If you’re a professional (or semi-professional) sportsperson – in as much as you make your living from competing in a sporting pursuit – then it’s imperative that you are fully insured for every eventuality. Now if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Andy Murray or Lewis Hamilton we’re assuming that you’ve long-since taken care of this side of your professional life and times and probably have each leg/foot insured separately to the tune of tens of millions of pounds. Like a supermodel from the Cindy Crawford era. But what if you’re one of the millions of weekend sports participators, who regularly take to your racing cycle, football or rugby pitch or squash court? There’s every likelihood that you too might succumb to an unforeseen injury as a result of a robust tackle, sharp turn or collision with an immovable object at velocity. And imagine if this injury suffered compromised your ability to return to your full-time occupation (remember, despite what you think, you’re NOT Ronaldo, Messi nor even Ricky Lambert, so you won’t still be paid a salary while you recover/rehabilitate from the injury you’ve sustained). So then what?
Well, that where a dedicated sports insurance (also referred to as ‘sports accident, sports injury protection’ and/or ‘sports health’ insurance) comes into play which readily provides varying degrees of protection if you happen to suffer some sort of sporting blow. Whether above or below the belt. Think about it. It’s not like you would ever entertain the idea of jetting off on a winter skiing holiday without suitable winter sports insurance cover in place, nor would you flirt with the idea of bungee jumping into the Grand Canyon without so much as a sports activity policy arranged beforehand. So why in that case would you glibly engage in sporting combat at your local park, recreation centre or track and field facility minus adequate personal insurance cover? While many people would automatically believe that their existing health of critical illness insurance plan safeguards their financial wellbeing in the direct aftermath of an injury picked up during a more playful encounter with the decidedly amateur opposition/competition, they would be routinely wrong. Only in situations whereby the policyholder confirms that they regularly participate in a specific sport (and therefore require a separate policy feature to – potentially – fiscally compensate for the risk factor) would you be covered on your more orthodox health or critical illness insurance policy.
Possible Injury is Only a Hop, Skip and a Jump Away from Anyone Regularly Participating in Sports
Otherwise you’d find yourself up the proverbial creek without an insurance paddle (yes, white water rafting might be a well subscribed to, action-packed sports pursuit, but it carries with it its own possible danger). Going back to a sporting injury though, and if you did suddenly find yourself unable to hold down your current vocational role due to falling off your mountain bike or breaking your ankle at football (both of which could easily weaken your ability to fulfil your job obligations if, for example you were employed in a predominantly driving capacity), how do you imagine you would continue to meet your on-going mortgage and personal loan repayments, not to mention utility bills and general, everyday living costs without your main income source? And while you may receive a certain amount of sick pay from your employer, this would only cover you for a short period and if you happened to be self-employed then you wouldn’t even have this relative safety net to fall back on. Speaking of relatives, you may receive the financial support required to make ends meet during your unpredicted injury lay-off from your partner or other family members, but again we very much doubt if they’d be in a position to extend that fiscal support over an indefinite passage of time while you got back on your feet as it were. Dipping into your rainy day fund would only last so long too, as those bills begin to add up, so it’s best not to rely on that as a contingency plan either.
No, when it comes to planning for the possible eventuality of injuring yourself (seriously or otherwise) when throwing yourself into your sporting hobby and chief leisure interest, there’s only the one real safeguard that you should be considering looking into, and that’s speaking to an insurance provider who specialises in dedicated sports policies. Similar in context to the broader and more recognizable, income protection insurance policies, sports insurance plans typically operate along the same lines, in as much as – once agreed and sanctioned – they continue to recompense the injured party/policyholder until such time as they are fit and able to return to their normal workplace and essentially, resume their usual duties. In terms of the particular sports insurance products found on the market, they generally comprise of variations on the more familiar ‘income protection, life and critical illness’ and ‘private medical insurance’, while bespoke ‘accident protection’ packages are traditionally geared up towards the more sports specific demographic. Looking at the sports habitually covered, and the list is pretty exhaustive and includes the obvious likes of, cycling, football, gymnastics, hockey, tennis and martial arts along with the less obvious (but equally important) likes of body-boarding, caving, go-karting, kitesurfing, BMXing and parkour.
Don’t Let Your Pride Precede an Uninsured Fall, As Sports Insurance Policies Rule in Room for Error
The most targeted individual sports insurance policy to our mind is the accident plan examples proffered by a host of specialist sports insurers, which tailor personal packages to accommodate the needs of the policyholder. www.prosportinsurance.co.uk, www.totallysportinsurance.co.uk and www.sportsinsurance4u.com are just three such companies who promotes this type of ‘must have’ insurance product for people who participate in sport on a regular basis, and who compensate policyholders with a cash sum if they succumb to a sporting injury. And like a lot of these sports insurance purveyors, they don’t discriminate on the grounds of occupation or lifestyle choices. Policies like these not only protect your income stream when the policyholder is practicing the sport they love, but also when they’re competing on a level playing field (or whatever circuit/arena they’re taking on all comers amid the backdrop of) against like-minded individuals/teams. Cover for these type of sports policies usually extend to ‘accidental death or injury, permanent total disablement, temporary total disablement, joint dislocation benefit, torn ligaments & broken bone benefit, hospital cash benefit, physiotherapy benefit, dental cover, the sustaining of fractures and spells of hospitalisation and will pay-out for a pre-defined passage of time which is agreed upon at the application stage.
So the answer to the question at the top of the page is simple. Anyone who regularly plays sports in non-professional capacities should really look into a dedicated sports insurance policy to provide complete peace of mind should you be side-lined by a future injury brought about as a result of your sporting endeavours, be they competitive team sports of solo pastimes which pose a risk to your body, however orthodox and non-contact they may appear to the casual observer.