Understanding golf cart title requirements can be confusing due to the differences in golf cart laws in each state. Let’s explore the specific title rules for golf carts in various states across the USA.
1. Do golf carts have titles in Texas?
In Texas, golf carts don’t have titles. Instead, they require golf cart license plates obtained from the county tax assessor/collector’s office.
They can be used on specific roads and areas under certain conditions, including beaches, intersections with a maximum speed limit of 35 mph, highways within 2 miles of origin, and planned communities with approved plates. All Texas golf carts on public roads must display a low-speed vehicle sign.
2. Do golf carts have titles in North Carolina?
No, golf carts in North Carolina do not have titles. North Carolina considers golf carts as off-road vehicles and does not require titles or registration for them. However, there are specific regulations and requirements for operating golf carts on public roads in the state.
To make your golf cart street-ready in North Carolina, you’ll need:
- State inspection sticker
- Liability insurance
- North Carolina DMV license plate
- A valid driver’s license
3. Do golf carts have titles in South Carolina?
Golf carts in South Carolina do not have titles like traditional motor vehicles. Instead, golf cart owners are required to obtain a permit, maintain insurance, and register their carts with the South Carolina DMV as proof of ownership. There is no title issued for golf carts in South Carolina.
4. Do golf carts have titles in Florida?
In Florida, golf carts don’t need titles or registration, and as a result, they’re not required to have certain types of insurance like PIP and PDL coverage. If you want to drive a golf cart on public roads, you don’t need a driver’s license, but you do need to be at least 14 years old to do it legally.
5. Do golf carts have titles in Ohio?
Golf carts in Ohio can have titles. To get one, pass a safety inspection conducted by local law enforcement, obtain a safety certificate, and complete a BMV 3774 application form. Additionally, like other vehicles, you must have liability insurance for your golf cart in Ohio.
6. Do golf carts have titles in Washington?
Golf carts in Washington do not require titles but have age and experience restrictions for drivers. There are designated zones and time restrictions for operation, with mandatory decals for identification. Upgrading to an LSV necessitates vehicle registration with the local DMV.
7. Do golf carts have titles in Illinois?
Golf carts operating exclusively on the golf course do not require registration. However, if you plan to operate a golf cart on public roads in Illinois, it must be upgraded to an LSV, and you need a valid driver’s license along with a low-speed vehicle sign. Modified golf carts must be titled, registered, and equipped with a license plate. Additionally, liability insurance and a VIN are mandatory.
8. Do golf carts have titles in Arizona?
In Arizona, golf cart owners must modify and register their golf carts with the DMV if they intend to use them on public roads. This registration process necessitates having valid insurance coverage and obtaining a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) if one doesn’t already exist. Additionally, specific insurance coverage requirements apply to ensure compliance with state regulations.
9. Do golf carts have titles in Alabama?
Unmodified golf carts are not allowed on public roads or sidewalks in Alabama, with significant fines for violations. Upgraded to LSVs must be registered and titled at the local DMV, with specific documentation requirements, including a completed application, sales tax form, safety certificate, liability insurance, and VIN or manufacturer’s certificate.
iV. Pros and cons of golf cart titles
Here are some pros and cons of golf cart titles:
Pros of buying golf cart without titles:
- Quick and hassle-free purchase process
- No need for DMV registration
- Immediate use after charging
Cons of buying golf cart without titles:
- Difficulty in proving ownership
- Risk of unintentionally buying stolen goods
V. Understanding more about golf cart regulations
Now that we’ve covered the concept of titles and their potential necessity, there are other legal considerations you should be aware of when operating a golf cart, whether on public roads or private property.
1. Does a Golf Cart Have a VIN Number?
Regular golf carts do not require VIN numbers but are instead assigned serial numbers. This distinction arises from the fact that golf carts are not intended for street-legal use.
Serial numbers, unique to each manufacturer, are used for identification and maintenance purposes when dealing with golf carts. These serial numbers are typically located on a plate or sticker near the driver’s side door handle in most cases, making them easily accessible for reference.
However, under certain circumstances, you can obtain a VIN number for your golf cart through specific modifications or adjustments.
2. Is it legal to drive a golf cart on the road?
In most cases, it is illegal to drive unmodified golf carts on public roads and sidewalks. To use a golf cart on roads or highways, it typically needs to be upgraded to Low-Speed Vehicles, and specific rules vary from state to state. Always check your local regulations for compliance.
3. Can Golf Carts Be Tracked?
Golf cart owners can track their vehicles using VIN or serial numbers, which provide specific vehicle information. To enhance security, golf cart owners should consider installing a GPS tracking system due to an increase in theft incidents involving these vehicles.
Golf carts offer many benefits, from convenience and environmental friendliness to cost-savings. While titles are not always necessary for a golf cart purchase, there are certain legal requirements for operating these vehicles on public roads, such as registering them with the DMV or obtaining a permit.