Insurance agents everywhere have lots of stories to tell, but with hundreds of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis insured, I seem to have more than my share of great tales that I’ve heard over the years. Like the guy leaving the Ferrari dealership that backed into another Ferrari that had just been sold a few minutes before the accident. And the lady who picked up her husband’s new F-40. In front of a dozen people she started the car, popped the clutch and in an instant, spun 180 degrees.
Often at car events I am told a tale of speed. Of course, the disclaimer is always, “I guess I shouldn’t be telling my insurance agent this…,” then the teller launches into a tale of almost getting a ticket but talking their way out of it. Here again, I have heard it all and I am willing to share. Most cops it seems, do not want to give Ferrari drivers a ticket. Almost every driver I know that has beaten a ticket will say the same thing; that it was his or her fault. The police do not follow red sports cars down the street waiting to pounce. They are simply too busy. So if you are stopped, listen to what those that have only received a warning have to say. First, respect goes a long way. I like it, you like it, and the men and women in blue like it as well. Second, fess up and admit you were going too fast, didn’t see the NO RIGHT TURN sign or that you were simply downshifting to get a better angle on the apex. Third, and this one is particularly important, keep talking. Police officers spend most of their time stopping Toyotas and Chevys, and obviously have fewer encounters with cars like ours. You may just get lucky if they express any interest in your vehicle at all. I know a guy that was stopped in his Ferrari because he didn’t have a front license plate. He told the officer that he felt a front plate spoiled the aesthetics of the vehicle. He and the cop had some laughs, talked about cars, and away the driver went, sans ticket.
Other things people ask me all the time are more serious:
• You are generally not covered on the track, even if it is a drivers school. There are exceptions, and I have seen coverage extended to a number of vehicles on a case by case basis. But most policies specifically exclude track exposures.
• Generally, and depending on your policy, anyone else can drive your car with your permission and your policy will extend to the driver. Check for a valid license and remember, if the driver wrecks your car or is liable for someone else’s property damage or bodily injury, your policy may be surcharged or worse.
• Take pictures of your car. If you have put on larger wheels and tires or a Tubi, make sure you ask your insurance carrier to make a note of this. I see a lot of 360s with BBS Stradale wheels that look fabulous but are not original and may not be covered if your car is stolen, and replaced with a stock 360. Also, keep receipts and maintenance records. Pictures and documentation may help if you are in the unlucky position of negotiating a total loss settlement.
• Excess liability. We call them umbrellas. You will call them a miracle if you ever need one. This excess liability sits on top of what you carry on your car policy and protects you against all sorts of financial headaches if you ever hurt someone badly. I always tell clients to figure out how much they stand to lose in a law suit, and purchase an umbrella accordingly. The plaintiff’s attorney will be thrilled to discover you have an exotic car.
• Do not expect your 355 to be shipped back to the factory for repair if you have an accident. There are lots of great body shops around and I can always give you some names of places that are familiar with exotics.
• Store your car in the winter and save some money. If you have no intention of driving your car when the roads get nasty, call your agent. You may be able to take everything off your insurance policy except physical damages. Just remember to call before you drive the vehicle again.
I love to see friends and clients at events and I am never to busy to answer a question you have about insuring your “baby”. Share a story, a joke, or a close call, and I promise to change the names to protect the innocent.
And the guy without the front license plate? That was me, many years ago, and the funny part is that a few days later I wrote him some insurance, and still have him insured today. Officer Newman of the Arlington Heights Police Department, thank you sir!
Happy motoring! Dave Miller