Professional athletes have overcome great odds to reach their status and their achievements should be celebrated. In fact, a male high school player has only a .03 percent chance of winning an NBA career, while a female player’s shot is even slimmer, at just .02 percent. But it’s essential that athletes who attain professional sports status take the time to evaluate athlete insurance coverage. 

Their high earnings and contracts from endorsements lead to high-end assets (overseas homes, private jets, and luxury cars) that demand ample protection. And their celebrity and high net worth status puts them in the vulnerable position of being sued over frivolous matters. Unfortunately, many general insurance programs don’t provide adequate insurance. Professional athletes across the spectrum of sports must meet with a broker to assess all necessary protection – even though the last thing an athlete in his or her prime wants to consider is that it could all disappear.

Extensive Personal Insurance

While meeting with an insurance broker, an athlete should determine which types of additional personal insurance he or she requires. The needs vary from athlete to athlete, but the most imperative assets and circumstances to examine include:

- Luxury and secondary homes
- Rental homes
- Automobile and classic/sports cars
- Private planes 
- Motorcycles
- Boats
- All-terrain vehicles
- Fine art and collectibles
- Cyber usage
- The need for umbrella and life insurance

In today’s digital age, umbrella insurance in particular comes in handy to help cover a social media slip. This way, if an athlete who’s endorsed by a major brand disgraces the brand or him or herself on Twitter, for example, the right umbrella policy can sort out the messy aftermath. 

Potential Risks Resulting from Overlapping Roles

The blended private and professional lives of professional athletes are another reason why a general insurance policy isn’t equipped to protect them from numerous potential risks. Athletes should discuss with their broker the vulnerabilities that result from various legal entities that are formed to shelter their assets. These circumstances should be considered:

  • If a charitable fund or entity is formed as a means of giving back to the community and assets are then run through the entity, make sure there’s a clear policy in place to handle the assets and/or activities. For example, if a spectator is hit with a golf ball at a tournament and then sues the athlete’s sponsoring foundation, all of its assets, not to mention the athlete’s reputation, are on the line.
  • If a property is purchased and the legal owner is the foundation, the athlete must make sure the appropriate insured name is listed.
  • If an athlete does an automobile dealership commercial and is paid not in cash but receives use of a car for a year, he or she is required to carry the insurance even though the dealer retains the title.
  • Many insurance companies won’t cover jewelry that is misplaced unless it’s taken from the body of a client, so athletes must be aware that the mysterious disappearance clause would be eliminated.  
  • Athletes must be mindful of the fact that while the team is responsible for their actions on the field or in the arena, it’s the responsibility of an agent to make certain all other aspects of their high-profile lifestyle are covered.

It’s crucial that professional athletes consult with an insurance broker to prepare for the potential exposures linked to their unique profession and lifestyle. The equation is simple: the greater the fame and success, the greater the vulnerabilities.