Now that summer looks as if it’s finally arrived, it’s hard to avoid the temptation to spend time outside, enjoying the sunshine.
After a year of lockdown, most of us will doubtless welcome the sights and sounds of a return to relative normality.
Depending on where you live, the seasonal soundtrack is not only birdsong and the buzzing of bumble bees. Listen closely and you might also be able to pick out the throaty roar of a sportscar.
Figures published recently by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that Audi, BMW and Maserati have all been flying out of showrooms over the last 12 months.
Although the Covid pandemic has hit sales of across Europe some of those brands with even larger price tags, it’s not necessarily halted business altogether.
Take the example of the one-off £20 million ‘Boat Tail’ Rolls-Royce commissioned by a billionaire.
Like many a supercar, it’s beyond the financial reach of all but the very wealthy and something of a dream for those keen on automotive excellence.
However, what happens if those dreams really do come true? Are your problems over if you can buy luxury on wheels for cash?
According to the National Lottery, a car is the most prized purchase of more than a quarter of winners but merely owning an expensive motor is one thing.
To enjoy it, you need to take it out on the road…and that means obtaining insurance.
Securing supercar cover is certainly not like taking out a policy on a price comparison site. In fact, it tends to be arranged on a case-by-case basis, reflecting a driver’s individual circumstances.
Whilst standard policies require information about how long you’ve held your driving licence, your occupation and driving history, including any convictions or accidents, the criteria involved in insuring vehicles worth upwards of six-figures are considerably more rigorous.
You need to demonstrate the experience and ability to handle very powerful cars, such as having taken advanced driving courses.
You will, of course, also need to keep the vehicle safe. None but the most robust and technologically savvy trackers will do.
Cars will not only need to have a garage but be kept locked in the garage and not on the drive while bicycles and DIY tools take up its intended residence instead.
As you might imagine, policy excess clauses are also far higher than the norm, yet when you consider that repairs for a seemingly innocuous prang can run into many thousands of pounds, you’ll appreciate why.
Myself and my colleagues at Broadway have handled many policies for supercar drivers and, occasionally, have also had to tell some supercar owners that insurers simply won’t offer cover because they fail to meet the terms involved.
Insurance of any sort is a process of trying to minimise, manage and transfer risk. When presented with a combination of someone wanting to instantly increase the price and power of their vehicle, possibly after a record of crashes or even drunk and dangerous driving, some underwriters will conclude that the risk is uninsurable.
They don’t just have to take the vehicle value into account but the prospect of third-party damage to other cars or people. Upping the engine horse-power increases the degree of difficulty without the skills to handle it.
That’s true even in the case of those who succeed in taking out such specialist cover. Some policies have relative freedom or flexibility in ‘open-driving’ clauses, which in theory mean that you could let your neighbour’s teenager take your Lamborghini for a spin.
Even so, there is an expectation that policyholders would be so risk aware that they wouldn’t even consider it because they know what’s entailed.
We’re often asked by individuals – be they professionals, wealthy individuals and avid car enthusiasts – how they might improve their chances of getting cover for the vehicle of their fantasies.
I always insist that a conversation with a broker before someone makes a purchase is worthwhile and can save a lot of heartache as well as being forced to keep cars locked up and unused at home.
Together with insurers, we can take you through everything that’s required, so that – fingers crossed – you’ll be able to head out on the road safe in the knowledge that we have you covered.
Written by Eleanor Moore Cert CII, Director of Private Clients