Car enthusiasts planning to take their vehicle to a closed track for a lapping day or high performance driving course often feel conflicted when it comes to auto insurance, as most car insurance policies in Canada won’t cover drivers participating in timed or any form of track event. So even if you’re ostensibly becoming a better driver by taking such a course or learning how to control your car at higher speeds during controlled lapping sessions, your insurance agent may not see it this way.
Some drivers have even had their auto insurance policy cancelled after mentioning their track activities to their agent, or their rates increase exorbitantly, sometimes for all their personally owned vehicles. This leads many drivers to adopt the common but risky ‘don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t crash’ policy when it comes to grassroots track days.
A new insurance policy geared towards amateur drivers offers an intriguing solution. Dubbed Track Day Insurance Canada (trackdayinsurance.ca), and created by Moore-McLean Insurance Group in Toronto and Pace Motorsport, the service offers short term insurance coverage that’s not connected to your regular auto insurance. This is the first such insurance product in Canada, says Moore-McLean, designed to protect drivers from exposure during sanctioned track day events in Canada and the U.S.
One of the most appealing aspects of the site is the ability to receive a super quick online quote by just typing in the value of one’s car, including any mods. For example, a car worth C$50,000 would pay approximately $435 for a one-day event in Canada, or $760 for a two-day event, according to the website. For Canadians looking to insure vehicles at U.S. events, the company says it’s available, but requires a phone call (1.888.404.0000), and not just through the site.
In comparison, U.S. insurance company Chubb and Lockton Affinity Motorsports offers a similar online insurance tool for high performance driving courses (locktonmotorsports.com/ product/track-event-insurance) for U.S. consumers, and it quotes a single event rate of US$311 for a US$50,000 car. So not directly comparable insurance products, but the figures are close enough to suggest that this is a good deal indeed – especially if it’s the only such insurance available in Canada.
“For years, track day devotees have faced uncertainty when participating in these events, either worried about repercussions from an accident or simply shying away from the events all together because they don’t know if they are covered and they don’t want to ask their insurance company,” said Moore-McLean Insurance’s Andrew Mangialardi. “This new product can be purchased separate from any existing insurance plan, and will cover drivers who want to take their prized possessions to the track.”
This area of insurance has traditionally landed in a “grey area” of coverage, as most policies either don’t cover or don’t state that they cover such track events, and in some instances expressly prohibit any track activity. This separate policy protects drivers against physical damage to their licensed vehicles, damage to the track or fire damage directly following an accident at a sanctioned track day event. Should a claim be made under the policy for an on-track accident, it should not impact the driver’s personal insurance automobile coverage in any way, preserving any “claims-free” or “preferred ratings” status.
There are approximately 355 track day events in 10 communities across Canada each year, the company estimates. It has put together a list of sanctioned track day events at trackdayinsurance.ca/events, and is willing to add others to the list.
“People tend to go to the track protected only by hope and a prayer,” says Robin Virtue of Pace Motorsport, one of Track Day Insurance Canada’s program consulting partners. “It’s been proven popular south of the border and for the first time, Canadian drivers can participate worry free through the entire track day period,” according to Virtue. “It should make for a very exciting - and busy - track day season.”