01/07/13 12:45

Nürburgring Insurance on Public Days

Nürburgring Insurance for Third Party claims is treated differently depending on whether the day is a pure "Track Day" or "Public Day" (which is what the Germans call "Touristenfahrten").

In Germany their "normal" road traffic law applies to the whole of the Nordschleife so a driver / rider is permitted by law to drive as fast as he likes providing he is always in control of his car / bike. The driver / rider should adjust speed according to weather conditions and other road traffic. And with numerous advisory and mandatory road signs on the route there are even some speed restricted parts of the Nordschleife. For example there is a 30 kmh limit on the first 200 metres from the main entrance and a 90 kmh limit on the approach to the Adenau Bridge exit at Breidsheid. The remainder of the track (ie most of it) has no speed limit and is "de-restricted"

To drive or ride on the Nordschleife the General Conditions that you sign state that racing and speed record attempts are forbidden. You must drive / ride on the right of the circuit and only overtake on the left. The local police will investigate collisions and will prosecute where blame is found – in accordance with local road traffic laws. If you do not have a valid German Insurance policy (which is unlikely if you are travelling from the UK and don't have your car / bike registered in Germany) you must carry proof of insurance and by this what is expected is THIRD PARTY Insurance.

Under UK law a UK insurer is simply unable to exclude minimum level cover (Third Party) anywhere in an EU member state - where insurance is mandatory. This means that any clause in an insurance policy that attempts to exclude this mandatory cover has no effect. So that would seem to answer everything then? Right? Errrrr not quite…

Be warned - more than likely you policy will state that if the insurer is obliged to meet a claim it otherwise would not pay then the insurer is entitled to reclaim the settlement from the driver / rider. This means if they did pay out on a £1m third party injury claim – by law your regular motor insurers could seek reimbursement from you! That is scary stuff isn't it?

BMW Cars on the Nurburgring Race Track

Nurburgring Insurance for Public Days - What the UK Insurance Ombudsman Had to Say

The UK Insurance Ombudsman made a final decision in 2010 regarding a case concerning the Nürburgring Nordschleife. It was determined that the Nordschleife as a touristenfahrten (PUBLIC DAY) is a "prepared course". The policy in question excluded use of a vehicle on such a "course". This was held to be both "fair" and "reasonable" - especially given the increased risks associated with driving in such "any speed" places. The insurer met all third party liabilities as they are required to do by EU law.

However, the driver was deemed to be acting outside the terms and conditions of the policy. The Ombudsman stated that UK and European law means the insurers have to provide the third party cover - even if their policyholders are using the insured vehicle in a manner which invalidates their own-damage cover.

So What Does This Mean?

If you have a UK motor policy and are planning on a public day only at The Ring, you MUST check with your insurers if Nürburgring is or is not covered. They will probably say "No". If you ignore this and go and injury someone anyway then by law the insurers will still have to pick up the tab – but beware - there is nothing in law stopping them coming after you for contribution or recovery. Waving your motor insurance certificate around to the man on the gate as you enter the circuit will technically be a valid policy of insurance for third party bodily injury or property damage - but just be aware of what you might be letting yourself into.

Would an Insurer Really Try and Recover Their Losses Against Me?

They could do.

So Do I Still Need a Separate Track Day Insurance for Nürburgring?

Yes. The track day insurance we provide is for PHYSICAL damage to YOUR car / bike. This will almost certainly not be something your insurers will stump up for. There is no EU law that makes your existing insurers cover the losses you suffer because you lost control. If your car / bike is damaged who is going to pay the bill? If you damage someone else's car or injure someone else - this is what your road insurers may be pretty miffed about having to shell out for.

If by chance your road insurers say they are happy to cover the physical damage aspect - check how your no claims bonus could be affected. By having a separate track day policy any claim you make on our policy should significantly lessen any damage to your well earned NCB.

Nürburgring Insurance on Track Days

This is a very different scenario when the Nordschleife is closed to the public and moves into the realms of a private track day – and all bets are off. There is no third party cover that your regular motor insurer can or will provide and there is no EU law that compels them to do so either.

Our policies do not cover third party damage either and with the exception of some track day insurance providers being able to extend their cover to a bit of armco damage, no other track day insurance providers have yet ventured into the realms of third party cover for track day participants. You are on your own. Pure and simple. This would be the same for any track day, any circuit - and this applies to everybody.

For those who consider Nürnberg and Nürburgring to be the same, the latter is where many have visited and inflicted damage on Armco, damaging their cars / bikes and sometimes themselves in the process. Nikki Lauda's infamous F1 accident is one reason why we are doing what we are doing and providing track day insurance. It is dangerous. The circuit is not to be confused with the charming city of Nürnberg in the German state of Bavaria that was popular for a while with the aforementioned Lancasters - life was different then - but this is why we only have Nürburgring in our quotation forms in case you were wondering...

For a more information regarding Nürburgring Track Day / Public Day Insurance please read our article "Nürburgring: Europe's Greatest Race Track?".

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