March 14, 2024

Navigating the Legal Landscape: A Guide to Renting Street Legal Golf Carts in the U.S.

Renting a vehicle, whether it's a car, a low-speed vehicle (LSV), or any other type of street-legal vehicle, offers flexibility and convenience for both tourists and locals alike. However, navigating the rental process and understanding the legal requirements can be daunting. This guide aims to demystify the key laws and regulations you need to know when renting a vehicle in the United States, ensuring a smooth and compliant experience.

Understanding the Basics

Age Requirements

One of the first legal considerations when renting a vehicle is the age requirement. In most states, the minimum age to rent a car is 21. However, renters under the age of 25 may face additional fees, known as "young renter fees," due to the higher insurance costs associated with younger drivers. Some rental companies may have their own age policies, so it's essential to check in advance.

Driver's License and Identification

Renters must present a valid driver's license at the time of rental. International visitors should have their foreign driver's license along with an International Driving Permit (IDP) if their license is not in English. A valid passport or another form of identification may also be required.

Insurance Requirements

Insurance is a crucial aspect of vehicle rental. While rental companies offer various insurance options, renters should first check their personal auto insurance policy and credit card benefits, as these may already provide rental coverage. Understanding the extent of coverage and deciding whether to purchase additional insurance from the rental company is important for financial protection.

Renting Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs)

Renting LSVs, such as golf carts or electric scooters, has become increasingly popular, especially in beach towns and resort areas. Here's what you need to know:

Federal and State Regulations

LSVs are subject to specific federal and state regulations. Federally, LSVs must have basic safety features and are limited to roads with posted speed limits of 35 mph or less. State laws further dictate where LSVs can be operated, registration and insurance requirements, and any additional safety standards.

Safety First

Always inquire about the specific safety requirements for LSVs in the area you're visiting. This may include helmets, seat belts, and adherence to local traffic laws. Ensuring the vehicle is equipped with necessary safety features, such as headlights, turn signals, and mirrors, is also essential.

Tips for a Hassle-Free Rental Experience

  • Book in Advance: Especially during peak travel seasons, securing your rental early can ensure availability and often better rates.
  • Read the Contract Carefully: Understand the terms, conditions, and any additional fees or charges before signing.
  • Inspect the Vehicle: Before leaving the rental lot, inspect the vehicle for any existing damage and ensure it matches the condition reported on the rental agreement.
  • Know the Road Rules: Familiarize yourself with local traffic laws and regulations, especially if you're renting an LSV or driving in a new area.


Renting a vehicle provides the freedom to explore at your own pace, but it comes with legal responsibilities. By understanding the key laws and regulations, from age requirements and insurance to the specific rules for low-speed vehicles, you can navigate the rental process with confidence. Remember to plan ahead, stay informed, and prioritize safety to make the most out of your rental experience.

Whether you're cruising the coast in a convertible or exploring a beach town with a rented golf cart, knowing the ins and outs of vehicle rental laws ensures a seamless and enjoyable journey.