Charity events are worthy and wonderful, and they're a great way for collectors to share the joy of their vehicles with others.

To ensure you – and those involved in the charitable event – have a positive experience, it's important to be aware of the specifics of the cover provided under your motor insurance policy.

The two main kinds of charity event

Generally speaking, charity events occur in two ways: rides being given on a road where you are subject the normal rules of the road under the Road Traffic Act, and when they aren't covered by the RTA.

Sporting Bears and Help for Heroes are great examples of the former; both provide experiences that raise money for children and veterans respectively through social and touring events on roads which are covered by the RTA. In such cases, insurers are usually happy to maintain cover under your policy.

How money can affect your cover at an event

Complications usually arise where money is involved. Even if a fee goes to charity, it can cause problems by being viewed as a 'hire and reward' payment – the same classification a taxi company would use for their service. At Lockton, we have no issue with these types of charitable events.

The only issue that sometimes arises lies in charitable events which are conducted away from a road, such as on motor-racing circuits, and aerodromes where the vehicle is being driven in a way that is not in accordance with the RTA. High-speed passenger rides are a good example.

Most insurance policies will exclude all cover when the vehicle is being used in such a way. Motor insurance policies are designed to operate when the vehicle is being used on a road and driven within the laws of the highway.

Responsibility: Who has it?

These types of events do place a heavy responsibility on both the organizers and those volunteers who take their vehicles to the event and provide the rides. Unfortunately, there have been incidents where people have been seriously injured and it makes no difference to the authorities that the event was held in aid of charity.

Safety trumps all other considerations and it is essential that all parties to the event take this responsibility seriously.  

The law around these types of events is complicated and it may not be clear whether the Road Traffic Act does or doesn't apply. However, there is a way to clarify the position. The authorities understood the complexities of these events and put in place some legislation to allow for certain parts of the RTA to be suspended. This allows for the type of driving that we see at these events.

Authorisation Permits

There is a piece of legislation that created an Authorisation Permit system that suspends parts of the RTA.

There are 11 authorising bodies, such as UK Motorsport, who will issue a compliant permit to an organiser. Along with the permit, there should also be Third Party liability insurance that protects the organiser, the vehicle driver and all the other parties participating at the event.

Without an Authorisation Permit, there could be serious consequences including criminal prosecutions for all concerned.

Again, at Lockton, we have experts who understand how liability can occur at these events and can provide advice to those who want to volunteer their services and vehicles to these charity events.