Autumn is here and baseball season is heading toward its conclusion. I grew up playing baseball and still love to follow the game at many levels. My dad was my baseball coach in my younger years, both in the backyard and formally for my youth league team. Last year, things came full circle when I began coaching my daughter’s softball team.
I could go on for some length on the personal meaning of coaching for me, but my purpose here is to address some questions that I never seriously considered until I began coaching. Is there a liability risk involved with coaching youth sports on a volunteer basis? Do I need additional insurance to ensure that I am protected in the event of a player injury or an unusual claim made by a parent of our young athletes?
The answer to my first question is a resounding “yes”. With metal bats being used, batted balls in play, and hard slides into bases, there is always the possibility of an unexpected injury. It may be unlikely that an injury would be serious, or that a parent would sue a volunteer coach as a result of injury, but what if an injury is serious enough to warrant that type of action? A parent may have signed a waiver that protects the league, but it’s not likely that agreement protects a coach individually.
Regarding the insurance question, some organizations may provide you with the opportunity to obtain coverage by way of a coaching certification program. If that type of coverage is not available, your personal insurance comes into play. A good homeowners policy will provide personal liability coverage, usually in an amount ranging from $300,000 to $1 million dollars. For an unintended injury, the policy will protect and defend you up to the amount of coverage purchased. Keep in mind, due to policy conditions, coverage will not be provided in most situations for a coach that is compensated.
An opportunity for additional coverage exists with a personal umbrella policy. For a reasonable premium, the personal umbrella policy will provide additional limits above the homeowner policy, and also excess coverage for automobile liability. I was never aware as a young ballplayer, but my parents had an umbrella policy while my dad was coaching baseball. In fact, I found out later that it was recommended to them by our family’s independent agent. For more on how a personal umbrella policy can benefit you, watch our video Insurance 101: Personal Umbrella Policy.
If you’re coaching youth sports and you would like to review your coverage or exposures, contact your local independent insurance agent. It will be much easier for you to concentrate on helping our young athletes succeed knowing you’re protected if the unexpected occurs.
The policy coverages described above are in the most general terms and are subject to the actual policy exclusions and conditions. For specific coverage details and policy exclusions, refer to the policy itself or contact an independent agent.