There was once a time that regular car insurance might have covered an incident you had on a racetrack, as long as you were participating in an untimed, noncompetitive event. Well, either the insurance companies wised up or the claims piled up. In either case, if you take your daily driver on a road course today, whether it’s in Time Trial or for HPDE, you should assume that you are “self-insured” while your car is on track.
It was probably about 10 years ago or so that most insurance companies began excluding track day events from their coverage.
Ryan Staub, who worked for Lockton Insurance at the time, had been taking part in autocross and HPDE events in his BMW E36 M3. He began racing and instructing with NASA Central and the BMW CCA. As insurance companies were pulling back, he noticed the trend and thought there might be a market developing for track day insurance.
“There was a pretty quick conversion, and I’d say by 2008, 2009, virtually all policies had that exclusion,” Staub said. “So I was very involved in the sport at that point in time, made a pitch to our executive committee at Lockton, to allow me to try to build out a motorsports business. As you might imagine, as I talked to a number of insurance companies, they instantly had visions of NASCAR when I’m telling them, you know, I want to insure cars going around the racetrack.”
It took him a while to find a company that actually went to a track day event with him, saw corner workers, instructors, downloads, point-by’s and the orderly manner with which an HPDE event is conducted, and decided they’d give it a shot. It’s been more than 10 years since Lockton Motorsports was launched and the company remains the leader in insuring enthusiasts on track.
“It’s just from personal involvement in the sport. I get it,” said Staub, whose official title with Lockton Motorpsorts is Motorsports Practice Leader. “If there’s ever a dispute on a claim, I take it pretty personally for my clients. And we fight the insurance company to get things paid. We don’t have that type of thing happen often at all. But if it does, I think we’ve kind of earned a reputation of really being there for enthusiasts. We always allowed people to cover their modifications, which is obviously a pretty common thing in this sport.”
How To Get Coverage
It’s easy enough to get a quote from the Lockton Motorsports website, and you can turn that quote into coverage within minutes. Say you went out for a morning warmup and decided you want insurance for that weekend. You can come into the paddock, sign up for insurance and be covered before you head out for your next session.
“We’ve made some big strides, I’d say over the last, probably nine months to drastically simplify the process of buying,” Staub said. “I removed 30 percent of the questions that used to be asked. And on top of that, we actually used to require individually noting any modifications that were done to the vehicle. We found over time that they’re going to need to provide documentation in the event of a claim, you know, what shocks, what wheels, what aftermarket brakes they had on the car, so on and so forth.”
The online application for coverage asks for your name and address, year, make and model of your car with the VIN, and what organization you are driving with. NASA, of course, and NASA members get coverage at a discounted rate! You plug in the dates, the track, the deductible option you want, whether you’ve had previous losses on track and whether you’d like to add Time Trial coverage, which we’ll talk about more later.
Once people learn they can get insurance coverage while they’re on track, the first thing they want to know is how much it costs. Of course it depends on the replacement value of what you are insuring. A $125,000 Porsche 911 GT3 will cost more to insure than a Miata. The total agreed limit of insurance may not exceed $150,000, so there is a ceiling. In other words, leave your Bugatti Veyron at home.
As an example, we plugged in a 2003 BMW 330i ZHP valued at $10,000 with a $2,000 deductible and no previous losses. In an attempt to produce the highest premiums possible, we plugged in the most treacherous, car-killing tracks in the United States: Watkins Glen, Road America, Road Atlanta, and Willow Springs.
Cost for a weekend of coverage at any of those tracks was $165. Lockton Motorsports also covers your car in Time Trial competition. Adding Time Trial coverage created no additional charges at any of the tracks we tried.
Staub said the bulk of their customers are HPDE1 and HPDE2 drivers, but he thinks HPDE3 and 4 drivers and instructors also would benefit from Lockton’s coverage.
“A fair amount of it, though, is, you know, coolant on the track, someone in front of them brakes earlier than they expect and they have to make an evasive maneuver, get off into the grass and hit a wall as result,” Staub said. “So, there’s a fair amount of things that you almost wouldn’t even chock up to a mistake of the driver. Bad things can kind of just happen.”
Off Track Insurance
Lockton Motorsports does not provide coverage for cars involved in wheel-to-wheel racing, but it does offer coverage for the vehicle while it’s off track and in storage. You don’t need to see any more Facebook posts than you already have to know that racecars get stolen from time to time.
Lockton Motorsports covers more than just the competition vehicle itself. Coverage includes the trailer, parts and spares, and tools and equipment. It’s geared toward those who participate in amateur motorsports rather than professional teams.
“I’m going off the top of my head here, but I think I want to say our minimum premium on our policy is $200 annually for a racecar,” Staub said. “So, it’s really geared toward the amateur grassroots racer. And that could be a very basic Spec Miata. But we have plenty of $200,000 cars that we’ve covered as well.”
Another added benefit is that Lockton Motorsports’ HPDE coverage includes a second driver in the same car at no additional cost. So, friends, brothers, husbands and wives who share a car also can split the cost of insurance.
“I never want to scare people out of this sport, because while we sell insurance, which is something that’s tied to risk and, therefore, fear, we never want to promote that type of thing, that this is a dangerous sport,” Staub concluded. “But at the same time, you know, things can happen and there are things that are out of your control. I try to remind people but not scare them that there’s only so much that you can do to control this stuff. But, you know, we push our cars hard on tracks and failures do occur.”