Originally Posted by lucid
To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in his contract that excludes HPDE coverage. I am pretty sure they denied his claim because they argued that HPDE driving took place on a race course (without making any claims about him actually racing), but I will ask him. He has studied the contract in detail, so there is nothing that he has missed as far as I know.
The thing is that HPDE events are in a gray zone, and the insurance company will try to leverage that as much as it can. I am not aware of any regular car insurance policy that explicitly states coverage for HPDE events. Please let me know if you know of such a company as I will switch over promptly. A contract cannot possibly cover every single driving scenario, so there will always be gray zones. What about jumping over buses for instance (not as an exhibition but as something you do on your own on your private property)? If someone decides to do something with their car that is unusually risky and is not referenced in one way or another in the contract, what does that mean? I understand your example of driving at 120 mph on a public road also falls into that category and would be covered, but that is somehow different from jumping over buses.
It sounds like ignorance on the part of the insurance company about what an HPDE is. Your friend will have an opportunity to explain in court. For my own education, how much of his personal time has he spent on the case?
I'l bet that with a straight face, you can't make an argument that a reasonable person who heard about all the logic an planning involved (assuming a stock car) would not consider jumping a bus to fall under the intentional damage clause of the policy?
I don't think there is a "gray" area in this example.
From my research insurance companies routinely pay for accidents while driving drunk and even less routinely while smoking crack. Most normal people probably consider this type of driving activity also a "gray" zone but the claims seem to be routinely paid without question because they do not fit under an exclusion clause in the contract. I would think that most HPDE claims without clear language disallowing those claims are also routinely paid out. Maybe your friend got unlucky twice. But, if there isn't a clear exclusion in the policy then those that go to court will ultimately get paid out too. Even your friend must feel that way or he wouldn't have risked his legal costs (and maybe the insurance companies too) taking the case to court?
I agree there will be some "pain" getting your money, but I do not plan on totaling my car (I'm not jumping a bus with it
). The odds are your going to drive in 10, 20, 30 or more events before it happens. Sure you could go out on the first event and total your car and your insurer could be a dick and for $400 you could save 10-15 hours of your time. That is a legitimate risk and then HPDE insurance would be a good deal. But at the more realistic HPDE accident rates (for a total loss) you will pay $7,000 ($11,000, $15,000 or more) to an HPDE insurer as opposed to your $1,000 deductible on your regular insurance. I've been to court and it's time consuming and sometimes real boring. But if the contract is "gray" as you say then the insurer will wind up covering your legal costs and damages and I can put up with a degree of hassle to save/make that sort of money. Think of it this way, if you totaled your car would you pay someone $6,000 to $15,000 to save 5-10 talking to a lawyer and then 4-8 hours in court?
I'm not trying to say anyone with HPDE insurance is an idiot. HPDE insurance is a viable option that for a cost and with the right sort of policy wording has the potential to save you some time in recovering your money in the rare case that you total your car. With some policy wording it provides the only opportunity to recover your money in the rare case that you total your car. I just don't think it's necessarily right for everyone because some policies already cover the events (whether the insurance companies admit it or not) and it's very expensive.
Does anyone know of anyone who's filed a claim under HPDE insurance and then been unable to get HPDE insurance any more? How about two claims? I'm curious if they will cut someone off at some point?