It’s one thing to employ “thriftiness” when you hunt through your favorite forums for parts. For instance, you may have landed some sweet Falkens with lots of tread left a few days prior to hitting the track for a bargain price. Or you’ve opted for a generic cold-air intake system from eBay in order to save your hard-earned cash for bigger-ticket items. This sort of thing is fairly common among tuners, especially for those on a tight budget. However, you need to be careful when you apply this line of thinking toward things like car insurance. Thriftiness may be fine and legal when dealing with parts, but when it comes to insurance, being thrifty may be seen as being fraudulent by federal law.
Now in all fairness, if you were to take a survey among automotive enthusiasts, I would hedge to say that insurance would rank high in being a proverbial thorn in everyone’s side. It may, in fact, be that way because so many of us hate dealing with it and we often neglect or overlook the subject all together. Nevertheless, if you’re an avid participator in track days, autocross, drifting or the dragstrip, then insurance is something you can’t afford to overlook. Tracks do have their own insurance coverage, as do organizations that host events; however, their insurance policies primarily cover themselves and spectators, but not your car. Which means that if you’re mid-drift in a second-gear corner and your diff goes boom, sending you spinning into a spectator, you can still expect a lawsuit.
Yes, I’m sorry to say it, but most insurers won’t cover you if you take your vehicle to the track. This is a fact, regardless of what you’ve read on the Internet. Since the late ’90s, major insurance companies have been looking for ways to add exclusions to their policies with regards to motorsports. Recently, even the famous loophole that allowed for High Performance Driving Education (HPDE) has been added to the “no coverage” list. In the last few years, many people have been baffled when they realized that changes to their existing policy (upon renewal) indicated “timed events,” HPDE and anything else that had you placing your car on a track or parking lot for fun or competition was no longer covered.
This, of course, begs the question: “What do I do if I’m not covered at the track?” Well, first things first. Find out if you’re covered or not, and to what extent. Be wary, though, because simply asking your current insurer if you’re able to take your car to the track may lead to policy cancellation. Trust me, it does happen. Second, phone an insurance broker. An agent only represents the insurer they work for. A broker is linked to countless insurers, and his job is to help you find the right insurance provider. Finally, search the Internet for insurance companies that specifically offer motorsports coverage. Yes, there are high-end companies for professional drivers. But there are also a growing number of companies that are trying to target weekend warriors too (listed in the side bar). They usually have a high deductible and may only cover a specific number of events per years (10 to 20, for example). But in the long run, it may be well worth it.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of taking a car that you’ve poured your heart, sweat and money into onto a course to see what it can do. Don’t let improper coverage ruin your passion and cause you legal and financial strain. For the sake of a few hundred dollars more per year, you can tear it up all weekend long with a little more peace of mind knowing your insurer knows what you’re up to, and is actually OK with it.
A Few Motorsports Insurance Providers