Motorsport gets insurance reprieve

UK plans to exempt itself from Vnuk ruling

Series I competes in a trial

by Neil Watterson |

Everyone involved in motorsport in the UK breathed a sigh of relief as the UK government announced plans to exempt the UK from the EU’s Vnuk motor insurance law. This law requires insurance, even on private land, for a wider range of vehicles, including ride-on lawnmowers and mobility scooters. The rules also meant that any motorsports collision involving vehicles from go-karting to Formula 1 would have been treated as regular road traffic incidents requiring insurance.

This isn’t to say that competitors and officials won’t be covered by insurance – all Motorsport UK events have insurance, and specific insurance is required for vehicles using the UK road network during an event already. It will simply reduce the financial burden on competitors, where there is already insurance in place.

Freelander rally car
Speed events already require extra insurance ©Neil Watterson

The Vnuk ruling also suggested that any motor vehicle should be insured whether it moved or not – and there were suggestions that it could even have applied to vehicles that were off the road and SORNed (statutory off-road notification) saying they won’t be used on the highway. The government says that by rejecting the law it will save UK drivers £50 a year.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘We have always disagreed with this over-the-top law that would only do one thing – hit the pockets of hard-working people up and down the country with an unnecessary hike in their car insurance. I am delighted to announce that we no longer need to implement it’

Old Land Rover racer
Additional costs would have put a greater burden on UK motorsport ©Neil Watterson

David Richards, Chairman of Motorsport UK, welcomed the announcement: ‘The announcement is a hugely significant victory for the UK and our sport, after a considerable effort by Motorsport UK and the Department of Transport over several years to defeat the threat of the Vnuk insurance issue. This decision provides stability as we seek to progress our sustainability agenda and protects the UK’s preeminent position at the forefront of motorsport technology worldwide. I would like to thank all those who played a part in securing this important outcome, including the MIA [Motorsport Industry Association] and the insurance industry.

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