For drag racers, finding coverage becomes a long and winding road.
Just about any race car has the potential to cause mayhem, and no one knows that better than "Wild Bill" Horton.
For more than 40 years, Horton's been involved with drag racing--the last 20 years in competitive meets. He's seen all kinds of accidents and, as one of the few independent agents in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. who provides drag racers' property coverage, just as many losses,
Weekdays, Horton is an agent with Meriden, Conn.-based Stone Insurance Agencies. On weekends, he's "Wild Bill," racing an 840-horsepower, 1998 Dan Page hardtail dragster drag·ster
1. An automobile specially built or modified for drag racing.
2. A person who races such an automobile. ,--mild by racing standards, but with more than five times the power of an average street car, he said. (The dragster that plowed recently into a crowd at a charity event in Tennessee, killing six and injuring many, packed close to 3,000 horsepower.)
Horton said the top professional cars in drag racing drag racing
Form of motor racing in which two contestants race side by side from a standing start over a straight quarter-mile strip of pavement. Winners go on to compete against others in their class until only one is left undefeated. , which run on nitromethane ni·tro·meth·ane
A colorless, oily liquid, CH3NO2, used in making dyes and resins, in organic synthesis, as a fuel in race car engines, and as a rocket propellant. , reach 8,000 horsepower, mightier than a diesel electric locomotive. He knows and appreciates what these "rockets on wheels" are capable of: "When you maintain respect for these vehicles it's harder to be surprised by them. While generally docile, they have a way on occasion of reminding you what they truly are."
Insurers have grown to understand the sport quite well. Carriers tend to restrict coverage for damage caused out side of a sanctioned event or drag strip drag strip
A short, straight course or track for drag racing. , such as on a public road where there are no guard mils. Even on a sanctioned race track, property coverage is available only for a fairly steep price, Horton said. Also, automobile and homeowners policies exclude race cars, he added.
"A race car used on public roads is not covered not covered Health care adjective Referring to a procedure, test or other health service to which a policy holder or insurance beneficiary is not entitled under the terms of the policy or payment system–eg, Medicare. Cf Covered. ," Horton said. "The [Tennessee] accident happened on a public road, so if that car was insured trader my policy, we wouldn't be paying for the damage and crash."
Indeed, the property coverage Horton provides, written on a commercial inland marine form through Great American Insurance Co., excludes coverage when the cars are barreling down the track. However, it covers the cars on the drag strips' premises, when they're moving at slow speed in the paddock area, or while being towed in a trailer.
Across the racing industry, liability coverage for individual racers is difficult, if not impossible, to find in nonsanctioned environment, Horton said.
Sanctioned strips carry their own liability insurance, and under rules of the two major drag racing sanctioning bodies--the National Hot Rod Association
The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and International Hot Rod hot rod
Automobile rebuilt or modified for high speed, fast acceleration, or sporty appearance. A wide range of automobiles may be called hot rods, including some of those used in drag racing as well as those used in recreational cruising. Association--drivers sign a waiver making them an additional insured under the track's liability policy..