I don't know what policy to buy?
To protect your Athletes, Coaches, Directors, Volunteers and Organization from law suits arising from property damage to bodily injuries, a sports organization should purchase three different insurance policies.
1. Accident Insurance
Pays for medical bills on behalf of injured participants. This policy assures that your participants and volunteers will receive the type of medical treatment that they deserve. Also, the threat of a lawsuit being filed by an injured participant is minimized if his medical bills are taken care of by Accident Insurance.
2. General Liability Insurance
Covers certain types of lawsuits alleging that a spectator or player has suffered bodily injury or property damage due to the negligence of your organization. This policy pays for your defense and pays for costs of settlement or jury verdict. Covered persons should include the sports organization itself, directors, officers, and volunteers. Lawsuits are filed every day for injuries that occur at games/practices and during off premises non-sport activities. Even if you prove that you were not negligent, you must defend yourself in court.
3. Directors & Officers Liability
Covers certain types of lawsuits (not covered by the General Liability policy) alleging that your sports organization's mismanagement has resulted in economic injury to another party or that another party's rights under state, provincial or federal law have been violated. Examples of types of lawsuits commonly covered include discrimination, wrongful termination or suspension of your league personnel or players, or failure to follow your own rules or bylaws. This policy also pays for your defense and pays for costs of settlement or jury verdict. Covered persons should include the sports organization itself, directors, officers, and volunteers.
Please note: Under some circumstances, some sports organizations may need additional policies such as Property, Auto, or Workers' Compensation.
Before signing your insurance policy, it is very important to verify :
Occurrence vs. Claims Made - The distinction is important because in youth sports, it is possible that a child who is injured at age 6 could wait until age 20 before filing a lawsuit. If your league purchased an "Occurrence" policy during the year of the injury, you would have protection even if the policy is not renewed in later years. On the other hand, avoid a "Claims Made" policy which may only protect if the same policy (or a renewal thereof) was in force both when the injury occurred and when the claim or lawsuit was filed (which could be 14 years later). Obviously, "Claims Made" coverage is extremely risky as it is highly unlikely that a league would renew a policy with the exact same insurance company for 14 years in a row.
Participant Injury Liability - Avoid policies that don't cover lawsuits arising out of injury to your sports participants. Believe it or not, some policies only cover lawsuits arising out of injuries to spectators.
Punitive Damages - Almost every lawsuit that is ever filed will allege that your volunteers have engaged in "grossly negligent behavior that is willful, wanton, and reckless" and will ask for punitive damages in order to provide extra punishment (not to mention extra fees for the plaintiff's attorney).
Abuse/Molestation - The vast majority of Sports Liability Policies now exclude Abuse/Molestation, you should buy this coverage back for an additional charge if it is available. These types of lawsuits usually result in jury verdicts in excess of $300,000. Even the innocent board members are usually sued for failure to screen out sexual offenders with a criminal background.
Covered Persons - Your policy should cover your sports organization, its directors, officers, employees, and all volunteers. Also, you should be able to provide coverage for field owners and sponsors in the event that they request it. Avoid policies that don't cover all persons and entities mentioned above.
Special Coverage For Sports Organizations That Own Their Own Facilities Or Are Under A Long Term Lease - Sports Organizations that fall under this situation are responsible for what happens on their fields/facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Unfortunately, most General Liability policies only cover lawsuits arising out of sanctioned and supervised activities. Such policies would not cover lawsuits arising out of injuries that occur on your premises after hours or during the off season. This loophole should be closed by paying an additional charge to have this coverage added to your policy.
Limits - Avoid policies that don't contain all of the component coverages that are outlined below for bodily injury and property damage liability:
  • Premises/Operations
  • Products/Completed Operations
  • Personal/Advertising Injury
  • Contractual Liability
  • Independent Contractors
  • Participant Legal Liability
  • Fire Damage Legal Liability
  • Premises Medical Payments