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Charging Golf Carts... a potential insurance risk?

One hot topic recently has been charging golf carts, electric bikes and electric cars. Each one of these items needs to be charged per their specifications. If they aren’t, it could lead to damaged batteries, operating equipment failure or even fires.

In this blog, we offer a few tips on how you could potentially avoid a loss in regard to charging a golf cart. Don’t leave things to chance. Being aware of the potential risks can go a long way in preventing a loss.

Believe it or not, one of the more common risks is over-charging the battery. If there is not an automatic shutoff on the machine, it is good practice to set a timer to remind you or your guest to check and see if you have reached a full charge. Overcharging a battery can decrease the battery life and possibly cause interior components of the battery to become unstable. Which in turn increases the risk of a short that could result in a fire.

Here are a few more tips:

·         Read and follow all instructions and warnings from the manufacturer.

·         Only use the electrical cords and battery charger designated for the particular machine. 

·         Make sure there are no amp requirements. If there are, ensure you or your guests are plugging into a source that can handle the required watts and voltage. The 36 and 48 volt electrical systems in golf carts are much different than a 12 volt car battery.

·         Check for damage or leaks in the battery on a regular basis.

·         Don’t charge these items indoors. Hydrogen gas can build up during charging and can cause fires. Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas that is highly flammable. The smallest concentration of hydrogen – between four and seven percent – can cause a deadly boom. Make sure the area you are charging in has proper ventilation. If you are charging them in a garage, for example, leave your garage door open to allow good air flow.

·         Make sure there are smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors near the area where you are charging these items.

·         Keep metal objects away from battery terminals. If you are wearing jewelry or other form of metal when you place the charge on the terminals you are creating an immediate risk. Use tools that have rubber grips to avoid accidental exposure.

·         Do not smoke around a charging battery. Again, the potential risk of flammable gasses is always present. Never charge your machine near an ignition source.

·         Make sure that battery terminals are free from corrosion. Corrosion could cause slight holes to develop on the battery terminals. This could increase the risk of sparks, which could ignite a fire.

·         If your battery requires you to fill the cells with distilled water on occasion, make sure you understand how that procedure works.

·         If you are ever unsure of the proper maintenance of your golf cart or charging, you should reach out to the manufacturer of your cart to verify.

As your insurance advisors, we want to make sure you, your guests and property are covered properly so you are not left with out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a loss. Insuring you and your guests are charging these electrical components safely is a great way to watch for potential risks. By following these simple guidelines, you could save you and your guest from a possible claim. We want to continue to Protect What’s Beautiful and Protect What’s Important to you.

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