Some information on insuring pit vehicles

NHRA just announced that they’ll offer $300,000 in liability coverage for pit vehicles for $50 per year.  On the face of it, that’s a pretty good deal; in fact I don’t think any private insurance company will offer coverage for that low of a rate.  However, if you have your own policy for this coverage, you may have important coverages that NHRA doesn’t offer. 

First, most separate policies cover your vehicle whereever it is used, not just a covered NHRA event.  If you go camping, or even use the vehicle at the track on a non-race day, you’ll only have coverage if you have your own insurance.

Two, for the most part the coverage won’t apply to occupants of the pit vehicle.  Uninsured motorists coverage covers bodily injury to you, family members, and occupants if you’re hit by someone with no insurance, or less coverage than you.  Medical payments covers the same parties, regardless of fault.  Both of these coverages can be important if someone is hurt.

Three, the NHRA policy provides no coverage for the vehicle itself.  That can be covered under a separate policy or it can be covered (as many are) on a dragracersinsurance policy along with your race car and trailer.

While its hard to generalize, the company I use for insuring the pit vehicle liability is Progressive, and most of the policies I have placed with them for pit vehicles are $75 per year. Other companies that may write these policies are Foremost, Geico, and American Modern.  My advice would be get at least one quote other than the NHRA option, look at the coverage differences, and decide what is best for you.  Remember that price is important, but is not the end-all; the purpose of insurance is to cover the losses that matter to you.

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Friends who kicked butt in 2011

It was a really good year for some clients of Drag Racer’s Insurance.  There’s no way I’ll be able to list everyone that had a great year; I’m sure there’s a lot I don’t even know about!  But there are some I do.

Let’s start with the best….Joe Santangelo, the NHRA National Champion in stock eliminator and also top ten in super stock, and number 2 in both classes in division 1.  Joe knows that with the amount of travel needed to finish that high nationally, its a good idea to be protected.  Also finishing high nationally was my old friend Mike Sawyer, #2 in Super Gas, and he and dad Ray finished 2 and 3 in division 1.

My friend and backgammon opponent Todd Veney finished #7 in TAFC driving for Jay Blake, and was as high as #3 during the season before hitting a dry spell.  Clint Thompson was #11 in TAFC, and John Finke #15 in a tough Top Alcohol Dragster category.  Old friend Eric Lourie finished #2 to Frank Manzo here in division 1 winning a tie breaker with Todd Veney.  I like to tell people that when Eric got his first competition license, I was the first guy who ran against him when he was cleared to race other people!  I recall I beat him to the finish line that time but I’m sure that was the only time that happened.

On the bracket racing front, Jimmy Harrison Sr. won the division 1 bracket finals and got to race at Pomona, losing the first round by .004.  Also Derek Degnitz won the IHRA bracket finals in their north central division and won a ton of other races this year.

Congratulations to all my clients and friends for having such great years; I hope you all enjoy the holidays and have continued success in 2012.  The Mayans say the world will end in December, so we all might as well have a great time racing.

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Paranoia is sometimes justified

Everyone who purchases race car insurance is concerned about theft losses.  While total theft losses are infrequent, they are devastating both financially and mentally.   From what I have seen, the thieves are smart, efficient and well-organized, and unfortunately, usually they’re successful in their efforts.

I have spoken extensively with every victim of theft in the history of this program.  In retrospect, they all told me that they realized after the fact that they had been cased before the actual theft took place.  So if you get that uneasy feeling, don’t shrug it off.  Take extra security measures, change your routines, and contact your local authorities for help.  These thieves don’t want to be caught, and they’re looking for easy targets; make their lives difficult and maybe they’ll look for an easier mark.

There are two other tips I’d like to pass on.  Once a  trailer is stolen, while it may be distinctive on the ground its just a grey box from the air.  Consider taking some weather resistant paint and climbing up on your roof and painting your license place numbers in very large numbers.  Thieves won’t know this, and even if your local police force doesn’t have a helicopter, you could rent a private plane to go up and look for it yourself!  Second, while local alarms have some limited value (and we offer a discount for all trailer alarms), I personally think a Lojack or similar tracking system is the way to go to help get your stuff back.

Race cars are so unique in nature and take so much time to sort out (just converters alone can drive you crazy…) that it’s always best to keep your current ride and not rely on an insurance payment.  And when dealing with thieves, a little prevention can go a long ways towards keeping your ride.


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How about that CRAZY weather?

Welcome to my new blog at  I’ve wanted to do this for some time to address various topic relating to insurance and risk management for drag racing cars.  I’ll start with a topic that’s been near and dear to us here in Connecticut this year, the weather!  What a crazy year.

We started off the year with huge snowfalls collapsing roofs all over the place.  Then we had our first tornado in over seventy years, followed by the hottest day in history in early July.  Just recently, we felt a 5.8 earthquake that happened in Virginia, and days later we sat through Hurricane Irene.  And I know the rest of the country has experienced weather travails as well.

When people call me about insuring their race cars, they ask most frequently about theft and towing accidents.  Very rarely do they ask about the weather or natural disasters.  But these occurences can (and do) cause losses to racing operations, and they are covered under our policy.  A few examples:  a total loss to a trailer this year when the roof collapsed due to the weight of snow.  We paid several partial losses to trailers from hail damage and flying debris from severe storms.  A large awning attached to a trailer was ripped off as the crew tried to dismantle it because of an impending wind/thunderstorm.  These were all covered losses!  Some wonder why you need coverage on your equipment the year round, regardless of where the equipment is.  These are only a few examples.

That’s all for now, and thanks for reading.  Check back soon for regular updates!

Bill Horton

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