What happens when the V8 super cars knock on your door?

Dear Prof. Manning,

I find myself in a difficult situation and have not been able to get any clear guidance, except to contact you. I’ll try and keep it short mainly because I am now thoroughly confused and overwhelmed.

We live in Newcastle, our home is an 1890’s Terrace listed on the State Heritage Register.

We have the V8 Supercar Race touted to be heading up our Street. The track will be 3 meters from our home.  This has never been done before and all the National and International Standards have based their health and safety recommendations on a distance of 30 meters from the track, not 3 meters. I have not been able to get clear information of how Supercars will “adapt” the depth and type of safety barriers, to protect our home, given we are so close to the track.

Supercars and Destination NSW have told us very little except there will be no compensation and that any insurance will be up to us, individually. Council just don’t answer emails.

I’ve spoken to our Home insurer (NRMA) who said our policy still stands but that damage to our home will be done on a “case by case” basis as they have nothing to compare it to. They can’t put anything in writing and they won’t guarantee that damage will be assessed in favour of cover. They then referred me to The Insurance Council, who straight away, sent me on to a phone number for National Insurance Broker register, who then sent me onto The Markey Group in Newcastle, who then gave me advice to speak with LMI Group.

So far, no one can give me any guidance on protection for my Home or the people in it, during construction of the race track which will be extensive or during the days of the race every year. I have not been able to get any quotes, no guarantee’s and very little constructive advice because as they all said, they have nothing to base their advice or cost on and no one is sure who to send out to us, to do a quote. Therefore, who would they send to give us a loss assessment if there is damage and then what would they base that assessment decision on, if this situation has no comparison? Will this car race situation increase the cost of our insurance policies in the future? No answers to these questions either.

Would you have any advice? If we are to pay for an assessor I’d like to know they were the right person to ask. There are many others in our situation.

Kind regards

A very individual situation for this reader, I responded as follows:

 

Hello,
As someone who handles insurance claims and drafts policy wordings, In the first instance I know of no exclusion in the policy that would exclude damage caused by a car accident whether it be a sanctioned race or not.

I checked the two most common NRMA home policy wordings and as with even the most basic householders policy covers impact by motor vehicles, animals, aircraft etc.

The same would apply to any home contents, the fence and any motor vehicles you own that are comprehensively insured.

If there was damage your insurer would then have what is known as subrogated rights back against the organisers of the race and or the council or anyone else who may be said to have been negligent in the accident occurring. Having said this, they may have protection against a recovery action by legislation. I have not researched this, but doubt any government would grant this.

When they speak of no compensation I think this can only be in respect of inconvenience as a result of the race, not physical loss, damage or injury.

You would have to pay any policy excess in the first instance but being a home policy I suspect this will be minor and I would expect but no guarantee that the race organisers would meet any uninsured losses that may occur despite what they say to avoid the bad and or reduce the poor publicity. In my experience the organisers themselves will have public liability insurance in place and they will carry out their own detailed risk management. Worksafe NSW may also be involved.

While you can never say never, I would expect that all the safety standards would be followed but at the end of the day, you need to feel safe and you need to assess your own risk for the safety of you and your family while the cars are whizzing around.

I hope this has eased your mind in respect of your insurance program.

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