The European Parliament, European Commission and the European Council have all agreed that motorsport requires different insurance than driving on the road. This ends years of uncertainty regarding minimum insurance requirements which could have made the sport impractical or too costly to run.
Via a procedure known as a trilogue, the institutions of the European Union have agreed that new changes to the existing laws on motor vehicle insurance should specifically exempt motorsport activities. This exemption relies on alternate insurance being in place which is specifically tailored for motorsport. This insurance is currently commonplace in motorsport and is better able to handle the unique circumstances of competition to “avoid overregulation".
There are still some formalities to go through before the legislation becomes adopted as law at EU level (which should be done by the end of 2021). Following this, EU member states will be required to write the legislation into their national law by the end of 2023. However, many member states have laws that are similar, so this may have already happened or will only require minor changes of wording.
The original campaign dates back to 2014 when a farm accident led to a change in the interpretation of EU motor insurance law. Prior to this, it was assumed in most countries that EU motor insurance law only related to vehicles on public roads or in public places such as car parks. However, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that all uses of vehicles in all places (including vehicles on a racetrack) needed to have a minimum of 3rd party motor insurance.
The FIM, FIA and ACEM, alongside their members and related associations, lobbied to change the legislation to specifically exempt motorsport. Motorsport already has a complex set of insurances that compensates participants, volunteers and spectators for financial losses. If the existing legislation did not change, then individual riders would have to be individually insured which would have added cost and complexity without necessarily improving outcomes for the people involved. This would have made the cost of participating in motorsport, particularly for young amateur riders, far too expensive with insurance premiums of several thousand euros per rider expected.
The FIM would particularly like to thank MEP Dita Charanzova and her team and the Portuguese Presidency of the European Council for their efforts in concluding these trilogues and for supporting the motorsport sector during a very challenging time for the world. We would also like to thank then-MEP Vicky Ford for her assistance in initially raising the issue to the European Commission.
FIM President Jorge Viegas said: “This outcome is warmly welcomed by the FIM and represents a sensible and pragmatic conclusion to the discussions. Motorsports are unique and recognising them as such in legislation is important to ensuring that our competitors, volunteers and spectators are properly covered when things go wrong.”