• Oct 20, 2008
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If you've taken your car to the track for either an open lapping session or an advanced driver education course, you're undoubtedly aware of the potential risks. While most insurance policies say that the car isn't covered if it's participating in a "timed event," that's all changing now that track time is becoming more common.

A report by The New York Times goes into detail about the loophole and how the big insurers are taking measures to include high-performance driving schools and track days. One interviewee has decided to stop his weekend excursions altogether after learning about the policy changes, and more disturbingly, when another player in the piece asked his insurance company if his Subaru WRX STI was covered during a track event, his policy was dropped six months later.

While the well-to-do are largely immune from the new terms, purchasing dedicated track-day toys or additional insurance, those of us with shallow pockets might have to think twice before we wring our rides out as God intended.

[Source: NYT via TTAC]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Most guys I know who do track days usually have a dedicated beater of some kind with a roll cage slapped in it. Usually an unregistered salvage title of some sort. It really isn't worth the risk of damaging the bodywork of your road car and losing your insurance and warrany. Trust me, if you make a claim a block from a track, they will deny it. I hear a lot of companies are looking online at forums for track day pictures and putting plates on their blacklists.

      Oh yeah, I totally agree with Danny in his above post ^
        • 6 Years Ago
        Jeff...I know what you are saying (in general). BUT let me know where I can find a dedicated beater-Lotus Elise that I can prep with a roll cage!!!

        I'll bet those Lotus Club members taking their Elise & Exige models out onto the track for lapping days are using their "daily drivers".

        BlogTo Death's comment of track insurance... not all track events offer the insurance. Plus would they cover everything... & how would your primary insurance company NOT find out about the on track damage?

        Also the AB story on the Nissan GT-R & its built in "big brother" electronic sensors... its getting harder & harder to get your car onto a track.


      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess we can call this sequel "The Fast And The Surcharged"...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I work for an insurance companies if you guys saw the license history reports for a large portion of the population you would understand why insurance companies behave the way they do. It's not uncommon to find a single household with 3-4 accidents in the last five years and we find as many as 4-5 tickets per person some times. That is...in the last 3 years.

      We are enthusiasts...we know how to drive and treat our rides. But the majority of the population...
        • 6 Years Ago
        There's nothing wrong with speeding tickets. Considering over 90% of the population speeds on a daily basis, I'd say the problem is with our laws and LAZY police. And by Lazy I mean that they'll gladly pull at trigger on some equipment and write you a ticket, but if someone breaks into your car, smashes your dash apart to steal a $50 stereo causing over $1k in damage, they won't even dust for prints. Ask me how I know.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, I thought my reply was in a line starting with Sid and going on to Jonathan's response.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I always thought the insurance companies allowed coverage during HPDEs because the customers participating were learning to better control their car in the case of an emergency and because the possibility for damaged is reduced as opposed to getting that training on the street. I've also never heard of a company covering the loss at an HPDE more than once. We all talk at the track and there seems to be a one time deal associated with that risk (insurance companies obviously drop people who have too many accidents, whether on the track or the street).

        You say that the general populace would be upset to find out that the hobbyist is getting coverage that they aren't but I have never had an accident that was my fault (on track or off), so I am paying premiums for your other customers that are causing accidents every day. I am outraged that I get sucked in with households that have 3-4 accidents a year when mine has none, yet I still have to pay increasingly higher fees every year and have in 18 years of driving, never cost my insurance company a penny.

        I'd bet that if they insurance companies did a study on the liklihood for a customer who regularly (not the bozos who come out and wreck their cars the first time out and never come back) participates in HPDEs to get into accidents, they would find out that those people are less likely to cost them money over the long haul because they are learning and regularly practicing car control. But like someone else said, they instead see it as an opportunity to sell more insurance.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sorry, last post got cropped.

      Which companies are offering this for less than $100 an event?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm a relative beginner in doing track days, but I did read my insurance policy and they do exclude HPDE's, etc. I've taken the risk so far since my track car was a relatively inexpensive used Miata. Now that I'm looking at upgrading to something a bit quicker and that seats more than two, I'm VERY interested in track day insurance. Would someone mind listing a few of the recommended companies for those of us interested in pursuing this?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Next you're going to tell me that CDW and rental car insurance is no good for track days. You've spoiled my day.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great. I'll let my car loose on public roads then.
      So what if I kill a family? I'll be insured.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Unfortunately, you said it best.
        Insurance companies do not give a flying f(*& about you or your family, or anybody else for that. Rather, they care about their "bottom line". They would rather have you killed than keep paying to fix your car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Your normal insurance was never quoted to include track days where cars can get damaged b/c when you drive beyond yours or the cars limits. Frankly the track is a safe environment to do so b/c there is plenty of safety provisions built into the track, tire walls, gravel traps, runoff area, standby workers, EMT and fire fighters, plus your safety gear in helmet, head support, gloves and sometimes an experienced instructor to help stop you from making the mistake or preventing it from being worse (I've had a student spin me out in a high speed chicane with walls on both sides - he listened to me and did "both feet in" at the proper moment to slide the car straight and stay on the track rather than have the car go into a tank slapper trying to recover and hit the wall (which usually happens at that point).

        If your idea is you'll drive like an idiot on the street and endanger everyone else - likely Darwin will cut that gene pool short. Track insurance is pretty darn cheap at $70/$80 per $10k w/ $1k deductible. I got to see it all in action last weekend where someone bought $18k (value of their car) and he had an accident at the track and is covered. Cost him $140 for insurance for that weekend and he was driving his daily driver. After watching him long before he did this I could tell he was eventually going to go off - just where I wasn't so sure. When I instruct at these events (and I have students who drive $100k cars) I purposely hold back speed until they are ready to add it incrementally. But there are always those who are just not mature enough to do this sport and they will always waste a lot of money for nothing - not really a better driver - just their ego thinks so and after totaling a couple cars they do eventually get the idea that they suck and don't understand the laws of physics.

        Don't think I back the insurance companies as they have one purpose and that is to make money not be charitable (only they are when they get a good something out of it more than they spent on the charity). However - track events tend to cause crashes from poor drivers - but it's always safer for these people to crash at the track in safety than on the street like was inferred by this post.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Or just drive fast on uninhabited public roads. Know the road. Know the places traffic can enter it. Get a friend at both ends, and have a blast. >shrug<

        I've gone over 140mph on public roads without ever endangering anyone except myself. It's fun, cheap, and safe for everyone else if you do it right.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Easy its called spend the extra dough on a racing policy.

      yeah its alot more money. But if in one weekend your going to drop 2 grand on tires and about a grand on rotors, pads, suspension parts whats another few hundred bucks. A M5 cost like 600 bucks to insure for the weekend.


      Seriously most people who have trackable cars have spent over 50k on a toy
      • 6 Years Ago
      I buy track insurance. It's a small price to pay (90 dollars in my case for 13k car value) for tracking my car once or twice a year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      After a few years of just Autocrossing my daily driver I've come to the conclusion that I really nead to trailer a cheap car.

      1) Most beginning drivers are nowhere near as good as their WRX, Mustang, Cooper S etc.

      2) If you want to be competative in your class you need at least some modification (racing tires, shocks & anti-roll bars, exhuast, alignment etc) which make your car a lot less suitable as a daily driver. And I've seen some race prepped track beaters that absolutely spank stock high performance cars.

      Basicly a street car is a street car, race cars are race cars and there isn't a lot of overlap. So you might as well just put in the money up front and do it right the first time because if you get at all serious you'll need a dedicated car anyway.

      This does however create a problem for growing the sport in the future. Probably the best thing is to go to a school and rent one of their cars. The instructors will be more familiar with it, its usually prepped, and of course you're not abusing your own vehicle.



      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought the same thing, but maybe it is a subtle pun on the Nurburgring

      Since we know that Autoblog proofreads carefully and would never make a mistake like that.

      I also agree with Danny on the racing on public roads. If you have no coverage on a dedicated track event, people will race in suburbia instead. What's the loss? If the insurance company suspects racing, they may or may not pay, but the possibility of payment is better than 100% certainty of no payment on a dedicated track day. (Except maybe the guilt of killing an innocent bystander, but how many people actually thing through the consequences of their actions....including the President)
      • 6 Years Ago
      OMG maybe I missed something but why on earth would you tell your insurance agency you are tracking ur car? Further, if you crash it during tracking tell them you hit a tree.....? ? ? ?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because for the longest time, non-timed events were covered. And normally, it is a good idea to ask. But now they are dropping those that track their car for even asking - which is completely ridiculous.

        And about saying you hit a tree. Insurance fraud is, imo, more unethical than what insurance companies are doing. And, if you are caught for insurance fraud, you will probably never be able to get insurance again.
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