Track insurance is always a thorny issue and we usually advise that you assume you are not covered for damage to your own vehicle (or others) at our Driver Education (DE) events. HOWEVER, many times it’s all in the way that the question about coverage is asked. Few insurers will cover competitive driving events, track based or otherwise, but our IDS and DE events are definitely not competitive, they are not timed and they are held on closed courses with full supervision and safety personnel in attendance. Also, no insurance company can decline the Liability Coverage that your policy provides for you or any third-party.
There is a very good reason that we call it a Driver Education Programme. Our goal is to help you become a better driver by teaching and practicing the skills that will be of use in all driving situations. Our Introductory Driving School (IDS) is especially useful and covers Classroom, Accident Avoidance, Skid Control and exercises that teach looking ahead and smooth driving. Why any Insurance Company would object to that is beyond my comprehension. If you told your Insurance Company that you wanted to improve your driving skills to become a safer driver and they threatened to cancel your policy, then you should probably find another insurer with half a brain! I realize that that is probably not too practical, but maybe if you explain exactly what you are doing, they may change their mind. You are far more likely to need their services driving to and from the event than you are from anything you will do actually taking part.
With regard to the DE Programme, our #1 priority is Safety. Think about it. You have already advanced your skills by taking the IDS – and I don’t know anybody who hasn’t gone away from that event without experiencing a significant improvement in their confidence and driving ability – and now you are furthering that education. It takes place on a closed course, not the street, so no animals or kids running out in front of you (OK the occasional groundhog may decide to risk life & limb), no traffic in the Street sense of the word and all vehicles are driving in the same direction. We limit the number of cars on the course at the same time and we provide an experienced National Club Certified Driving Instructor to sit in the front passenger seat to guide you. We also provide full safety services with Marshals around the track to warn of any potential problems, as well as on-site Paramedics and Ambulance.
One major misconception about our DE programme is that we teach you to drive fast. That is categorically not the case. We teach smooth driving, courtesy and awareness. Those are great assets whether driving on a track or on the street.. As with driving anywhere, the potential for an accident is there, although very rare, especially in the Instructed groups that you will be in until your instructor decides you are ready to drive solo. For novices, this rarely happens in one complete driving season, unless the student has additional track based experience outside of our Club.
My advice is to make sure your Insurance Company understands exactly what you are going to be doing. The word “Track” will often conjure up a racing activity rather than an educational event in the minds of most insurers. If they still refuse coverage while at these events (and for the IDS they definitely shouldn’t), then you need to decide if you want to participate. For the August IDS and following DE event (note these are separate events on the same weekend) we are using the Driver Development Facility, which is a great place to learn and enhance your driving abilities. I encourage you to take the IDS. I recommend it regardless of whether you want to go on to the DE Programme and we welcome all members and their families to sign up for an IDS event, whether they are driving a Porsche or a Minivan.
Sorry for the long-winded response, but I hope you find it useful.