Written by Steve Turner
Photography by the FSC staff and courtesy of Mark Anderson
It‘s undeniable that drag racing flirts with danger. Despite tracks and sanctioning bodies taking every possible precaution to ensure safety, there is an element of risk when launching a high-horsepower machine and blasting it down the racetrack. Most passes are clean and mean, but every now and then things go awry.
In these instances, racers are often left to put the pieces together on their own, as most insurance policies aren’t designed for on-track coverage. Today, however, the team at Laris Motorsports Insurance offers a wide-ranging portfolio of insurance coverage’s built specifically for racers.
“We are the only real motorsports insurance coverage around. The Laris Insurance family realized that the ‘classic car coverages’ that other companies offer are limited. They only cover transporting your vehicle and that’s about it. They offer a limited trailer and paddock coverage that is made for car shows. Those coverages are not covering the race car in the pits/staging lane, etc.,” Mark Anderson, sales agent at Laris Motorsport Insurance, told us.
The Laris family began racing as a hobby and that turned into a professional NHRA drag racing team, so they are fully aware of just how much racers put into competing. From the cost of building race cars to the expense of traveling to the racetrack, owning and supporting a race car at any level means a large investment in time and money. The company took its experience to heart when developing its Motorsports insurance.
“Laris wanted to have a coverage that was broad for of- track coverage. When we say your car is covered anywhere in the U.S…” Anderson explained. “That means anywhere — even in your garage at home! That’s right, most racers don’t realize that your race car is not covered at home. Your homeowner’s policy will not cover it for theft/fire/physical damage, etc. If there is a claim, it is not a regular vehicle that they consider safe to be in your home garage. We cover your prized possession everywhere!”
When you purchase insurance for anything, the fineprint is what really matters. You might not pay attention to all the verbiage until you really need the insurance, and that can lead to disappointment.
“Other companies have ‘off-key’ exclusions where there is no coverage when the vehicle is running. They also have horsepower restrictions, location restrictions, etc. So there are a lot of differences between us and other companies,” Anderson said. “Lastly, but important to us, is that we are giving back to our fellow racers as well. We have a contingency program for the NHRA/NMCA/NMRA racers who win or runner-up at an event. We feel that nothing is more important than racers (who happen to own an insurance company) show racers/clients our appreciation and seeing their success.”
While the fact that Laris is supporting the NMCA and NMRA series is just one sign that the company built its offerings with racers in mind. While coverage for racing on track is great, the company has taken all the other facets of racing into consideration when building its Motorsports insurance portfolio.
“We wanted to do is offer several coverages under the same ‘Motorsports Insurance Coverage Package.’ We offer great coverage for motorhomes, toterhomes, trailers, stackers, golf carts, and extra engines/transmissions, etc,” Anderson explained. “We also offer contents insurance as well. A lot of racers don’t understand that their trailer insurance does not cover the contents inside. The amount of tools/equipment we all have in our trailers that would not be covered by those policies is huge.”
Buying insurance for your racing program might not be the first thing that comes to mind when prepping for a race. It won’t make your car faster, set any records, or earn any championship points. However, it might just give you a bit more peace of mind while not costing as much as you might expect.
“Racers might be surprised how broad and affordable our coverage is, and how simple and transparent we make the process. We can quote and bind a client in a day. Also the fact that we pay back in contingency surprises them,” Anderson said. “Since we just started this program with the NMCA/NMRA, we have already had several racers win contingency just from the first race in Bradenton,” Anderson said. “We also do our best to promote the racers and share their success on social media. The most important benefit they have is the peace of mind that they are covered by a company that has been in business since 1939 and owned by racers.”
Anderson will attend races this season to spread the word about the Laris offerings, and supporting racers, which shows just how committed the Motorsports insurance program.
“As a racer and an insurance provider I feel like this is the most important asset of our program. We know exactly what we are insuring. We are not agents sitting in a cubicle in New York getting a call about a claim who know nothing about your vehicle,” Anderson said. “We are at the racetrack every weekend and completely accessible at any moment. We understand the value of the race car and all the situations/surroundings/events that you participate in with the vehicle. You can rest assured that a claim on your race car will be handled promptly.”
Though the program was new to the NMCA and NMRA series at this writing, racers are already taking advantage of protecting their investments. A notable example is perennial NMCA Detroit TrueTrac Nostalgia Muscle Car winner, Andy Warren.
“I have always kept a classic car insurance on the Caprice over the years, and have looked into a few of the motorsports insurance options over the years,” Warren said. “Other companies were asking for upwards to 10 percent of total value annually and 25-plus-percent deductible. I’m a 9-5 working sportsman class racer. I cannot afford that.”
With eight championships under his belt, Warren is one of the most successful racers on the circuit, which means he has attended a number of races over the years. That means he has traveled around the country with his car and support equipment for far more time than he has spent ripping down the quarter mile.
“It is something I should have done a long time ago. We travel thousands of miles every year to race and anything can happen — accidents, theft, you name it. Having all of your investments (my life investments) covered gives you a great peace of mind. If the unfortunate event happens, you have a company by your side to assure you are taken care of and back on the track without financially having to start from scratch,” Warren said. “The main thing that reeled me in to Laris was that the company is run by racers. In your policy (unlike others) you can insure the chassis, the engine, the transmission, your trailer, your pit vehicle, and your tools — all in one policy. It’s amazing. Not to mention, the annual coverage is very affordable, and the deductible is great.”
Warren also pilots one of Scott Libersher’s many cars in NMCA Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo, so he has a lot of machinery in play and much of it is getting the Laris treatment.
“I currently have the off-track policy on my Caprice, four-wheeler, trailer, and all of its contents,” Warren added. “We will also have an on-track policy on the COPO Camaro that I am driving for Scott Libersher.”
“They understand how the racetrack operates. The basic insurance company assumes that your are racing as soon as the car touches the ground off of the trailer, which puts so many limits on your coverage. Laris understands that there are certain areas of the event where this happens, and anything from accidents to an act of god can happen in the pits,” Warren added. “We all have been there… windstorms, flying nitrous bottles, fender benders, and parts stolen. We even had a tornado pass by at NMCA/NMRA Joliet in 2006. With Laris everything is covered with the off-track policy, except your race car when you pull into the water box until you make the turn off. If you have an on-track policy, you are golden all the way around.”
On the NMRA side, G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock stalwart Jacob Lamb added Laris Motorsport Insurance to his racing program because the company is offering something that fits his needs.
“I have never had motorsports insurance before. I never felt other insurance companies were covering the cars like I thought they should,” Lamb said. “I chose them because of this being a family run business and with them being racers they know what we need. It’s not some guy behind a desk that doesn’t know anything about racing or the cars he is covering.”
“Laris having Mark Anderson make all of the NMCA/NMRA events is great,” Warren added. “It’s nice having your agent there in case of a mishap, and he’s a pretty cool guy to hang out with too.”
A racer himself with a history in classes like NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock, Anderson definitely has first-person experience with what goes into a racing program and why having affordable insurance coverage is reassuring.
“I have had so many people amazed by the affordability. A lot of them tell me if they knew how affordable it was they would have had coverage years earlier. Every vehicle has its specifics to find its value and premium. My personal NMRA Factory Stock Mustang is less than an NHRA Comp Eliminator car valued. Compared to the ‘other’ carriers that offer very limited coverage for around the same premium makes it a no-brainer,” Anderson said. “So many racers are paying ‘classic car’ companies year after year premiums with next to nothing as far as coverage. We tell everyone we know that if you ‘think’ you have coverage off-track everywhere, or your agent has told you that, get it in writing! It’s just not commonly known by racers that they are not covered like they think they are. That’s why Laris Motorsports Insurance was created!”
Because the coverage is available individually or bundled together, racers can select just what they need to meet the needs of their program.
“I have off-track only. We drive around 12,000 miles a year and I felt like if something was going to happen it would be off the track. On the track there are only two crazy people to worry about and off-track there are thousands,” Lamb explained. “…Mark Anderson is at all the races and I can talk to him face to face. Paying Contingency is showing us they care about us and want to give something back. This is about racers helping racers.”
Indeed, the aforementioned contingency support is definitely a surprise and delight feature of the Laris Motorsport Insurance coverage. Not only does the company help customers recover from a mishap, but they also actually help winning racers fund their programs.
“The contingency support is a great thing! If you work hard and win some races, you could pay your policy off in no time. It just shows that Laris cares about the racers,” Warren added. “This year has been a tough one with racer and contingency sponsorship. Laris stepping up gives the racer an option to purchase something worthwhile you can use without changing your car’s setup, and get some contingency prize money out of it.”
So if you have never considered insuring your racing program or just haven’t found coverage that fits, Laris Motorsports insurance has you in mind. The company offers coverage for on-track physical damage, off-track physical damage, trailer tools/parts, owner/sponsor liability, and special events.
True Street, Too
To offer coverage for all-out race cars is definitely, Laris Motorsports Insurance did its research to put together a portfolio that makes a business case and fits racer needs.
“We spent a long time studying the accident reports with the NHRA a few years ago to determine what classes and vehicles we were comfortable insuring on track,” Anderson explained. “Also the fact that we are racers really pushed us to offer on- track coverage for our fellow racers. We offer on-track physical damage coverage from accidents to a large number of classes in the NHRA/NMCA/NMRA organizations. More classes are available than I can mention. There are very few that are excluded.”
One class that is included is definitely a special one. While offering coverage for all-out race cars is undoubtedly cool, there are others that might need it. Both series feature some of the quickest street cars around running down the track, and those high-dollar machines aren’t covered by their street policies while they are in competition.
“We are excited to announce on-track coverage for the True Street class only at NMCA/NMRA events during the year. Being in the controlled and professional environment that is the NMRA/NMCA fits our parameters,” Anderson said. “We know some of these competitors have enormous amounts of money in their True Street cars and want to offer protection for them on track.”
So now you can enter True Street with the peace of mind that your street machine is covered if you sign up with Laris.
Laris Motorsports Insurance