Private liability insurance for athletes

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There are only a few sports that require, or make it necessary to have, separate liability insurance. Of course, a motor sport is one of them. As a rider or horse owner, you should also have a horse owner liability insurance. This also includes sporting events that you attend with your animal. Agility is a sport for humans and dogs. If your dog causes damage during an agility event, this is regulated by the dog owner's liability insurance. But what about football or tennis? What if you dislocate the arm of an opponent in handball? We will answer these questions in this article.

Do I need my own liability insurance as an amateur athlete?

Private liability insurance insures damages resulting from the practice of a sport. Winston Churchill wrote the famous sentence "Sport is murder." Now you don't have to go quite that far, but even with sport, there is a risk of damaging another person or their property. The Coya private liability insurance covers most of the risks resulting from sports activities. You need a separate sports liability insurance for only a few sports.

Is sports liability included in my personal liability insurance?

Your Coya personal liability insurance offers you the necessary coverage for almost all sports.

Am I insured if I injure somebody during sports?

This is of course the key question if you are an active athlete and are looking for a personal liability insurance that covers you when you do sports. Your Coya personal liability insurance covers damages from almost all sports. The range for sports activities is wide. It ranges from chess to sailing. The probability of damaging your opponent in chess is rather low; other sports offer more potential.

Under what circumstances do I become liable if I cause damage to my opponent during sports? 

Sport is always associated with a certain amount of competition. You want to win with your team or individually, and it can get rough at times. 

The rules of the game not only describe the way the sport is played, but they also encourage fair play. At the same time, they form the framework in which you actively take the risk of your sport. Therefore, if a third party suffers damage when playing according to the rules, one cannot assume there is any liability. 

As soon as the rules of the game are violated due to slight negligence, the player is liable for the damage caused to the other player. 

Special rules have developed for martial arts (e.g., kickboxing, Krav Maga, Muay Thai), as well as for fighting games (e.g., football, basketball, ice hockey), since one must assume there is a certain risk of injury when practising these sports. 

Therefore, in martial arts or fighting games, one is usually not liable for injuries to fellow players due to a negligent violation of the rules. 

In addition, one is generally not liable if one accidentally (negligently) causes damage to a fellow player while playing a sport. 

Examples of this include the following situations: 

  • On a Saturday morning kick, you are overzealous and grab your opponent's legs from behind. Since he has torn a ligament, he cannot take the free kick that is due himself. 
  • In tennis doubles, you are the net player and your opponent tries to take a lob. You accept the invitation to volley, pull through and hit your opponent's net player in the head with full force so that his designer glasses, worth 2,000 euros, break. 

Liability only arises if you deliberately or grossly negligently deviate from the rules of the game and a fellow player suffers damage as a result. In case of grossly negligent behaviour, you are insured through your third party liability insurance. However, there is no insurance coverage for intentional offences. 

Ultimately, however, it has to be said that especially in sports, it depends on the individual case, and it has to be examined in detail. 

Which sports are not included in my private liability insurance?

Only a few sports are excluded from insurance coverage, as is generally the case in the the insurance industry. 

These include, among others:

  • Hunting
  • Horse racing
  • Car racing
  • Bike racing

In these cases, you need special sports insurance. However, there are other exceptions. Sports activities on the water are not covered by insurance if the vessel is a watercraft that is subject to compulsory insurance. For this reason, watercraft are only co-insured within a certain framework.

The following watercraft are covered by Coya in private liability insurance: Vessels...

  • excluding sails, engines and propulsion units (e.g., inflatable boats, rowing boats, canoes and surfboards),
  • with sails up to 25 sqm sail area,
  • with sails without limitation of the sail area, provided that it is the use of a windsurfing board or
  • foreign sailboats without engine or with engine up to 15 PS/11 kW net power
  • with engines up to 15 PS/11 kW net power,
  • with engines without limitation of the net power, provided that it is the occasional use of a foreign water sports vehicle and that no official permission is required for driving.

Is participation in tournaments or competitions included?

Yes, your personal liability insurance also provides you with insurance coverage if you take part in a tournament. However, the only condition is that you do not practice the sport professionally, but only in your free time as a hobby. Participation in horse, bicycle and car races is excluded.

Against which damages am I insured?

Your liability insurance provides you with the following protection:

  • Personal injury
  • Damage to property
  • Financial losses

The terms personal injury and damage to property are self-explanatory. You trigger a small rock fall while climbing, a vehicle in a parking lot below is hit by one of the rocks and the windshield breaks. Here, we are dealing with classic property damage within the scope of liability insurance for sports.

Property damage is somewhat more difficult to explain. It occurs when the injured party suffers a financial disadvantage. Suppose you ride your skateboard on the sidewalk, cannot avoid a pedestrian and his laptop falls to the ground. The hard drive is damaged by the fall. He can no longer access business data stored on it. This puts him at a financial disadvantage, as the data has to be restored in a time-consuming and expensive manner.

Basically, you are insured in your capacity as a private person against legal liability claims arising from section 823, paragraph 1 of the German Civil Code. Excluded from this are deliberately caused claims for damages:

"Anyone who wilfully or negligently violates the life, body, health, freedom, property or any other right of another unlawfully is obliged to compensate the other for the resulting damage."

Your liability insurance also offers you insurance coverage if the damage was caused by negligence.

How high is the sum insured?

The sum insured for your Coya liability insurance is 30 million euros. What at first sight sounds like an exaggerated amount can prove to be necessary in case of an emergency.

Michael Schumacher suffered an accident while skiing in Meribél, France, the consequences of which are still unforeseeable today. Again and again there are collisions on ski slopes, which can have similarly serious consequences. If the people involved are not celebrities, this does not appear in the media. The follow-up costs in the Schumacher case are probably in the double-digit million range by now. If the accident had been caused by a third party, the latter would have been financially ruined.

Am I insured when I play for a club?

Your private liability insurance also applies if you play in a club as a recreational athlete. 

You stumble over your sports bag and fall into the glass counter in the clubhouse. The person causing the damage and the legal situation are clear. You have to compensate for the damage.

Does my insurance also cover me abroad?

Your private liability insurance will cover you abroad. A good insurance always offers worldwide coverage.

You do not even have to surf in California. In the windsurfers' paradise of Lake Garda, you cannot evade an inflatable boat with your surfboard, so you ram into it. The dinghy is broken and one of its occupants has a bruise. Your German liability insurance will cover both the compensation for the damaged dinghy and all claims of the health insurance of the person involved in the accident.

When diving in Thailand, you actually manage to tear a hole in the rented diving suit. Also in this case, you are covered by your private liability insurance.

Does my insurance cover follow-up costs?

Follow-up costs usually arise if a person has been injured. These include rehabilitation measures or, in the worst case, life-long pension payments. If the accident happened to you and you caused damage to another person that is so serious that one of the cases occurs, Coya will cover these follow-up costs up to 30 million euros.

While skiing, you come across an ice plate, lose control over your skis and crash into a group of skiers who are taking a break. One of the group members is so badly injured in the knee that the mountain rescue service has to transport him away, and he has to go through several months of rehabilitation after his stay in hospital. Without appropriate insurance, you would probably be financially on the brink of the abyss. However, Coya will pay for all claims for damages, from the mountain rescue service to the hospital to rehab and compensation for pain and suffering.

Do my glasses fall under the insurance coverage?

Your glasses are not covered if you damage them yourself. If a third party is responsible for the damage, they must pay for the replacement. But what if he has no money, no credit and no insurance?

You are bowling and standing near the return of the bowling balls. A teammate takes a ball from the conveyor belt, checks its weight and swings it so far that he knocks the glasses off your nose. He himself cannot pay for the damage. Since your liability insurance also includes a bad debt cover, the damage is covered by your insurance.

The bad debt cover in your policy puts the claimant in the same position as if he were insured by Coya. The company pays you for new glasses and then takes recourse against the injuring party.

Is individual training covered?

Individual training is not an integral part of the training program in all sports, but in some sports it is. This includes, for example, tennis. The question now is, how can you cause damage during training for running? In shot put, discus or javelin throwing, the situation is somewhat different. It is enough for the javelin to hit a glass pane in the changing room. In this case, there is also full insurance coverage.

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