Tennis Industry magazine


7 Things to Look for When Buying Liability Insurance

By Steve Milano

Do you need or carry general liability insurance in order to teach or coach, or do you require your teaching professionals or coaches to carry this type of insurance? If so, you might be surprised to know that liability insurance for tennis teachers and coaches is not a one-size-fits-all purchase, and that smart shopping can save you hundreds of dollars on your annual premium, and still provide you with the coverage you need.

Organizations such as the USTA, USPTA, PTR, and U.S. High School Tennis Coaches Association offer liability insurance policies to their members with programs varying in benefits and costs. These insurance policies can cost an organization as little as $3 or $4 per million dollars of coverage per member because the association buys in bulk. Associations can then bundle liability insurance coverage into the cost of their membership or sell it separately.

Liability insurance policies come with a variety of coverages. Check before you buy to find out what your policy covers. Here are seven things you should you look for in a general liability insurance policy.

1. Amount of Coverage

Most tennis teachers and coaches are only required by an employer to carry $1 million in general liability insurance. While the various policies being sold to tennis pros advertise anywhere from $1 million to $5 million in aggregate coverage, these policies generally offer $1 million in coverage per occurrence. That means a $5 million policy offers you $1 million in insurance each time you are sued, up to a maximum of $5 million (you’d need to be sued successfully five times in order to for the insurance company to pay out the $5 million).

2. On-Court vs. Off-Court

Does rain require you to move indoors to watch videos or hit balls in a gymnasium? Some policies may only offer coverage if you are actually on a tennis court. Check to see if your policy covers you indoors, on the road at tournaments, etc.

While some policies cover off-court, tennis-related activities, weight training may not be covered, due to its specific, non-tennis applications and lack of strength-training certification by most tennis pros and coaches. Similarly, auto accidents are most likely not covered because they are non-tennis related — even if you are driving to a tournament. However, your car insurance should cover you when driving students or team members.

3. Certificates

Do you need a certificate of insurance? Check to see if there’s a fee for providing you with a copy of your insurance certificate. Some groups charge; others provide it for free.

4. Additional Insured

If you carry liability insurance, your employer may require that you name them as an additional insured on the policy. Depending on where you get your insurance, this can cost extra.

5. Excess Medical

General liability insurance policies cover the teaching pro or coach, not the students. If a student is injured during a lesson or practice, he or she must sue you and prove negligence in order to collect. Your insurance policy provides you with your legal defense and pays any damages awarded, up to the terms of your policy (generally $1 million per occurrence).

Some policies, however, come with excess medical coverage that covers your students. In the event of an injury to one of your participants, the insurance company will pay medical expenses, up to the terms of your policy (usually $10,000 to $25,000). This allows the participant to get a sprained or broken ankle treated and can also help avoid a costly lawsuit. Check to see if your policy comes with excess medical.

6. Abuse and Molestation

Many policies exclude abuse and molestation claims because they are so expensive to defend. The good news is that there have been few claims made against teaching pros when it comes to abuse and molestation, and in general, pros are really just looking for a standard $1 million general liability policy with few bells and whistles. However, if you feel you need this type of insurance, make sure you ask about it when you’re shopping around.

7. Deductible

Check to see if your policy requires you to pay a deductible in the event of a suit or claim covered under your excess medical coverage.

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About the Author

Steve Milano  is the executive director of the U.S. High School Tennis Coaches Association and former executive director of the USPTR Foundation. He has both purchased liability insurance for himself as a former teaching pro and negotiated group policies for coaches and teachers.



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