Insurance For Sports Organizations

Maybe you are a volunteer running a small amateur sports club. Or perhaps you are in charge of managing risk for a large professional league. No matter what type of sports organization you are involved with, one thing your organization needs to protect its operations is quality insurance.

If you found your way here, you probably have a lot of questions. What types of insurance policies are important for sports organizations? How much does sports insurance cost? Where can you find competitive insurance rates?

This post will provide you with in-depth answers to all of those questions. To kick things off, let’s explain why you need sports insurance in the first place.

Does Your Sports Organization Need Insurance?

Every type of sports organization and business needs to be insured, including, but not limited to:

  • Amateur sports teams and clubs
  • Professional sports teams and clubs
  • Major and minor leagues
  • Traditional sports organizations
  • eSports organizations
  • Coaches
  • Gyms
  • Traditional sports venues
  • eSports venues
  • Academic athletic associations
  • Sports associations
  • National governing bodies
  • Sports commissions
  • Sports complexes
  • Youth teams
  • Youth camps
  • Individual sporting events

Maybe none of the above describe your sports organization. You still require insurance.

This is Why All Sports Organizations Need Insurance

Sports are a lot of fun, but they are inherently risky to participate in—and sometimes even to watch. To that end, it is vital to purchase insurance to protect everyone involved in your sporting practices and events.

Imagine the following scenarios:

  • One of your players throws a ball that strikes an audience member, causing them to have a concussion.
  • While transporting players and equipment to a game location, you get into a an automotive accident, resulting in injuries and damages.
  • One of the coaches you hire turns out to be molesting your players.
  • One of the volunteers at your organization steals money from the organization.
  • Food you serve at your event causes food poisoning.

You can tell yourself repeatedly that none of these things would ever happen at your organization. But even with the utmost care and attention, any one of these things (or something similar) can happen to any organization. That even includes small, local, volunteer-run sporting organizations.

If your organization has sports insurance, your policy can kick in should any of covered event come to pass. The policy can help to cover legal and medical costs, or the cost to replace valuable sporting equipment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your sport’s governing body may require you to have insurance. If you refuse to get insurance, they can refuse to allow you to participate in official events.

Plus, if you have employees, workers’ comp is a must—we will talk about that in more detail later on in this guide.

Which Sports Do You Need Insurance For?

There is no sport that is without risk. Even eSports expose players to a great deal of physical and psychological stress—plus there is a ton of valuable equipment to insure.

Here are just a few examples of sports that necessitate insurance for their organizations:

  • Basketball
  • NFL football
  • Association football/soccer
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Hockey
  • Rugby
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Martial arts
  • Winter sports
  • Wrestling
  • Boxing
  • Dance
  • eSports
  • Fencing
  • Archery
  • Track and field
  • Racecar driving

Don’t see your sport above? You still need to insure your organization.

Types of Sports Insurance Policies

You understand how sports insurance can come to your rescue when things go awry. But what types of policies should you purchase? Here are some of the most important types of insurance policies for sports organizations:

1. General liability insurance

General liability insurance for sports teams and other sports organizations is arguably the most important type of insurance policy you can buy.

What general liability insurance does is cover the cost of damages to other people and property outside of your organization.

Earlier we gave an example of a ball flying into the stands to strike a spectator, giving them a concussion. That is exactly the type of situation where general liability insurance would come to your aid.

2. Errors and omissions insurance (professional liability insurance)

This is a type of insurance that does what it says on the tin: it protects you in case some mistake or oversight on your part causes someone else to experience damages.

Perhaps one of your coaches gives an athlete bad advice, and that athlete ends up developing a chronic condition. Their parent sues you. This might be a case where your errors and omissions insurance ends up covering the cost.

3. Accident insurance

Sometimes, accidents might happen in a sports facility or during an event that cause damages that go beyond what general liability insurance can cover. Purchasing additional accident insurance is a way to cover some of those additional damages.

Because sports organizations are at a much higher risk for accidents than most types of organizations, it is especially important to buy accident insurance.

4. Equipment insurance

Sporting equipment can be worth many thousands of dollars. Equipment insurance can help protect your investment in your sports equipment while your equipment is in transit. Another name for this type of policy is “inland marine” insurance.

5. Commercial auto insurance

A commercial auto policy protects your bus or any other vehicles that you use for your sports business while you are using them for that purpose.

You cannot use your regular auto insurance policy for this use! That type of policy is for personal use only, not for business use.

6. Directors and officers liability insurance

A lot of stakeholders have a great deal invested in sports organizations, both financially and in other respects. If it comes to light that mismanagement has caused stakeholders to lose money, they will take action against the organization. This is the type of situation where directors and officers insurance can pay out.

7. Crime insurance

If someone in or outside of your sports organization commits some kind of crime, like stealing equipment or money or vandalizing your facility, crime insurance can help pay for the costs.

8. Commercial property insurance

General liability insurance helps to protect other peoples’ property, but what covers damages to your organization’s property? The answer is commercial property insurance. Note that this policy only covers the organization’s property, not your personal property.

9. Workers’ compensation insurance

If your sports organization has employees, then under federal law, you must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp policies pay out if one of your employees gets sick or injured on the job. The policy can cover medical costs as well as lost wages from time out of work.

Beyond satisfying legal requirements, workers’ comp is also simply necessary for practical reasons. Again, it is easy for people to get injured who work for a sporting organization, even if they are not players. Just being around athletic practice or events can increase the risk of an injury.

10. Business owner’s policy (BOP)

If you want to purchase a policy that combines general liability insurance with commercial property insurance, you can buy a business owner’s policy, simply known as a “BOP.”

What are Additional Insureds?

When operating a sports organization, there may be times when it makes sense to put an additional insured on a policy. The additional insured is a third party who will receive some amount of coverage. It is common to do this in scenarios where you are renting or leasing the facility where you are practicing.

When you are comparing policies, check to see how many additional insured certificates you are allowed, and at what cost. If you need to add a lot of these, it is ideal if you can get unlimited insureds at no added cost.

What is Excess/Umbrella Coverage?

What if you exceed the per occurrence or aggregate limits on your sports insurance policies?

If you do not have any additional coverage, then you will have to pay the remaining costs out of pocket.

But if you purchase excess coverage, also called “umbrella coverage,” you can increase the per occurrence and/or aggregate limits for your policies.

Some sports organizations choose to do this simply to play it safe. But others may have no choice. If you operate a large organization, it might be a requirement under the rules of your sport’s governing body that you have higher coverage than you can receive through the standard policy amounts.

What Does Sports Insurance Cost?

How much can you expect to pay for sports insurance? Costs can range quite a bit, but as an example, we have seen estimates that the median cost of a BOP for a sports business is under $70 per month.

That probably will not be the full cost of your sports insurance, however, because you likely will end up purchasing more policies. Here are some factors that can affect your total costs.

1. Types of policies

As we just stated, the more types of policies you purchase, the more you will pay for your sports insurance. But you will also have more extensive coverage.

2. Amounts of coverage

For each policy you buy, you will purchase coverage up to a certain amount. Lower caps are less expensive, but higher caps pay out more when things go wrong.

3. Deductibles

You will also need to choose a deductible amount for each policy. That is the amount that you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance policy starts covering costs. Low deductible plans have higher premiums, but start paying out sooner when you need them.

4. Type of sports organization you are covering

Sports organizations vary widely, so the nature of your organization will have a considerable impact on the cost for your recreation insurance policies.

The risks faced by a small amateur football club and those faced by a large professional football club may be quite different, for example. Likewise, the risks faced by a youth team may differ significantly from those faced by an adult team.

For that matter, every sport has different risks. Fencing carries different risks from rugby, which carries different risks than ice hockey, and so forth.

Additionally, not all sports organizations are teams; maybe you operate a gym or some other sports-related business or organization. This, too, will impact your risks, and therefore the rates you are offered.

When you request a quote, you will need to describe your organization or business in detail to the agent. Only then will they be able to bring you accurate quotes.

5. Facilities and location

Where you are located and practice or play can impact your rates. Here are some relevant factors:

  • A facility in a bad part of town might be more expensive to insure than one in a posh district.
  • A well-maintained sports facility is safer than one that is rundown, which may also reduce insurance costs.
  • A huge stadium will be more expensive to insure than a small gym.
  • Having a set facility for practicing and playing versus not having one at all may impact your rates.
  • Whether the facility is indoors, outdoors, or a combination may be relevant to your insurance pricing.
  • How much you play in your own facilities versus other organizations’ facilities may be important to consider.
  • There may be rule differences between one country and another with respect to certain sports, and those differences might make your sport more or less risky. Even this could impact your insurance costs.

6. Travel

Does your sports organization need to do a lot of travel? If so, do not be surprised if you have to pay more for insurance. For one thing, travel inherently increases risk, because so many things can go wrong when you are in transit.

For another, you may need to buy policies that you would not require if you do not do much travel, like inland marine coverage for your equipment.

The more frequent your travel and the longer the distances you traverse, the more your rates could go up. A team that is constantly on the move across the entire country will be more expensive to insure than a small local youth team that never travels outside the region.

9. Track record

If your sports organization is shopping for insurance for the first time with no established track record, there are a lot of unknowns to account for. This may limit your ability to qualify for the best rates.

After a few years with an insurance company, your rates could go up or down depending on whether you need to call upon your coverage much. If you make a lot of claims, your insurance costs will rise. If you manage to not make any claims for years, however, your rates may drop.

10. Discounts

When an insurance company lowers your rates after years of no claims, that is an example of a common type of insurance discount. Your insurance carrier may also offer you other discounts. Ask what is available for your organization and the types of policies you have.

For instance, let’s say you have a facility in an area of town that is crime-ridden, so you have purchased crime insurance. Alas, due to your geography, it is expensive.

The carrier might offer you a discount if you install cameras, motion sensors, alarms or other security equipment around your facility. 

11. Underwriting guidelines

Underwriting guidelines differ from one insurance carrier to another. You will discover that even with all things being equal, various companies give you more or less expensive sports insurance quotes than others.

That is why you should not just call up one insurance company, get a quote, and go with that company. You could be missing out on better pricing elsewhere. Instead, you need to contact multiple companies for quotes. Doing so could cut your costs way down over time and give you access to better coverage.

Where to Find Sports Insurance Coverage?

Now that you have an idea what types of sports insurance you might need as well as the factors that influence costs, you are ready to shop around for the most competitive quotes. Where do you find excellent coverage for sports businesses and organizations at affordable prices?

Our top recommendation is to shop for coverage through Tivly.

Tivly saves you time and effort hunting down the best coverage for the most affordable prices. It functions as a marketplace that matches up sports organizations with insurance carriers offering competitive rates and policies.

Tivly works with more than 200 insurance agents and carriers, and can help you quickly and easily compare sports insurance policies from brands like The Hartford, Progressive, Liberty  Mutual, Acuity Insurance and Mylo.

Tivly can help you find any of the following types of sports insurance policies:

  • General liability insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Equipment insurance
  • Directors and officers liability insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Crime insurance
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Workers’ comp
  • … and more

Requesting a quote through Tivly is free. One of Tivly’s dedicated agents will ask you questions to understand your risk factors as well as your organization’s requirements and goals. They will then be able to fetch quotes for policies tailored to your needs.

Protect Your Organization with Sport Insurance

No matter how big or small your sports organization is, regardless of whether it is amateur or professional, every day, you face numerous potential risks. Insuring your sports organization lets you minimize your possible liabilities for accidents, mismanagement, crime and more. That way, you can keep operating your organization smoothly, protecting personnel, equipment and finances.

Click below to request your free quote for sports insurance at Tivly.