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By: Robert Janis

Insuring An ATV Event

KTM 450 XC Sport ATV
KTM 450 XC Sport ATV

Okay, now we have some idea on how to insure our personal ATVs (Insuring an ATV). But what if you are planning an event like say a race or just a plain, mundane ride? Can you obtain liability insurance coverage?
The answer to that question is yes. There are many companies that will write coverage for an event including racing or rides. Two such companies are K&K Insurance Group, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Wisenberg Motorsports in Houston, Texas. K&K can cover non-sanctioned events as well as events that are sanctioned or produced by the World Powersports Association (WSPA) and Wisenberg covers racing events and non-racing events sanctioned by the American Motorcyclists Association/All Terrain Vehicle Association.

Events That Are Covered

Events covered by K&K include demonstrations, ATV races, motorsports races, road courses, specialty motorsports events, snowmobile competitions, and racing associations. Wisenberg Motorsports covers events that are sanctioned by a group like the AMA or the ATVA.

According to Doug Morris, director of the All Terrain Vehicle Association, the first step to getting coverage is getting your event sanctioned by the AMA/ATVA. The procedure starts with filling out an application to become an AMA promoting organization. The application can be downloaded from the American Motorcyclists Association’s website  It is a very simple one page application that asks a variety of questions. Obviously, you will have to provide the name of the group putting on the event, the address of the track where the event will be held, whether it is a motocross, off-road, or track race, and whether just ATVs, motorcycles or both are to participate in the event.

Once you are a chartered promoter with AMA/ATVA, you can sanction your event and apply for insurance coverage. Again, you need to fill out a simple sanction and separate insurance which you can obtain from the AMA website The application will ask you to define what kind of event you want to insure -- Motocross/Arena or Stadium Cross, Class 1A, Class 1, Class 2; Class 4 Supermoto, Road Riding, drag, speedway; road riding events with more than 1,000 entrants; Dirt Track (mile, half a mile, ST, TT), Enduro, Grand Prix, Ice Racing, Hare Scramble, Ice Race, Road Race, or speed; Observed Trials, Trail Ride/Off-Road Poker Run, Dual Sport, Field Meet, or Road Riding Events; or Bike Show, Open House, Swap Meet, Cruise-In (non-riding events). The application also asks if your event is for one day or multiple days and whether it includes a practice. They will insure a practice as part of the overall coverage. And you can also get coverage that includes camping, set up, and teardown for an additional 10 percent of the entire event premium.
And, as you can see, just about any event that can include an ATV can be insured. The difference is that the premiums are more expensive for the racing events than the non-racing events. “For example, insurance for a motocross event for a million dollar liability policy starts at about $920 a day,” said Morris. “For a non-racing event like a trail ride, the premium cost is $161 per a one million dollar policy. A non-racing event costs so much less than a racing event because it is less risky.”

Morris said that the location of the event does not matter when the policy is written. They would like you to apply for insurance about 90 days before the event. This is mostly for publicity reasons. The associations have many different types of publications and they want an opportunity to promote the event through them. “The American Motorcyclists Magazine goes to 285,000 people and the ATVA has a newsletter that goes out to all of it members and you will also be listed on the AMA and ATVA websites,” said Morris.

This insurance is spectator and participant legal liability insurance, said Morris. It does not cover the individual entrant’s medical or property. “To cover this they need to get insurance on their own,” said Morris. He suggested that ATV riders need fire and extended coverage for their ATV as well as personal medical coverage.
The coverage for a non-racing event includes liability for the land owner and producer of the event and also covers individuals. So, if an accident should occur during say a club ride, the producer of the event, and the owner of the land on which the event took place plus the offender are covered. Morris said that most policies would only insure the producer and the landowner, not the participants.

Kawasaki's KFX450R
Kawasaki's KFX450R

“Spectators of racing and non-racing events are also covered,” said Morris. “If it is a speed-oriented event like a motocross, hair scramble, etc., then an ambulance must be on site.  For trail rides, poker rides or other events like that no ambulance need be on site,” said Morris.

Moreover, there needs to be fencing along the perimeter of the track so that non-participating spectators cannot get on the track. Yet, it is not required for an agent to visit the site and do an inspection of the track or course.

Morris pointed out that the AMA/ATVA searches out the best possible source for insurance, in price, coverage and reliability every few years. However, they have had an on-going relationship with Wisenberg Motorsports for several years and recently renewed it for 2008.

“The AMA has been around for 85 years and needs to have a company that has an A+ rating,” said Morris. “We’ve got a lot at stake, and our promoters and riders do to.” So, since a relationship has developed between AMA/ATVA and Wisenberg, the AMA/ATVA knows what’s expected of the promoters and the event location in order to get coverage, and Wisenberg trusts them in doing the proper things.

Doug Morrissey, Safety Director of the World Powersports Association (WPSA), is responsible for securing insurance for WPSA sanctioned events.  As previously stated, the organization uses K&K Insurance and is not sanctioned by AMA. WPSA has been sanctioning powersports events for more than 10 years.

Morrissey pointed out that the insurance company would like to see a layout of the track and would want race event producers to include photos of the track and the proximity of fencing as far as the track and spectators are concerned. He also noted that the insurance company wants to get an estimate of the number of spectators who may be attending the event. “This is only the second year we’ve been insuring ATV racing events, so we are still trying to get a handle on how many spectators come out to witness an ATV race,” said Morrissey. He added that the insurance company wants at least professional paramedics or EMTs on site and under some circumstances and ambulance. “We always have EMTs on site who travel with our staff,” said Morrissey.

“Our EMT/ALS partner is a company called Trauma Care Emergency Services, Inc., who are specialists in motorsports injuries and racing of all types,” continued Morrissey. “With a combined experience of more than 10 years in the field of power sports racing, we have tailored our equipment, vehicles, and training to meet the needs of the racing industry. We provide an array of specialized tools and vehicles that through our years of experience have proven to be an invaluable resource. In most cases we have gear that most traditional emergency services usually do not, or cannot afford to carry that we feel is a benefit to have trackside for riders and spectators alike. Another benefit to having the same Track Response Team at every event is that it helps build a level of trust with the riders, teams and families. “People like the comfort of seeing the same medics at each event just as they like the comfort of seeing their normal doctor at home,” said McClain and Wheels.
“In most cases ambulance transport is not needed due to the fact that injuries encountered at power sports events typically require stabilization and transport by personal vehicle, continued Morrissey.  “In the event they encounter an injury that requires ambulance transport, it takes time to assess, treat and stabilize the injured rider. In that time frame we’ve already activated local emergency services for an ambulance and any other resources needed if not already on site.

“Our staff of EMTs who are experienced with ATV racing events research every site we race at which we race to determine if local ambulance response time is within the 5-10 minute window we’ve established as a maximum allowable time for travel,” said Morrissey. “We coordinate with the local emergency services at every facility in an attempt to plan any possible scenario and communication procedures that we may need to utilize in the event of an emergency. We encourage the local emergency services personnel to come out and stand-by if they have resources available, and in some cases have an air ambulance service on site.”

Lee Geiling is with K&K Insurance, the company that insures WPSA racing events. He noted that the event must first be reviewed to determine if it would be eligible for one of its motorsports insurance programs. “We have established underwriting guidelines that are used to determine whether a risk can be insured through our program,” he said. “The guidelines are based upon exposures specific to the activity or event taking place and contain the criteria that must be followed in order to qualify for coverage and potentially reduce the possibility of claims.”

He cautioned that producers of events may be surprised at the number of requirements that must be satisfied in order to obtain insurance coverage. So, when seeking insurance query the agent carefully to ascertain all aspects of what his company can and can’t do.

Some requirements require the presence of paramedics and/or an ambulance and special spectator protection such as fencing, separation distances from the sides of jumps, where spectators are located, how spectators are controlled during the event and more. He added that on-track racing personnel must be able to control the course and the course or track must be secured to prevent spectator entry during the event. “The course should be designed by someone with experience, and who is familiar with the operating characteristics of the vehicles being ridden,” said Geiling.

Kawasaki's KFX90
Kawasaki's KFX90

We all know that ATV races take place in all sorts of environments from a stadium or track to a cross country track or a desert course. Geiling noted there may be companies that insure events in different environments, but in the case of K&K, they insure racing events in a controlled course like a stadium or track, not point-to-point races like we see in the SCORE INTERNATIONAL Events or the Best in the Desert races.

He concluded that a number of other things can influence coverage of an event. This can include the experience of the promoter, the financing behind the event, and other activities taking place around the event.

To get insurance from K&K a promoter or producer of an event must complete an application. “The application contains information that we need to determine if an event is insurable under our insurance program,” said Geiling. “The applications are very detailed and provide the underwriter with sufficient information to begin the underwriting process. The information also forms a basis for additional questions that may need to be asked to accurately understand all the activities taking place surrounding the event like concerts, camping, fireworks, etc. As part of the application submission, a diagram of the course or track is required and, in some cases, photos and/or a survey of the event location by the insuring company may be required before coverage is provided.”
Geiling suggested that you start the process of getting insurance 60 days before the event. “As always, the more time the better, especially if you are ‘shopping’ for insurance or conducting the event for the first time,” he said.

So, if you are interested in producing an ATV race or ride, do some preparation, check out the various insurance companies to see if they will insure your event, find out what they want, and then go out and get it.

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