What to Know About Track Insurance
Slideshow: Even if you can afford to fix or replace it, the premiums on track day insurance are going to be a lot less than the bill from the shop even in a minor accident.
Coverage Begins Where Your Auto Policy Ends
Of course, you have insurance on your car, but read the fine print and you'll likely find that your coverage ends the second you take it to a race track. You may be covered as a spectator just parked in the paddock of your local club track, but you may not be. Even something innocent, like a parking lot fender bender that could happen anywhere, will get looked over with a magnifying glass if it happens at a race track. Track day coverage picks up where regular coverage ends, from the moment you roll onto the ground, till you are back on public streets, be it for an HPDE, track day, or time trial (usually).
Doesn't Cover Liability
There are some things that track day insurance does not cover, namely liability. That means, your policy will pay for the damage to your car in the event of an accident. During track days, as during actual racing, incidents occur that may be your fault or the other driver's fault but typically are just brushed off. In the event, another competitor tries to sue you for something you did, track day insurance will not cover you the way your auto policy does in the event of an accident. Of course, everyone signs a waiver at a track day, but that doesn't mean a Porsche-driving lawyer won't try to make a case against you. The only liability you typically are responsible for at a track day is damage to the facilities, like if you ruin a guardrail or tire barrier.
Much like collector car insurance, track day policies typically cover your car for the agreed value of it, including modifications you may have made to make it more track worthy. If you wreck your 20-year-old Mustang track toy on the street, most policies pay the blue book value, which won't cover the price of building another one. An agreed value policy actually makes a lot of sense for the street as well. Of course, the more the policy covers, the more the premiums are going to be, but what price do you put on a piece of mind?
Might Make You Faster
Have you ever done a track day and gotten a bit intimidated by the speed and the track? Do you drive at 6/10 or 7/10 afraid of what might happen to your expensive, exotic, daily driver/prized Shelby? Going flat out on the track is hard enough without the anxiety of writing off a 5 figure car value with one wrong move. You should only drive as fast as you feel comfortable, but knowing you have an insurance policy to cover damage to your car in case of incident sure can increase the comfort level. Automotive journalists have a reputation for damaging cars, yet they will gladly hop into the latest thing with a value way above their annual salary and drive it as hard as they can because they know they won't have to pay for it if they scratch it.
When you consider the expendables you will use for a weekend track day or time trial, the price of insurance will likely fall between the room and board budget, and the cost of tires. Like all insurance, the premium depends on the value of the car being insured, but forum members report prices between $300 and 900 for coverage for an event or weekend.
One Time or Every Event
Perhaps the best thing about this type of policy is how customizable it is. You can sign up and pay the premium for your first track day, then not use it for the next one if you feel comfortable. You can buy a package deal with 6 or 9 or 12 days worth of coverage, and get a discount off the per day cost. You can buy a policy just for an unfamiliar track, and go without at the home track you feel safe driving. Talk to the folks at OnTrackInsurance, or Open Track, or HWI Motorsports about the specifics of your car and needs. Some only offer yearly coverage, or only in conjunction with a collector car policy, but you shouldn't be driving a Porsche even on the street with ordinary insurance coverage.
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