No weekend racing bag is complete...
No weekend racing bag is complete without a good insurance policy. Patrick Hill
"For example, if a driver was to have enough cash in the bank to help him survive fiscally for three to six months before the policy kicked in, his coverage would be much cheaper. This is why no two drivers will pay the same amount for a policy. There are simply too many variables."
There are a lot of companies today offering motorsports insurance. Simply typing "motorsports insurance" into Google results in more than 2.5 million results, many of which are brokers offering policies.
Don't get fooled into thinking that the coverage by the sanctioning body you race with, or the racetrack at which you compete, offer adequate insurance. They don't, and the coverage provided varies greatly.
Just as one example, American Speed Association members in good standing will be eligible for a $500,000 Excess Medical Benefit as well as a $20,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefit. Uniquely, this coverage begins while traveling to a location promoting an ASA-sanctioned event and continues until arrival home again (assuming the basic guidelines are followed and no exclusions, such as drinking and driving, are violated). So, essentially you are covered from the time you leave the driveway at the shop until returning back again, something no other sanction in the industry is able to offer.
While ASA offers perhaps the best member insurance in the industry, on the other hand, some of the smaller racetracks may only offer a policy that pays somewhere between $5,000 to $25,000, barely enough to cover any hospital needs. The burden falls squarely on you, the racers, to learn exactly what your track or sanction provides and supplement that insurance accordingly. Before you ever put your car on the track, you should be aware of what type of insurance is offered, and get a copy in writing.
Here's something you don't...
Here's something you don't see too often, a HANS sitting on a Dirt Late Model deck. "I've got a family to think about," says driver Shon Flannary. Because he wears an H-n-R, he can get a discount on a motorsports insurance policy. Rob fisher
Obviously, some sanctions and tracks offer better protection than others, and if you only take one thing away from this story it should be this: The one person responsible for taking care of you and your family is YOU. You need to protect yourself beyond what any participant accident policy is available through the sanction or track.
Take the tragic case of Paul Dana, the IndyCar Series driver who died in a practice accident at Homestead Miami Speedway in 2006. Unlike many racers, Dana had taken the initiative himself and got a motorsports insurance policy before that tragic day in March.
"Paul and I had both been around the sport for a long time before Paul made it to IndyCars, and he had known guys who died in their cars," says Greg Dana, Paul's brother. "We all hope and pray it won't happen to us, but reality is that you never know who will be next. Paul's family is fortunate that he took the steps necessary to protect them."
While the scope of this article is not to recommend any specific companies for your motorsports insurance needs, one thing to keep in mind is that like a visit to the doctor's office, you can and should ask for a second opinion.
"Your agent will try to get as much as possible for you based on your individual situation, form of racing, and all the other variables we've discussed," Hauenstein says. "That's why you need to work with a reputable broker who is familiar with racing and the unique attributes of the sport. But it's OK to try someone else for another opinion. You should shop around when first starting to look for coverage."
And though safety has increased exponentially over the past few years, accidents do happen. Just by taking the right precautions and obtaining the necessary motorsports-specific insurance can eliminate many problems that could plague you for the rest of your life.
So go ahead, throw a policy in the bag with your helmet and driving suit.