We continue to break down the complex world of athlete finances by looking at how insurance can help protect you from unexpected financial problems. 

As an athlete, you rely on your physical health to earn a living. But what happens if you’re injured and can’t compete? And what if that injury threatens to end your entire career?

They are scary questions to contemplate, but fortunately, there are various types of insurance that can protect you from these and other risks that you face as an elite athlete. From injury and illness to stolen equipment and even injuries to other people, there are many insurance options that you should consider as an athlete.

And as Australian triathlete Sam Appleton discovered, these policies could turn out to be “worth every cent”.

“Accidents can happen anytime, to anyone, and when it happened to me a few years ago it really saved me a lot of hassle and out-of-pocket expenses,” he explains. “I was involved in a training accident with a pedestrian who sustained some injuries as a result. The medical expenses were covered by the insurance through my affiliation with Triathlon Australia. This ensured the expenses weren’t coming out of my own pocket.

“You just don’t know how important insurance really is until you need it yourself. It definitely saved me a lot of stress.”

Here, we take a look at how you can protect yourself against the unexpected both on and off the field of play…

Protecting your health

Without adequate health insurance, you could face a huge financial burden if you incur any medical expenses as a result of a serious illness or injury – be it sports-related or not. These medical costs can vary greatly from country to country, so if you often compete overseas you will need to ensure that your policy also covers international treatment. If your club or federation does not cover you, you should definitely consider your own personal health insurance.

Protecting your income

Loss-of-income insurance covers any potential earnings you may miss out on if your athletic career is interrupted, or ended, by illness or injury. These policies can be very expensive, so it’s recommended that you discuss this type of insurance with your club or governing body before signing up.

Protecting your equipment

Personal belongings are often covered by your property or household insurance, but if you have any expensive or specialist equipment for your sport then you may want to look at additional insurance for these items to cover them against damage or theft.

Protecting other people

Personal liability insurance (or third-party liability insurance) covers you against any damage or injury you may cause to someone else or their property.

Protecting yourself overseas

When you’re competing or training overseas, travel insurance could cover you for an array of different scenarios, including medical costs, emergency evacuation, theft, lost luggage and flight cancellations.

There are many other types of insurance that may be appropriate for you – including life insurance, car insurance, home insurance and disability insurance – so be sure to explore all the options available.

It is also recommended that you contact your national federation or governing body to discuss what insurance plans they may offer to athletes, or for more advice about the different policies available in your country.