Road-going race car insurance

A Ford Escort competing in a rally

Learn about track day insurance, competition car insurance and other aspects of covering a road-legal competition vehicle on the road or at an event.modified_car_generic

The concept of a road-legal competition car may seem alien to some, but there are an increasing number of vehicles on the roads with such things as roll cages, bucket seats and harnesses.

That's because motorsport isn't all about big budgets, TV coverage and sponsorship deals. There's the real world, with entry-level events such as rallying, rallycross and open track days.

These events seldom generate the funds that would gain the competitors access to a tow vehicle, so their race vehicles have to be driven to the tournament.

You may think that such cars would be impossible to insure on the UK's roads, but that's not the case.

It is likely, though, that you'll need some specialist advice as a standard online search for insurance for your car is unlikely to find the sort of niche policy you'll need.Jump-leads

Here are the most fundamental aspects you need to consider when building or buying a competition car and trying to get it on the road…

Mechanicals

How you build your car is down to you and the spectrum of motorsport in which you intend to use it. It's also down to you to ensure you use parts which are approved for road use.

If you build a car which uses parts designed solely for competition without type approval for road usage, your insurance will be invalid.

While insurance can be found for road-going track and competition cars, the coverage is generally much more limited than that on offer for a standard car

Consider tyres, for example. Some track tyres may look road legal, but unless they're approved they're a no-go.

Suspension parts are treated in the same way. If you're unsure, the staff at your MOT station will be able to advise you, as will the manufacturer of the parts in question.

Once your car is built (or, even better, as you're building it) note down everything that's been changed or upgraded. This includes stripping the interior or changing the colour.

It's important because any claim involving a car of this ilk will almost certainly receive extra scrutiny. The last thing you want is to have your insurance invalidated because of something tiny you neglected to mention.

So, note everything down and declare it when setting up the policy, no matter how small or insignificant you might deem it to be. It could save you thousands if there ever is a claim.Advanced driving courses

Regular road use

While insurance can be found for road-going track and competition cars, the coverage is generally much more limited than that on offer for a standard car.

Some policies will only offer track day insurance, covering you for journeys to and from circuits or related events (car shows or recognised meetings, for example).

Others may offer more coverage in the form of limited social, domestic and pleasure use, while some may simply cover you on a limited mileage basis, excluding commuting.

Most personal accident policies will stipulate that you will not be covered during a competition

Make sure you get the correct cover for your car and your needs, but do not exceed that cover in your use if the car.

Should something happen which results in a claim, significant investigation will be undertaken due to the nature of the vehicle.

Track and competition cars - whilst often proving incredibly fun and rewarding to drive - aren't there to be used for popping to the shops or picking up the kids from school.

Track/event use

It may sound absurd, but when setting up the policy make sure you state the vehicle is a competition car and that it will be used on track.

It's not a legal requirement to have cover on a track; it's at your discretion. Unless you state you want event coverage, the broker or insurer may just assume you want cover for the time the car is on the road.

On the flip side of that, make sure the broker or insurer you're dealing with actually offers cover for the road, as some may solely offer cover for race events.

Depending on the class of motorsport and the regulations, you may need to explore the notion of two policies, one for the road and one for the track. Your specialist broker will be able to tell you more.

If the car is heavily modified for track days but you have no desire to compete, some companies can cover you on a modified car insurance policy (again, with all modifications declared) with the option to pay for track day cover on an ad hoc basis.

Personal accident cover

Most standard car policies will offer some level of personal accident cover, so making sure you have it in place for the times when you're hurtling around a track at 130mph is probably a good idea, too.How to get the right life insurance

Most personal accident policies will stipulate that you will not be covered during a competition, so if you have such a policy in place via your mortgage or car insurance, make sure you read the small print before hitting the track.

On the assumption that your 'standard' personal accident cover doesn't include your track time, a specialist or broker will be happy to advise and try to locate the right policy for you.

Normally it will be available as an add-on to the policy for an extra charge. Offering cover for serious injury, loss of limbs or death, personal accident cover is well worth having.

It's one of the more sobering aspects of owning a track or competition car, but given the inflated risk, it's one worth having.

By Chris Pollitt