What is Liability Insurance & Why Do I Need It?

by Jerod Blakestad / / May 24, 2021

Here at OpenTrack we field questions about track liability coverage every day: 

  • “Does my personal umbrella policy cover me?”
  • “Everyone at the track signs a waiver so what is my real risk?” 
  • “Could I really be sued from driving on track?”
  • “Will I be held responsible for damaging track property?”
  • “Isn’t there an understanding that everyone is responsible for themselves?”

The answers to these questions are not always straightforward. 

While I am not an attorney (translation: seeking legal advice from your own counsel is encouraged and recommended), I have been working in the insurance industry for over 18 years and have collected a few facts and tips about liability insurance that hopefully you will find helpful:

  1. Does my umbrella insurance cover me at the track?

  2. We have yet to see a single personal umbrella insurance which covers actions at the track. Umbrellas are typically “follow form” insurance policies, meaning they apply only when the policies they sit on top of (home and/or auto) would first cover the loss. Since auto insurance carriers are not providing insurance coverage at the track, the umbrella would not respond either.
  6. What about the waiver I have to sign at the track? Wouldn’t that protect me?

  7. Waiver law remains strong, however, anyone can sue anyone at any time for any reason, regardless of waiver or even fault. In addition, most waivers at the track are designed to primarily protect the track or event host, rather than individual drivers or guests. Most tracks will invoice you if you damage their property, and most of their own waivers include a clause to that effect.
  9. What about the track community’s mutual understanding that everybody is responsible for themselves and their actions?

  10. While there has always been an understanding in track culture that there is risk involved in participating and everyone “is on their own” if something happens, that reasoning will hardly protect you in case an accident DOES happen. We believe in being socially responsible and protecting yourself with insurance. If something happens and it causes financial or physical harm to someone, wouldn’t it be better and easier to have your insurance pick up the bill and make things right on your behalf?

Food for thought… 

Fun fact: OpenTrack actually created our liability policy in response to our members’ requests! 

What questions do you have about liability insurance? Have you had to use your liability coverage at the track? Leave a comment below!



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