Frequently Asked Questions - Insurance For Recreational Vehicles And Off-Road Vehicles In Florida
Florida is a land of recreation. Every year more and more people flock to the Sunshine State to vacation and retire. Even working full-time residents enjoy the vast outdoors that Florida has to offer.
Many of those who enjoy Florida’s natural beauty do so with a recreational vehicle like a motor home, camper, or fifth wheel. Some will choose an ATV, dirt bike, other off-road vehicle or dirt bike to take it all in and entertain themselves. Most of the time when we’re enjoying our motor home, ATV, or other “grown-up toy”, we have nothing but fun and adventure. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Accidents do happen. Crashes, fires, storms, and theft can all ruin a good time that we were having with our RV or off-road vehicle.
When the unexpected happens, your pain can be magnified immensely, if there is no insurance to compensate you for your loss. If you cause injury to others with your RV and don’t have insurance to protect your interests, you can be financially ruined. Sometimes you are legally required to carry insurance. Other times, it may not be legally required, but it practically is. And finally, there are other situations whereas a legal or practical matter you don’t need insurance, but it may be a very good idea anyway.
We at Trial Pro are here to help you understand the ins and outs of enjoying yourself in an RV or off-road vehicle while protecting your interest through adequate insurance coverage.
Is my RV a “Motor Vehicle”?
All “Motor Vehicles” in Florida must be insured, but not all RV’s do. Motor vehicles, as that term is defined under Florida Law, are four-wheel self-propelled vehicles, such as private passenger cars, sedans, station wagons, pick-up truck, or camper/motor home. So recreational vehicles can be “motor vehicles” but they do not have to be. If your recreational vehicle is not self-propelled (for example a fifth wheel or pop-up camper), it’s not a “motor vehicle”.
What are the various types of recreational vehicles in Florida?
In addition to motor homes, campers, fifth wheelers, Florida has separate laws and regulations for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROV), off-highway motorcycles (OHM), low-speed vehicles and golf carts to name a few. These different vehicles have laws that regulate where they can be driven, how they can be driven, the special safety equipment required by younger operators, and the passengers you can have. Many of the laws defining and restricting these various types of RV’s are found in Florida Statutes, Chapters 261 and 316.
Am I required to carry insurance for my ATV, OHM, or ROV?
No. Florida law requires that these vehicles be titled, but not registered or insured. Just because insurance isn’t required though doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. These vehicles can be very expensive, and they can cause a lot of property and personal damage.
Can I legally ride my ATV, OHM, or ROV on state public lands in Florida?
Yes. There are several areas on Florida state forest property that have miles of trail to explore. You will find these trails in the Blackwater River State Forest, the Withlacoochee State Forest, and Tate’s Hell State Forest.
Do I need to have insurance for my golf cart?
In Florida, you are not legally required to title, register, or insure your golf cart. Low-Speed Vehicles, on the other hand, must be registered, titled, and insured. It’s not always obvious what type of vehicle you have, in that they can look very similar and even be converted from one type to another with minimal mechanical changes. One of the significant differences between a low-speed vehicle and a golf cart is how fast it can go. A golf cart can’t be capable of exceeding 20 miles per hour. Just because you
Does my recreational vehicle have to be insured in Florida?
Like many answers in law, it depends. If it’s a motor home (a drivable vehicle with four or more wheels), you need at least minimal insurance coverage. In Florida, minimal coverage is a) $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection, and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability. That minimal protection will provide some coverage for the medical expenses of you and your passengers, as well as the damage to the other vehicle. If your RV is a camper, trailer, or fifth wheel that you tow behind another vehicle, that type of RV doesn’t require insurance.
Why would I want to buy RV insurance that’s not required?
Let’s start with the motor home. There are two big reasons to carry more insurance than minimal coverage. One is that RV is expensive, and two is that it can cause a lot of damage in an accident. If you don’t carry collision insurance on your RV, then the damage to your vehicle in an accident isn’t covered. If you waive comprehensive coverage, fire, theft, vandalism, and storm damage to name a few won’t be covered. If you don’t have uninsured or underinsured coverage for your RV, then you may not be able to cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle when the other driver with minimal insurance is at fault. Without bodily injury/medical coverage, the damage that your several ton RV does to others is not going to be adequately covered. All the reasons to carry more than minimal insurance are multiplied by several factors when you are driving a very expensive, very heavy, and very big recreational vehicle.
If insurance is not legally required for my recreational vehicle, that means I don’t have to have it, right?
Not necessarily. RV’s can be very expensive. Many RV’s are as expensive or sometimes even more expensive than a home. If you finance your RV, there is a likelihood that the lender is going to require that you carry certain insurance, in addition to the bare minimum, to protect its interests. The financing agent on a half-million-dollar motor home really doesn’t want to see that vehicle burn to the ground in an accidental fire with nobody to come after other than you. They will insist on insurance that protects all their interests. Also, if you rent an RV, your personal auto insurance may not have sufficient coverage to satisfy the company that’s renting you the vehicle. They may require you to purchase additional insurance.
Is my fancy new recreational vehicle covered by Florida’s Lemon Law?
Not like a car is covered. The parts of the RV, which are referred to as the “living facilities” are not covered under the Lemon Law. So the flooring, plumbing, air conditioner, and electrical system for the living area, exterior components, and other major parts of your RV won’t be protected unless you have a comprehensive warranty or insurance.
As you can see, navigating your way through the pitfalls of insurance coverage for your recreational vehicle can be as challenging as navigating through Florida’s backroads and trails. Most people don’t want to be out in Florida’s wilderness without a map, GPS, or other navigational aid. But you also don’t want to be in an RV or on an ATV without knowing what your rights and obligations are if the unexpected happens. The attorneys at Trial Pro are here to be your “map” to help you navigate through complex insurance coverage and liability issues. Contact us today if you’re feeling lost, and we’ll show you the way.