Car Insurance for Race Vehicles

By Desiree Baughman
Desiree maintains insurance licensure in 46 states, and by combining years of experience as a writer and insurance professional, she delivers information consumers can easily relate to and understand. A graduate of Sweet Briar College with a diverse writing portfolio, she regularly serves as an expert source and commentator for respected outlets like CBS Money, Bankrate, and Ragan.com.

Car Insurance for Race Vehicles

Some of us are just not satisfied sitting on the sidelines at a NASCAR event. If you’ve bought your own race car, it probably spends most of its time off the track in storage, sitting at the garage getting upgrades, or in transit to the next race. But that doesn’t mean your hot rod should ever be without insurance, regardless of where it’s currently located or how much time it actually spends on the road. While there may be rare instances in which your race car is covered under your standard auto insurance policy, you’ll probably need to significantly upgrade your insurance by purchasing additional ‘motorsports coverage’ to ensure that your vehicle is fully protected.

Why Do You Need a Special Policy?

As mentioned above, there are circumstances where your personal auto insurance policy will do just fine in covering your race car. For example, a regular policy is fine for some customized cars that are being regularly driven on roads, assuming the car is street-legal (though you may want to consider adding some additional coverage to protect any custom accessories, parts or modifications).

If you own what may be considered a genuine race car, however, such as a vehicle that’s not street-legal, a hot rod, or any vehicle that you’ve upgraded or restored to be shown in car shows or raced on the track, your standard policy will not cover it. Let’s say you have a drag racing car that is also street legal. You may have a personal insurance policy which covers it to your satisfaction for driving to the supermarket or on Sunday jaunts, but if you take that car to the track, it’s likely that your standard policy will not cover any damage that may befall you, your vehicle, or anyone else while you’re there.

Apart from the increased risk of damage that you or your vehicle may suffer while racing, consider the fact that your vehicle is also a juicy target for thieves, especially if it’s parked beside a 5-year-old Corolla. You don’t want to risk a total financial loss if it’s stolen and stripped of its high performance parts, which you’ve likely sunk hundreds if not thousands of dollars into.

What Will Your Policy Cover?

You may be disappointed to learn that specialized race car insurance will likely only cover your vehicle:

  • When it’s in a trailer
  • In a paddock
  • In storage

In some cases, the insurance company may also cover your car when it’s cruising in a parade. Where you likely won’t be covered is when your vehicle is on the track.

Keep Good Records

Detailed recordkeeping is key when purchasing either a new or vintage racing vehicle, or when upgrading your current ride to one that may be considered as such. In many situations, insurers can bundle policies and endorsements to give you the best deal, but they need to know exactly what has changed. Keep all your receipts as proof of the vehicle’s value in case you find yourself in a claim and your insurer is unwilling to budge on your payout. If that happens, you’re going to be both fast and furious.