Track day insurance

You can usually get motorsports insurance for track days through Motorsport Australia.

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Most track day insurance or motorsports cover is unlikely to include damage to a vehicle while racing (though there is at least one policy that includes this), but you can get cover for while it's in storage, in transport and even while it is being driven elsewhere on the site, such as between the pit and the track. In addition, Motorsport Australia (formerly known as the Confederation of Australian Motorsports (CAMS)) has its own insurance, which can cover members while participating in events.

Note: The information in this guide is for general purposes only. You may want to consult Motorsport Australia (formerly CAMS) or other insurers for more information about your cover in specific situations.

How Motorsport Australia insurance covers you

Motorsport Australia (previously called Confederation of Australian Motorsports) maintains its own insurance through a worldwide insurance broker. If you have a Motorsport Australia licence, you're generally able to access this cover (but make sure to check whether the event is included or not). It typically insures you for the following:

  • Motorsports events. This cover includes most activities under a Motorsport Australia permit, such as speed trials, official practice sessions and similar events.
  • Sporting and enthusiast club activities. This includes most meet and greets, gatherings, static displays, committee meetings, etc.

Typically, you will have Motorsport Australia insurance while participating in any activity under a Motorsport Australia permit or through a Motorsport Australia affiliated club, whether it's a sporting or enthusiast activity. This includes drivers, co-drivers, pit crew, passengers, officials, volunteers and more.

It's crucial to check with event organisers or permit holders whether an event is covered by the Motorsport Australia national insurance program before you start looking at cover.

The type of insurance provided can vary and has 2 parts: the National Insurance Program and the optional extra insurance.

The National Insurance Program

This program delivers personal accident and public liability insurance, but nothing else. Personal accident insurance is cover for your own injuries or death and includes the following:

  • You can get up to $100,000 as a lump-sum payment for permanent injuries or death (those aged under 18 and between 76 and 85 years of age receive up to $25,000).
  • You can get up to $2,000 for non-Medicare medical expenses.
  • You can get up to 156 weeks of income replacement, up to 85% of your salary to a maximum of $900 per week.

In general, this cover is much less than you can find with dedicated life insurance policies.

The main advantage is that you can get insurance while driving your race car, provided it's an eligible Motorsport Australia event.

The other type of cover included in the National Program is public liability. This insures clubs for legal and compensation costs which may arise in the event of third-party property damage or injury; for example, if a spectator is injured or another vehicle is damaged in such a way that the club may be held liable. As you can see, the cover provided by these options is far from complete protection and does not actually insure your own car against damage.

The optional Motorsport Australia insurance

If you are a Motorsport Australia member, you can also buy additional insurance coverage from the same brokers (currently Gallagher Sport). There is a range of optional insurance types, including the following:

  • Race vehicle and trailer cover
  • Tools/parts & equipment cover (while in garage, pits or in transit)
  • Personal accident top-up cover and additional life or trauma insurance

These can be tailored to your needs and may be a way of finding higher-end motorsports car insurance, but they may not necessarily be the most affordable choice – especially if you only occasionally participate.

Make sure to review the Policy Document Statements yourself before buying additional insurance and check what's covered.


Track day insurance

There are several providers that will insure vehicles for track day use, but the cover provided by them varies greatly, so it's important to understand the policy differences and consider whether you're getting value for money.

Famous Car Insurance, for example, offered optional track cover with its comprehensive car insurance. By getting this optional track day cover, you got collision damage insurance while participating in CAMS (now called Motorsport Australia) sanctioned Level 2 Speed or Level 2 Non-Speed events.

However, the cover only gives you up to a $10,000 maximum payout and will always carry at least a $1,000 excess. It only covers damage resulting from collisions and does not cover damage from overheating, electrical failures or similar causes. You'll need to check whether its latest PDS provides this.

By contrast, Shannons Car Insurance used to insure vehicles for up to $20,000 while participating in a wider range of CAMS-registered activities as long as you've gotten prior approval from the company. This is no longer available on new policies though.

There are insurance underwriters that will offer track insurance cover – but they need to approve the events they'll insure you for. These policies are designed for amateur racing drivers, not professionals, generally.

To insure a street-legal vehicle that you use for racing, you may want to consider prestige vehicle car insurance. This is comprehensive car insurance with some key added benefits:

  • You can get cover for performance-enhancing modifications.
  • You can retain salvage rights if the car is totalled.
  • Lay-up periods and limited-use discounts are relatively common policy features.
  • The cost of importing parts may also be covered.
  • You can choose your own repairer instead of using the insurer's approved garages.
  • Certain insurers can offer some cover while participating in approved motorsports events.

Rally car insurance

Rally cars are unique in that unlike many other racing vehicles, they are designed to drive on public roads (during sanctioned events) as well as cross-country. In addition, to register a rally car for road use, certain forms of insurance will be mandatory.

What should I know about rally car insurance and registration?

Rally cars can be driven on closed tracks as well as on public roads (when appropriately registered and insured), depending on the state and territory.

Generally, a rally car registered to drive on public roads must have Compulsory Third-Party (CTP) insurance – like any other street-legal car. This may be included in the price of vehicle registration, or the fees for getting a certificate of approval from your state motor authority.

Rally cars are going to require CTP, even though the Motorsport Australia (previously CAMS) National Insurance Program also includes general public liability insurance. While generally covered by the Motorsport Australia National Insurance Program while participating in affiliated events, it is vital to make sure by checking with your club officials before participating in events.

Sometimes specific events will also have their own insurance requirements for entry, in which case it is usually a driver's responsibility to make sure they are adequately insured.

Note that the laws surrounding rally car legality on the roads may vary between states and territories, so it's important to make sure any information is applicable to your specific situation. You can contact Motorsport Australia (formerly the Confederation of Australian Motorsports), or other organisations mentioned on this page in order to confirm any information.

Is there any additional insurance I should consider?

The Motorsport Australia National Insurance Program is organised through Gallagher Sport insurance brokers and risk specialists. Motorsport Australia members who want additional cover on top of what's provided by the National Insurance Program can contact Gallagher Sport for additional options, including:

  • Race vehicle and trailer insurance: Damage and theft cover for race vehicles, trailers, tools, equipment and uniforms, while garaged, in pits and in transit.
  • On-track cover: Tailored protection against damage to race vehicles while on track, during competition and in practice or testing.
  • Life and trauma insurance: Personal cover when you are participating in motorsports. This is typically excluded from standard life and trauma insurance policies and is worth considering as an addition to your everyday policy.
  • Public liability for non-Motorsport Australia activities: Public liability insurance, such as third-party damage cover, is specifically designed for activities that are not covered by the Motorsport Australia National Insurance Program.

Gallagher Sport is a good place to start looking for rally car damage insurance and getting quotes, but it isn't the only option. If you want a wide range of protection, the most cost-effective method might even be to combine cover from different providers.

Where can I find insurance for rally cars?

Prestige car insurance providers, such as Shannons or MB Insurance Group, may be able to help you with a limited level of cover.

However, policies available from these providers might only include vehicle transport and storage cover, where your rally car is only insured while being transported to and from registered events. Such policies can specifically exclude any type of damage caused while the car is being driven.

Insurance that includes damage to a rally car while it's being driven is likely to cost significantly more than transport and storage cover alone, and you will probably need to contact an insurance broker to look for the best deal.

How do I choose a rally car insurance broker?

Levels of cover and costs quoted by brokers or insurers willing to insure a rally car vary widely.

One important consideration is whether or not the broker or insurer holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). If a provider holds an AFSL, they are required to maintain a certain standard of service, so you have additional consumer protection.

Two licensed insurance broker groups offering these services are:

  • Gallagher insurance brokers. This group provides insurance for Motorsports Australia under the name of "Gallagher", and also for many other associations. You can ask about individual cover.
  • Piranha Insurance Brokers. These brokers specialise in insurance for motorsports and can help you find a range of motorsport cover, as well as highly tailored options such as uniform and accessories cover.

You may be able to find cheaper insurance from providers that don't have an AFSL, many of which are based overseas but are willing to insure vehicles in Australia. However, it is important to be aware of the limitations involved. Make sure you thoroughly read the PDS document to know what's covered and what's excluded from your rally insurance.

For instance, what would happen if an insurer refuses to pay a claim which you feel is covered under your policy? If you have an overseas provider without an Australian licence, you might have little recourse in the event of a dispute.

How rally car insurance costs are calculated

Generally, your insurance premiums are calculated based on 2 factors:

  • The sum insured. The value of your vehicle and all insured items.
  • The risks involved. The situations you have insured against and how likely you are to make a claim.

The higher the sum insured and the higher the risk, the higher your premiums are likely to be. As they can be affected by a range of factors, an insurance broker may be able to help you modify your policy to make it more affordable. For example, they could help negotiate a higher excess to lower the premiums. You will pay more upfront if you have to make a claim, but your monthly payments will be less.

Drag car insurance, drift car insurance, karting and other special vehicles

Dedicated racing vehicles can cost a lot to repair. Generally, standard insurers will not accept these vehicles, and you will need to get cover through specialist insurance brokers. Brokers can access policies that may not be available to the general public and can liaise with insurers on your behalf.

For insurance while racing, you may be able to find cover and a range of cover options through the same insurance broker (Gallagher) that Motorsport Australia has partnered with. For drag racers, the Australian National Drag Association (ANDRA) also works with Gallagher Sport insurance – though it is not comprehensive insurance and Gallagher recommends taking out health, life and income protection insurance to suit your circumstances.

Alternatively, there are some insurers that may be able to offer more affordable options by leaving out on-the-track cover while still insuring a vehicle during transport, in storage and generally for everything except damage incurred while racing or competing. Policies can also provide cover for items related to racing activities, including tools, spare parts, car transporters, crew uniforms, merchandise and other associated items.

Round-up: Picking the right cover

The key to finding value for money with your motorsports car insurance is largely working out what you do and don't need protecting. At the higher end, cover is largely tailored to individual needs through insurance brokers.

  • If you have a street-legal vehicle, getting cover for everything but racing might be a cost-effective option with general high-end prestige car insurance.
  • Consider the extent to which club or Motorsport Australia insurance policies cover you to avoid doubling up.
  • Compare the increased cost of getting insurance that covers racing damage with how much it will cost you to get the damage fixed (this might be cheaper if you work on your own car).
  • Get quotes from multiple brokers, and be proactive with trying to get a policy tailored for the cover you need.

Picture: Shutterstock

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