WEAR Channel 3 reports a speeding driver lost control of the vehicle and caused a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate I-110. Five vehicles were traveling southbound on I-110 just north of Cervantes Street, according to the FHP. A 19-year-old male was clocked in his Mitsubishi Eclipse speeding at 117mph in a 55 mph zone with a group of other cars that were racing and driving recklessly. Other drivers were also racing prior to the crash. The report states the 19 year old lost control of his vehicle, hit a concrete barrier wall on the east shoulder of I-110 and hit the rear of another racer’s vehicle, a Hyundai Genesis. The impact caused the Hyundai to hit the barrier wall, as well. The initiating racer drove back into the southbound lanes of I-110 where it collided with another racer’s Mitsubishi Eclipse. The crash caused traffic to come to a sudden stop and caused a 33-year-old female’s Hyundai Tiburon to collide with an unknown vehicle. That vehicle left the scene before authorities got there. The initiating vehicle’s driver was arrested for causing the crash and charged with reckless driving resulting in property damage and racing on a highway. He also got a speeding ticket. The other two racers given court dates for racing on a highway. The FHP reports no one involved in the crash was seriously injured.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured in this accident and we have to ask – will there be insurance coverage for their injuries? According to my research, a standard auto or home policy won’t cover any type of racing damage or liability. Common forms of amateur motorsports such as drag racing, autocross, rallies and track days are excluded from regular auto insurance policies. The fine print usually says something like this: “Liability arising from the sponsoring or taking part in any organized or agreed-upon racing or speed contest or demonstration in which your insured car has active participation, or in practice or preparation for any such contest.” The sanctioning body for the type of racing you do may carry liability insurance. However, it will usually be bare bones coverage meant to protect those you injure. Most organizations aren’t in the business of protecting drivers and repairing their vehicles. So, what’s an amateur race car driver to do? If you are going to race at a sanctioned event, then some insurance companies will write policies for you. For example, a $30,000 track-day policy at Leland West (including coverage for damaged guardrails and wreckage removal) costs about $200. Other carriers to investigate include Lockton Motorsports and OnTrackInsurance. Policies are typically “agreed value” — that is, you and the insurance company agree what your car is worth up front, and you pay a premium based on that amount. They typically cover only damage to the car, not any injuries the driver suffers or damage he may inflict on others.
So what should we learn from this tragic incident? Take a pause before drag racing. More likely than not, drag racing is an auto exclusion that your car insurance company might write into your policy. In this case, your car insurance company would not cover you if you are injured while drag racing.