Sports insurance is a necessity for all sports leagues, large and small. While sports insurance probably isn’t your first consideration when participating in a recreational league, the reality is that sports teams require significant risk management. The possibility for injury as a player, volunteer, referee, or even spectators makes investing in sports insurance a necessary cost for sports leagues, no matter how professional or amateur. 

Different sports may require different coverage. Baseball insurance, for example, wouldn’t do well covering a football league, where there is significantly more contact and the possibility of injury. Every team, league, and volunteer may need different insurance coverage to protect themselves. There are some basic rules to buying sports insurance, however, so we’ll break down the common mistakes that many people make when they are buying sports insurance. 

Not Investing in Sports Insurance

An obvious mistake is forgoing sports insurance entirely. Often, supervisors or league directors make excuses as to why don’t need sports insurance. This is a big mistake that can leave the league, coaches, and volunteers liable. Even a sports league with the most stringent safety practices can experience an injury, and injuries aren’t the only thing protected by sports insurance. 

There are plenty of excuses for not buying sports insurance: you had everyone sign waivers, volunteers are protected under volunteer immunity or their own umbrella insurance – the list goes on. Regardless of waivers or coverage outside of the sports league or team, however, not having insurance can open you and your sports league up to serious lawsuits in case of an accident, injury, or other event. There is no good reason to put yourself or your league at risk. 

Not Buying Full Coverage

Sports insurance doesn’t come in one perfectly gift-wrapped bundle. There are different types of insurance that sports teams needs, and missing even just one of these policies could leave the door open for lawsuits. Sports organizations should make sure that they have each of these insurance policies: 

  • General Liability Insurance: This general policy covers player or spectator injury as well as property damage in cases where the league was negligent. Even if the league was not negligent, you’ll need this insurance for lawyer fees for the defense. 
  • Accident Insurance: This covers medical bills of an injured participant. Even if the members of your league already have health insurance, a significant injury can result in serious medical bills that can fall back on the organization, so it is vital that you have a policy in place to handle this possibility. 
  • Directors and Officers Liability: This protects the staff of your sports organization, including directors, officers, employees, and volunteers, as well as the organization itself. This is generally used in lawsuits alleging discrimination, wrongful termination or suspension, or ADA compliance lawsuits. 
  • Equipment Insurance: This covers the loss of equipment due to natural causes or theft or vandalism. 
  • Crime Insurance: Covers theft or embezzlement by employees or outside actors. 

Not Buying Sports Insurance From a Specialist

Insurance is a broad field, and you want the best. Buy sports insurance from an insurance company that specializes in sports coverage. If you choose to buy your sports insurance from a more general insurance agent, you may not be prepared with all of the coverage and knowledge you need. 

Buying from an insurance agent that specializes in sports insurance can also help you get a better deal. Firms that specialize in sports insurance may offer bundles, discounts, or may know some tricks of the trade to help you save. A specialist can help you find competitive rates, so your investment is sound, but not quite as costly. 

Not Understanding Potential Liabilities and Coverage Needs

If all this seems excessive, you may need to take a step back to better understand all of the potential liabilities and where you really need coverage. 

In terms of potential liabilities, there are endless scenarios that could occur. Player injury, even accidental, can come back onto the organization. Improper supervision, negligence, poor instruction from the supervisor, and general incompetence can all result in lawsuits if a participant is hurt or endangered. Lack of facility maintenance or emergency preparedness, even when it’s not your facility, can result in a lawsuit. Spectator lawsuits are just as likely, and even if a spectator slips and falls of their own accord, you may be liable. 

Because there is so much potential for liability and lawsuit, your coverage needs to be comprehensive. Not only should you have every type of insurance listed above, but each policy should be looked at as well. The most significant plans will probably be for accident insurance and general liability insurance. 

Ensure that these policies cover all league employees and volunteers, and that accident insurance covers all participants. You should also speak to a sports insurance specialist about policy limits for your specific league – you don’t want your policy to fall short, especially in cases of serious and costly medical injury.

Sports insurance is more complicated than many realize. Don’t make any costly mistakes – speak to a sports insurance specialist to protect your sports organization.