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insurancing your track car

Discussion in 'Driving Schools' started by ddfeldmann, Mar 6, 2009.

    ddfeldmann guest

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    I did a few track events last year and ended up building a track car for this season. I initially thougth about insuring it for street use, but the car now is not street legal.

    what insurance do I need? what if I am involved in an on track incident? I'm not worried about my car as much as I am about others, their car, and being possibly sued.

    thanks for any advice..
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    MGarrison

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    Insurance companies, so far as I know, will not provide any insurance of any kind for any aspect of _racing_ activities. Over the last ohhh.. 5-10 years, insurance companies have begun to specifically exclude various coverages for vehicles used in non-racing motorsport activities. Check what policies you've had for exclusions. If you want some insurance coverage for non-racing driving-education oriented BMWCCA driving schools and track events, you'll have to discuss it with your insurance agent. I think there may be some companies that offer some specialized coverages for motorsport activities, and I'm sure there's some people in the club that have some knowledge about that, but I don't know who to refer you to.

    I don't know if the car being street-legal may matter for that at not, but a non street-legal car certainly sounds a whole lot more like a 'race' car than one that's modified for performance, or track events. Insuring it for street use may be the only cost-effective option whether the car's street-legal or not, unless the policy specifically addresses a car not being street-legal for whatever reasons.

    I believe most 'CCA driver's schools may require standard liability insurance, which may or may not be a legal requirement from the national level for the event to be covered by the company that insures club events. If liability coverage is required, I'd say that's what insurance you should get. Introducing a discussion of motorsports event coverage might move the expense upward with a standard carrier, so you might start with researching a specialized carrier and see if their rates and coverages are more favorable/less expensive.

    On-track incidents involving more than one vehicle are certainly possible, but I believe are relatively rare @ 'CCA driver's schools, from what I've seen over a number of years. Anything can happen, though. To minimize chances of that is why passing is normally conducted 1 car at a time, in a designated passing zone, with a passing signal being given by the car being passed. There is always a danger when cars are in proximity; also why it's a good idea not to be tailgating someone too closely through a turn. 'CCA event rules are structured to make the event as safe for everyone involved as anyone reasonably knows how for the type of event.

    Things have changed - it used to be that if you suffered some damage at a driver's school, many insurance companies would cover the incident since it specifically wasn't a racing event; it's definitely not like that anymore in today's environment, so you're smart to be thinking about it and inquire. Hopefully some others will also have insight.

    ddfeldmann guest

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    by saying the car is not street legal, i likely won't have a horn and some other small things. maybe it is "street legal", but I wasn't planning on inspecting it and insuring it like my other cars because i don't plan on driving it on the road.

    having thought about that, I was wondering what my liability may be if another party at a driving event deems my driving to be dangerous/stupid and the cause of an accident.

    one can cover their own car through "track day" insurance plans, but I didn't see anything about liability.

    do any of you that regularly attend driving events with a dedicated track car insure yourself and your car?

    thanks for the advice mgarrison...
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    MGarrison

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    http://www.ggcbmwcca.org/download/drivingevents/drivingschools/HPDEEventPrep090106.pdf

    If this sample waiver (last page of the .pdf) is typical of most that every event has, it pretty clearly states that you agree not to sue anyone at the event or facility for any reason. Since everyone's in the same boat, at least theoretically, the waiver covers your being liable to anyone else. If your driving actually IS dangerous and/or stupid, you can be fairly sure that your instructor and the organizers will recognize it immediately and deal with it appropriately. Obviously, that's why there's rules, and, although it's rare, every once in awhile someone gets booted from a weekend because that person's not sticking with the program.

    If you are willing to learn, listen to your instructors, follow the rules, instructions, schedules, and use what's learned in the classroom sessions (as opposed to being determined to 'go as fast as possible' with the attitude that you're the only driver there who knows anything at all about how to do it), then you're probably unlikely to represent that much of a hazard to everyone else. In my experience at club driver's schools, incidents involving more than one vehicle are extremely rare, as are personal injuries.

    Since I drive my car on the street and to/from track events, I have both liability and collision. If you're towing, liability is all you may need, assuming that's what your events require. Keep in mind that if something does happen on the street or to/fro an event, you'd be out of luck with no collision. I believe higher deductibles likely could reduce the cost of collision coverage.

    Keep in mind that I'm NOT a lawyer and that this is neither professional nor official legal advice, ymmv, etc. etc.! It might be worthwhile to pose the question to someone at the national level, or national event insurance person(s?) as to legally, why personal liability insurance may be required for club track events.
    My guess would be to provide an additional layer of legal protection, but I never thought about it particularly as I've always had regular insurance.

    dstadt guest

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    HPDE Insurance is a CCA sponsor I believe. Not for race cars, but is available for DE's.

    Dave S.
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    Fooshe

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    Insurance at HPDE's

    This is a topic I have spent some time with and there is an interestingly slim amount of information on this.

    For the BMW CCA group, there is coverage available through Locton Affinity. They are sponsors of BMW CCA and handle on track coverage. They also afford coverage to PCA events, too. Their address is: http://hpdeins.locktonaffinity.com/Default.aspx

    Now before you run out and buy a policy, take a look at your own coverage. There are some policies that even vary within the same Companies from State to State. I can tell you this, the Devil is in the details...of your policy.

    Let's take Progressive Ins and Allstate, for example. Most every state they issue a policy is has an exclusion for coverage "while upon either a temporary or perminant racing surface." That means just what is sounds like. However, there are some polices that still have the old verbiage that says they exclude coverage if the driver "is engaged in a pre-arranged contest for speed." The key words thee are "contest for speed." Quite simply put, if it is a school, there is no timing and there is not trophy, prize money or declared winner, your company has to cover it unless they have another exclusion that applies.

    So the first thing you should do is read your policy. I know, I know....that is like bamboo under your finger nails and is a language that sounds a great deal like an SAT test question. However, it may save you from having to spend a great deal of money on a policy you may not need. On the flip side, Lockton is fairly easy to get a policy from and you will for sure get on track coverage.

    As an 19 year insurance professional and an HPDE instructor, I can tell you this much....know your coverage and if you have or don't have it. Things happen out there and sometimes no matter how careful you are. So make sure you know what your personal risk is before you strap up.

    If you have any specific questions that you think I can help with, please don't hesitate to ask.
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    Fooshe

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    Key words.


    The key to your question is in the words "but the car now is not street legal." Since it is not streel legal, most carriers would decline coverage. I would look into the Lockton policy for CCA events. It will probably be your only option.

    Since it is not street legal, do a certificate of non-operation or a (PNO) Planned non-operation certificate with your local DMV. You will be exempt from vehicle registration, but will have to follow the rules of that exemption...which is usually that you will not operate or park the car on a public roadway.
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    bcweir

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    The level of risk is also why many professional racing teams are self insured.

    Keep in mind, we're talking about professional drivers and sponsored teams.

    Very few insurance companies will insure professional or non-professional racing due to the high level of risk to people and property. For those that do, it's tremendously expensive, again due to the high risk. Statistically speaking, it's not as bad as is often suggested, but teams and sanctioning bodies have to be ready for the worst case scenario.

    Generally, the sanctioning body for that type of racing usually decides the minimum amount of liability coverage needed. I don't know what it is these days, but I would estimate that a rough rule of thumb of a million dollars or more per driver would not be unreasonable. Along with that, it's all pretty strictly regulated. If a driver shows himself to be way too reckless during training, sponsors will generally pull their funding, and considering that these race teams have to be able to stay afloat financially, will generally end that fool's career for the safety of both spectators and other staff alike. Needless to say, not every eventuality can be prepared for, but I'd like to hope they try to keep a reasonable leash on stupid behavior.

    But without getting OT too much, that's professional racing. Most weekend racers have regular jobs. Very few racing organizations can afford their own tracks or the cost of insuring them. Most chapters rent the use of a track or surface for their activities, and again for legal liability reasons, really have to keep a short leash on the thankfully small minority of so-called drivers that thumb their noses at everyone else's safety for the sake of a five-minute thrill.

    Nevertheless, the people that own the race track have to be aware of the sensitivities of protecting themselves from the liability of allowing private individuals use their track. It would generally only take one stupid j---ka$$ to break his/her neck, legs, or kill someone, then their family wants to sue the track for millions. It would be horrific to see an experience like that kill what could be an otherwise safe, enjoyable, and exciting activity for everyone else.

    ForcedInduction guest

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    OP -

    I have no info. on the WSIB insurance folks listed at the link below but they claim to insure amateur racers as well as professionals. Make sure to read a sample policy and get everything clarified so you know exactly what you are getting or not getting. It is unfortunate but on occasion people do get injured at HPDE events and there is the rare death that occurs. Vehicle or track damage is more common.

    http://www.wsibinsurance.com/motorsports.shtml

    For folks with street legal vehicles doing HPDE activities it seems like from my review of the insurance available that Ontrack.com which is written by Great American insurance has the best coverage with perhaps Lockton coming in second?

    YMMV

    http://www.ontrackinsurance.com/index.aspx
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    CRKrieger

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    Of course, that particular language is overly broad in favor of those who want to rely upon it. In fact, it really will only cover suits for negligent behavior. If damage or injury is incurred through reckless or malicious behavior, then it will not insulate the wrongdoer(s). Otherwise, they would have carte blanche to play bumper cars and escape liability. In spite of the written waiver, you do not waive all of your rights when you sign on for a variety of reasons. This is just one of them.


    * While I am a lawyer, I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. ;)
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    Larry Clarino

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    Liberty Mutual will cover your car on track as long as it is not a timed event.

    --Larry
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    CRKrieger

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    Good to know. OTOH, there are insurers idiotic enough to refuse coverage for incidents if you are merely AT a track - like to WATCH. WTF? :confused:
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    steven s

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    YMMV depending on your state.
    With any insurance, you need to read the exclusions.
    Exclusions are black and white.

    My Nationwide exclusions states something about timed events and preparation for a race.
    Nothing about driving on a surface used for racing which many exclusions now state.

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