College rivalries, tailgating, thrilling matches. Intercollegiate athletics are exciting to watch and fun to play. They open up a world of possibility—and a world of danger. It’s no secret that athletics are dangerous. Sports present several risks of bodily injury, some on the extreme end. When an accident or injury does occur, it’s crucial to have the right insurance so athletes can receive medical treatment and the college can afford the costs to keep running.
Critical insurance coverages for intercollegiate athletics include:
- Basic Athletics Insurance: Basic athletics insurance provides compensation for injuries that occur to athletes, managers and trainers, cheerleaders, drill teams and more. There may be different limits for this insurance based on the number of students insured and other factors, but colleges are generally required to carry at least $25,000 in coverage for this insurance.
- Catastrophic Athletic Insurance: Some injuries are worse than a sprained ankle or a broken bone. In some cases, intense—and expensive—medical procedures are required and assistance living with new disabilities are needed. Catastrophic athletic insurance is crucial in paying for benefits such as medical, disability, adjustment and education. This insurance also helps prevent lawsuits, as it provides compensation for injuries that would result in lawsuits otherwise.
- Staff Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D): Athletes aren’t the only ones at risk. Employees, guests and coaches are also at risk for injury. Staff AD&D insurance provides compensation if school employees are injured through activity related to the athletic department.
This is not an extensive list. These insurances only cover injuries and liability. College athletic programs should also carry coverage for other possible dangers such as sexual misconduct insurance, crime insurance and non-owned vehicle insurance. If a coach uses a personal vehicle to transfer athletes or equipment, non-owned vehicle insurance provides compensation if that coach causes a wreck resulting in property damage or bodily injury. Sexual misconduct protects the program if a lawsuit arises due to sexual misconduct between an athletic employee and an athlete.
College is an odd time for students regarding insurance. While youth participants in other sporting events are covered under their parents’ health insurance, college students may not be. Students over the age of 26 may or may not be protected by health insurance at all. This is why some colleges require students to have health insurance. Not all colleges have this requirement, however. This increases the likelihood of them not having the ability to pay for medical expenses if they’re injured—which may lead to a lawsuit. Even if a student has health insurance, bad injuries may cause their health insurance plan to reach its limit.
So, what does it cost to insure these college students?
First, the cost of intercollegiate athletic insurance depends on a variety of factors including coverage limits, claims history, the sport(s) being insured, number of athletes and more. Coverage limit requirements vary depending on the type of coverage. For example, some schools may have catastrophic coverage that starts at $90,000 worth of coverage. Speak with an insurance agent about your college’s specific needs.
When searching for athletic insurance, you should consider:
If your college has a long list of injury claims, it may be time to reevaluate the safety measures in place. While accidents happen, there are measures you can take to prevent avoidable injuries and medical expenses, such as teaching appropriate stretching and warm-up techniques as well as having a trained medical staff with necessary medical equipment.
- Who is insured
- Each sport’s unique risks
- The possibility of lawsuits
- Claims history
- Preventative measures in place