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Thread: I Crashed My Car on Track and File an Insurance Claim....

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Default I Crashed My Car on Track and File an Insurance Claim....

    Lakewood man suspected of crashing car on racetrack, then lying to insurer

    Andres Hernandez, 36, of Lakewood is accused of auto insurance fraud. (Submitted photo)

    By Phillip Zonkel, Long Beach Press Telegram


    LAKEWOOD >> A Lakewood man crashed his German sports sedan at a Southern California racetrack earlier this year but told his auto insurer the accident happened in the local mountains, lying his way to a near-$65,000 payout, prosecutors allege.

    Andres Hernandez, 36, allegedly wrecked his vehicle while trying to get the best lap time when he spun out and hit the wall at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway May 15, according to a press release from the California Department of Insurance issued Tuesday. But he told his insurer he crashed his 2015 BMW M3 on Angeles Crest Highway, the department alleges.

    He allegedly claimed the collision occurred on the highway because his personal auto policy did not provide coverage for racing, said Madison Voss, a spokeswoman with the Insurance Department. His insurance company paid out $64,860 on the claim.

    Hernandez was arrested Dec. 1 at his job at South Bay BMW in Torrance and eventually posted his $45,000 bail, Voss said.

    Hernandez, 36, is facing two felonies: one count of insurance fraud and one count of grand theft of personal property, said Greg Risling, a spokesman with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court to enter a plea Dec. 23.

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    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    Speed Ventures agershon's Avatar
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    Oh boy. A felony ain't nothing to mess around with.

    That was during the NASA event btw.

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    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
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    My brother works for a major auto insurer. They take fraud seriously. Very seriously. They go for the kill if they can prove it. IIRC, about half of your premium is covering fraud. In other words, **** thieves.
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    I have "heard" that track day crashes can be covered if you are:

    a. Honest about the how/where/when
    b. report it as an educational event rather than RACING

    Racing to me implies timing, trophies, winning/losing etc... while educational courses could be say defensive driving, car control.... whatever. That being said if you crash your car into a light pole while attending a car control seminar in a parking lot your vehicle should still be covered to the limit of your policy right?

    Meanwhile If you crash your car on track and are honest about where it occurred and simply say it was an advanced driving course taught in a controlled environment shouldn't your car still be covered? I mean to normal people a track day is not racing. How is that any different than someone with a truck that rolls it messing around on a sand dune or on a trail off road?

    Does anyone know if there is any truth to this?

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    It depends on your insurer and policy. Call your agent and ask.

    There are many insurers that now have specific exclusions for any on track claims. I believe Geico and Progressive are among them? Note - Geico reportedly supplies Police departments with Lidar guns for greater enforcement (I doubt their motive is safety).

    It used to be that Statefarm allowed for HPDE events that were not timed (no transponder). I had a candid conversation with my agent years ago to confirm my coverage. I'm not sure if this is still the case, and I haven't had a street car on track since 2008.

    I've known of several people who have filed successful claim for an HPDE event, being truthful about the circumstances. I've also heard of people asking the organization to take them off the timing sheets in preparation of a claim. Note - these days live timing is everywhere and it's easy to for insurance companies to check entry lists online that provide a date/time, plus there are plenty of track day photography websites online that also indicate date/time.

    My two cents - call your agent and find out where you stand for HPDE events (they won't penalize you for asking). If insurance matters to you don't wait to find out. There are companies that will write a policy for a specific HPDE event, but most people don't find the prices palatable. Whatever you do, don't lie.
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    Senior Member JulioG's Avatar
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    Depends on the insurer/policy small letter. When I crashed at WSIR/T3, I called Geico and they told me "tough luck". A few people suggested I lie to the insurance company as in OP's story, but I thought that to be too risky of a proposition...

    Can't afford to drive your car off a cliff? Don't track it, or get 1-day HPDE insurance from Lockton et al
    Last edited by JulioG; 12-09-2015 at 05:47 PM.
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    The best thing to do is request a copy of your policy in full. By calling, or emailing to ask if your covered, you run the risk of an answer you may not like. At that point the contention can be made that "we said during our conversation (or in this email)".

    I know my policy covers me on track so long as the event was "not timed, or competitive in nature". In a nut shell, an incident during a DE would be covered, but an incident during TT/w2w etc would not. This is also contingent upon my vehicle being registered, and inspected, which may make it hard for someone looking for coverage on a dedicated race car while testing/open track/de etc.
    Last edited by CooperS7777; 12-09-2015 at 09:37 PM.

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    dirty smack talker hakeem's Avatar
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    Wonder how they found out?
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    Senior Member Silversprint's Avatar
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    A couple of years ago I hosted a track day at streets of willow. The event was listed as driver education with the track and we provided no timing. A driver had a bad off and damaged his car. He was up front with his insurance. The insurance company called me to ask some questions about the event. The insurance paid the claim.
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    AROSC Comp. Director Slaysman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hakeem View Post
    Wonder how they found out?
    Probably through the dealership. If he wrecked his BMW that badly, and probably got some discounts, he would have had it fixed by his dealership. For that kind of money, the insurance company might want to take a closer look. Adjuster sees some track mods, looks at the damage, goes "Hmmm...". Then again, he might have bragged about it to one too many people.
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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    There are pictures from the event showing his license plate. Also his registration was on record. Not hard for them to find out. Guy is an idiot for defrauding insurance company. Now he is going to do some time.

    I also hate people who track their cars, break something, then go to dealership for warranty. aka sponsored by car dealer.
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    Senior Member 48yota's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pure EvoIX View Post
    I also hate people who track their cars, break something, then go to dealership for warranty. aka sponsored by car dealer.
    Subaru caught on to this when many were coming in wanting warranty on the WRX box.

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    Senior Member albertg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silversprint View Post
    A couple of years ago I hosted a track day at streets of willow. The event was listed as driver education with the track and we provided no timing. A driver had a bad off and damaged his car. He was up front with his insurance. The insurance company called me to ask some questions about the event. The insurance paid the claim.
    Yes, best to just tell the truth. They might cover anyway.
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    Track Whore Pure EvoIX's Avatar
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    The truth will set you free. You will also have a clear conscious that you did the right thing. Don't track something you aren't willing to push off a cliff or leave it balled up at the track.
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    I have all-state, and when I looked through my policy, it stated that any incident on a closed course would not be covered. For those of you who do have coverage for a non-timed event, I'd like to know who your carrier is. I'm sure there will be a day I decide to take my daily driver on track, and I'd consider switching companies to one that would provide coverage if the premium wasn't too much higher.
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    Captain Planet tq3z's Avatar
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    Just get 1 day insurance from a track carrier. It's not too expensive unless you're driving something ridiculous, in which case you can afford it since you own something ridiculous.

    Obviously you're not going to insure your Miata.

    Some people are at the track literally every weekend - if that's you, you should be able to write off whatever car you're tracking. And some people go that often with a car they can't afford to write off.

    I think the latter case is a case of retardation/lack of common sense. It's okay to not drive on track every week. You won't get rusty, it'll give you time to plan around what you want to work on, so you can itemize your areas of improvement and tackle them in a coherent, and logical manner.

    Or well, you know - just go anyways because being HPDE master of the day is life.
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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Funny that the insurance companies encourage being awful on the street doing things this way.

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    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    Insurance related, not pertaining to car coverage...I looked into Aflac as an insurance supplement to my healthcare. They specifically told me they would not cover me if I was injured on a closed course, but would if I injured myself riding around on ATVs out in the desert. It made no sense to me.
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    Spec Backhoe Champion redtopz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Force McCocken View Post
    Insurance related, not pertaining to car coverage...I looked into Aflac as an insurance supplement to my healthcare. They specifically told me they would not cover me if I was injured on a closed course, but would if I injured myself riding around on ATVs out in the desert. It made no sense to me.
    Good point, and that reminds me of my life insurance policy. I added a State Farm policy after I started racing w2w and it brought me from ulra-preferred (or whatever) to the level of a diabetic smoker for insurance purposes. This year we changed my policy to Met Life and they didn't ding me for racing at all and my payments are literally 30% of what my State Farm payments were. Moral is shop around!
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    Quote Originally Posted by tq3z View Post
    Just get 1 day insurance from a track carrier. It's not too expensive unless you're driving something ridiculous, in which case you can afford it since you own something ridiculous.
    I'm familiar with lockton. But the convenience of being covered for a "driver's education" track event with one's auto insurance policy (assuming it's competitively priced) is undeniable.
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