Pastime

Australia is a nation that loves sport – whether it’s watching or playing, we love to be involved in a sporting activity.

When playing sport, many of us may suffer sports related injuries. While most of these will be minor sprains and bruising, unfortunately on occasion, these injuries can be more serious and can result in hospitalisation and sometimes even time off work.

Generally the income protection policies we compare at Life Insurance Direct provide cover for injuries and illnesses that occur while playing non professional competitive sport.

Our guide to income protection and sports will take you through some of the key aspects of sports insurance including:

  1. What sports are covered
  2. Sports Cover Options
  3. Sports Injury Statistics
  4. Cost of Sports Injuries

What sports are covered?

Generally, if you play non-professional competitive sport, your income protection policy can cover you if you suffer from an injury while playing sport and as a result are unable to work.

Similarly if you suffer from a critical illness, trauma insurance will generally cover you.

Sports generally covered include:

  • Cricket
  • Rugby Union
  • Rugby League
  • Australian Rules
  • Football (Soccer)
  • Netball
  • Softball
  • Baseball

Please note that this list may differ between insurers and it is always important to speak to Sports Cover Options

Generally, non contact sports such as cricket, netball, softball and baseball are accepted at standard rates with a standard waiting period. However when it comes to contact sports such as Australian Rules, Rugby League, Rugby Union and Football you will generally have two options:

Option 1 – Standard Rates and a 90 day waiting period

Your first option is to accept standard rates for contact sports but with a 90 day waiting period. This means that you need to remain injured and either totally or partially disabled and off work for a period of at least 90 days before your income protection benefit will start accruing.

Option 2 – premium loading

You can reduce your waiting period to one of your choice by having a loading applied to your policy. Generally loadings are 25% and this means your premiums will increase by 25% in order for you to reduce your waiting period.

Risky Sports

If you participate in riskier sports including motor racing or extreme sports such as sky diving, you may be charged a loading or have an exclusion on standard cover placed on your policy. These are generally assessed on a case by case basis.

Professional Sports

Generally sports that are played professionally are excluded. A professional sport is generally one that you are being paid to compete in. Please note that different insurers may have different definitions of professional sport and it is always important to speak to your adviser to clarify.

Sports Statistics

Most popular sports

The Australian Sports Commission Report in Physical Activity in 2010 listed the sports and leisure activities with the highest participation rate as:

  1. Walking
  2. Aerobics/Fitness
  3. Swimming
  4. Cycling
  5. Running
  6. Golf
  7. Tennis
  8. Bush Walking
  9. Football
  10. Netball

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2011-2012:

  • Over 70% of people aged 25-34 participated in sport
  • Over 68% of people aged 35-44 participated in sport
  • Overall, 65% of people participated in sport

In the latest study from the ABS on injuries, which highlights the importance of posers insurance,

  • 3.6 million people or approximately 18% of the Australian population sustained an injury in 2004/05
  • 27% of those who sustained injuries reporting sustaining the injury in a leisure activity
  • 13% of males were likely to sustain the injury at a sports facility, athletics field or park compared to 9% of females.
  • 1 in 20 hospitalisations in 2003-04 were caused by injuries.

Cost of Sports Injuries

In 2006, it was estimated that sports injuries cost the community over $2 billion annually, while the sports which sustained the most injuries included:

  1. Australian Rules Football
  2. Basketball
  3. Netball
  4. Running
  5. Tennis
  6. Cricket
  7. Soccer
  8. Aerobics
  9. Rugby League
  10. Rugby Union

These statistics highlight the importance of making sure your income protection covers sports related injuries.

Knee injuries

Knee injuries are the most common injury, with average surgery and treatments costs between $11,000 and $16,500.

Back and Spinal Injuries

In 2006, approximately 7% of all sports related injuries were back or spinal injuries, with surgical and treatment costs of approximately $15,750 – $22,000

Cost of other injuries:

  • Ankle Injuries: $4,400 – $6,600
  • Foot and Achilles: $5,500 – $6,600
  • Shoulder – $5,500: $7,700
  • Forearm/wrist: $4,400 – $6,600
  • Elbow – $4,400: $6,600

Sources: MediBank Private Safe Sports Report 2006, ERASS 2010, ABS 2012.

Published: September 6, 2013

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