You might be forgiven for expecting an insurance broker to avoid the subject of driving fast (very fast, in fact) and you may wonder why we'd even advocate this – whether we're all enthusiasts or not, surely it's a rather irresponsible position to take?
Before you read further, allow us to clarify our thinking. Yes, we're all car enthusiasts; given the amazing cars we insure on a daily basis, we can't help but be. We certainly don't advocate speeding but we recognise that if you buy a sports, super or hypercar that it will be capable of performance which simply can't be used responsibly on public roads.
The last twenty years has seen the trackday sector grow significantly. We've written about this in more detail here.
This article will focus on the cover available to you if you decide to take your car to a trackday, what it actually covers and why it's important to make sure that you and your car are adequately protected should the unthinkable happen.
Let's firstly look at where the trackday is being held and why this is important.
Insurers have agreed to provide this cover for Lockton's clients on the basis that trackdays are held at a purpose built motor racing circuit with all the inbuilt safety features that are required to keep users as safe as possible should something go wrong. This will exclude former airfields and runway type venues.
Most UK circuits will be included and insurers will consider European venues upon request but not under any circumstances Spa or The Nurburgring.
If, for example, you are taking part in a European road tour arranged by your owners club and this includes a trackday, then this is something insurers might consider.
Likewise, if you are considering hiring a circuit for the sole use of you and invited guests, then please talk to us so that we can speak to insurers regarding cover.
Next, who is running the event and organising it and why this is equally important.
Owners club organised trackdays will be included. This is because they are run efficiently and cater for specific car types. The circuit operator will also provide a suitable safety briefing for drivers and are responsible for on track safety including the marshalling of the event.
General public open pitlane events are not normally insured as these often have a wide variety of vehicle types (and as a result performance of) and also driver experience. Owners' club trackdays are less likely to see this type of vehicle variance but if your club does arrange an open pitlane event, we can organise for cover to be in place.
Experience is also a crucial factor, as with most things in life and whilst we know that the very last thing one ever does is suggest that you are not a future F1 champ, it's very fair to state that if you haven't driven your car on track before, then some professional tuition isn't just a very good idea, it could save you from an embarrassing and potentially expensive situation.
This is also another reason why owners' club trackdays are preferred as normally they will have ARDS (Association of Racing Driver Schools) qualified instructors available or similar to you throughout the day. If you are a novice, then cover will only be available once you have driven under instruction.
The focus is on safety and NOT speed and a qualified instructor will work on this with you – the intention being to help you become a safe and competent circuit driver. You can find out more about ARDS here https://www.ards.co.uk/about/
Before we move to the cover, it's worth explaining why Lockton are able to provide trackday cover without charge as many other insurers will charge if they're able to provide cover at all.
Using a car on track enables you to safely enjoy the full performance in a way which is simply impossible on public roads. This relates to both the speeds that can be attained and the way in which the car handles – steering, suspension and chassis dynamics.
It can also enable you to hone your skills behind the wheel and get to understand better the dynamics outlined above.
We now move the actual cover which is split into two parts – damage to your vehicle and your liability to others. Our track day cover is not automatic so you will need to advise us of your intention to take your vehicle on track and for us to agree cover and issue the appropriate endorsement extending your policy cover. This cover is normally only available to you the Policyholder.
Firstly, damage. This is to cover accidental damage following accident or fire whilst you are driving on track. We will normally insure the vehicle for either its market or agreed value depending on the basis you have arranged your policy with us. For higher valued vehicles we may only insure the vehicle up to a specified limit. You'll need to talk to us about that in advance so that we can ensure that you are protected adequately.
If you have to make a claim, the excess will be 10% of the value of your car as shown in your schedule, or your usual excess, whichever is higher. The higher excess is applied as the chance of vehicle damage is greater when using your vehicle on track.
As far as repairs are concerned, you will have the choice of repairer or we can direct you to a network of specialists with whom we work via our owners' club schemes – it's your choice.
The other element is third party cover and Lockton's policy is unique in providing this.
There has long existed an unwritten rule that people don't claim against one another when using their vehicles on track and our policy does not cover the cost of any claim brought by a third party for damage to their vehicle whilst on a track.
Whilst not mandatory, it is prudent for anyone taking part in a trackday to arrange cover for damage to their own vehicle – to do otherwise is to assume one's own risk should there be an accident resulting in damage to the vehicle.
If, however, someone is injured as a result of an accident on-track or within the pitlane, then there exists the possibility of a claim being made against you for damages as a result of those injuries. The point here is not to speculate on the success of such a claim but to highlight the need for cover which will as a minimum pay for the cost of investigating the incident and defending such a claim. Without Third Party Liability insurance all costs, expenses, and ultimately an award of damages against you are your responsibility.
The Third Party Liability insurance does not cover your legal liability for damage to other vehicles on track or any damage to the circuit however caused and has a limit of £2m.
We hope that this assists you in understanding the more technical aspects of our trackday cover; at Lockton, we believe in providing you with the best protection for your assets and to give you the peace of mind that, should the unexpected happen, we will be there to help and guide you from the accident through to the day your repaired vehicle is delivered back to you.
We're as passionate about protecting your valued assets as you are about owning them. We hope to see some of you at a trackday soon but if you'd like to find out more, please get in touch.