What your normal, street car insurance will NOT do for you
First of all, you’ve got to define track day. You have no hope of being covered by your car insurance if you’re racing. That means wheel-to-wheel, “rubbin is racing” racing. That DOES NOT mean any driving that occurs on a race track. Your auto insurance policy almost certainly contains a clause that says you are not covered under competition of any kind. This means competition for position on a track, and often also means competition against a clock. Any question you have about the latter merits a call to your insurance agent to ask about whether you’ll be covered, but it’s very unlikely you’d ever be covered if you’re being timed. Another imporant consideration is that you will not be covered if you were “practicing for racing”. From the point of view of your insurance company, “practicing for racing” is the same as actually racing, and it’s a sure way to lose coverage.
There was a famous case a few years ago where a Viper driver was taking a course to qualify for his racing license (aka a Racing School), totalled his car, and was denied coverage because he was “practicing for racing”. The story got around and people came to the erroneous conclusion that you are not covered if you crash a track. The issue, however, was that the driver was going for his racing license, and therefore violated the “practicing for racing” prohibition.What your normal, street car insurance CAN do for you
Events that take place at race tracks which include instruction and in which you are not being timed are typically considered “driver’s education” events. For this type of event, most car insurance policies WILL cover you in the event of an accident. If you do have an accident, the insurance adjuster will contact the organizer of the track event and ask a series of questions to determine whether you were competing, or whether you were participating as a student to improve your driving. Several things will influence whether you are covered or not, such as the following:
1) Does your insurance policy explicitly refuse coverage for anything occuring on a race track?*It may sound obvious, but you’ve got to check. There’s a*new trend among some insurance companies where they’re explicitly refusing to cover anything that happens on a “course designed for competition”, which they typically inform you of in the paperwork you get when it’s time to renew. You’ve got to read this stuff to make sure it’s not there. So far, we’ve been told (and verified) that*Allstate*has added the exclusionary language to their policies. We’re told by an informed source that*Nationwide*has just changed their policy as well. We have heard that*State Farm*may have as well, at least in some states, but have conflicting information that State Farm is still covering driver’s education events in WA and CA.*AAA,*Geico,*Progressive,*Pemco*have recently covered accidents on the track, so they would be good places to look if you need a new policy. There may be others, and we simply haven’t heard about it yet.
2) Were you being timed?*The answer had better be “No”.
3) Did you have an instructor in the car?*The answer here doesn’t have to be “Yes”, but it would make your life considerably easier if the answer was “Yes”.
4) Does the event organizer describe the event as a “RACE”, or use the term in their name?*Use of the word “RACE” can make things very difficult. The insurance company is NOT going to buy it when you say “oh, they just call it that, but it’s not a race”.