Income Protection Insurance for Footballers

If you play football regularly, then you should consider finding Income Protection.

Australians love football. No matter whether you’re talking about rugby league, rugby union, Aussie rules or soccer, our nation is obsessed with all the football codes and types.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one-third of the Australian population play sport twice or more per week. Unfortunately, playing football of any kind puts you at risk of suffering a serious injury.

Why should I consider income protection?

Income protection insurance is designed to cover you in the event of injury. It ensures you have a steady stream of income coming in while you’re unable to work, letting you simply focus on your recovery instead of worrying about how you'll manage the budget.

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What's the benefit of Income Protection Insurance for footballers?

Income protection insurance is designed to provide you with much-needed coverage when the unexpected happens. Income protection can:

  • Pay a portion of your usual income. This is usually up to 75 per cent of your salary, making it usable for any income level.
  • Give you monthly benefit payments. Having a steady stream of replacement income means you can keep paying your mortgage, repay other debts and manage day to day expenses.
  • Cover a specified benefit period. Policies can pay benefits for a specific amount of time, and can keep paying the same amount even for years on end if you're unable to work.

Playing football can affect your cover

Insurers are about risk management and many will judge football to be a risky endeavour, which may lead to higher premiums or exclusions.

How might my income protection policy be adjusted if I'm a footballer?

There are a number of ways that a footballers income protection policy may be adjusted to allow them to be provided with cover:

  • Premium loading. A premium loading is applied to income protection policies to reflect an increased risk of claim. For example, if you’re an amateur footballer an insurer might apply a 25 per cent loading to your insurance premiums, meaning you’ll obviously have to pay more for coverage than non-footballers.
  • Extended waiting period. An alternative option your insurer may offer takes the form of an extended waiting period. This is the time you must wait before you can start getting benefit payments after suffering injury or illness. For example, the typical waiting period in your policy might be 30 days, but your insurer may stipulate that the waiting period for sports injuries is 90 days. This extended waiting period can also apply to any injuries on areas of your body that have been previously affected by sporting injuries.
  • Exclusion. The other course of action your insurance provider might choose to take is to simply add an exclusion on football to your policy. This means you won’t have to pay any extra fees or more for your premiums, but you simply will not receive any cover for injuries you sustain while playing football. If this happens, you may be able to take a separate sports insurance policy that only covers you while playing sports.

Can footballers get income protection insurance?

Because football is so popular in Australia, insurers will typically still offer cover as long as you're not a professional player. However, it is still a risk factor which can affect your policy and may mean you're less likely to get cover. Whether you will get accepted for an income protection policy by an insurer depends on a range of factors, including how frequently you play and what level you play at, as well as factors including your current state of health, whether you have pre-existing conditions, your current income level, whether or not you're a smoker and more. These factors can determine whether you are offered conditions such as premium loadings or an extended waiting period, or if you are faced with a policy exclusion, or denied cover entirely.

Insurers will consider all of these, and more when deciding whether to offer cover. Your football playing is just one risk factor among many, but the relatively high rate of football injuries in Australia means it can be a significant one. If you have other risk factors, such as being a smoker, then you may be more likely to get declined for cover. Here, you may be able to decrease your risk level by finding a policy that excludes cover for playing sports, and then taking out a separate personal sporting accident insurance policy to cover you on the field and deliver income protection benefits in a similar way.

Definitions of football in Australia

In Australia, football can refer to:

  • Soccer
  • Rugby League
  • Rugby Union
  • Australian Rules Football
  • Touch Football
  • Gridiron / American Football
  • Touch Football
  • Oz Tag

How will my insurer define football?

This will vary with each insurer and what they will consider a contact sport. As a general rule of thumb, it's a good idea to disclose your lifestyle with your insurer including any sports you play and how often.

Can I obtain income protection cover if I am semi-professional or professional football player?

While income protection coverage is generally available for amateur footballers, the issue gets a little more difficult if you’re a semi-professional or professional player. For example, if you’re receiving small match payments for taking to the field, your insurer may reject your application for cover on the basis that you are playing at a more competitive level with higher risks. Insurers will often offer or deny cover on a case-by-case basis. Speaking to a range of insurers and shopping around can help you find cover.

Professional players are generally excluded

Most mainstream insurers will not offer income protection cover to professional sports players of any kind. Generally, the salaries and the risk of injury are too high.

Check with your sporting association

If you’re a member of a sporting association, your team may have an insurance scheme in place. For example, you may have personal accident cover while on the field, or might be able get cover through a partnered specialist insurer.

There are specialist insurers that can deliver a range of other cover for professional footballers. This form of insurance can be found by individuals, or through a sporting organisation. Often, these policy types can be similar to combined life insurance, including income protection benefits.

Learn more about income cover for professional sports players

Do I need to disclose that I play football when I apply for income protection?

No matter what type of life insurance product you’re applying for, it’s essential that you provide honest and accurate information to your insurer. Be upfront and honest about your football activities and supply and information your insurance provider asks for. If it later emerges that you did not fully disclose all relevant details to your insurer at the time of applying for coverage, future claims you make could be rejected. Under your duty of disclosure, this counts as a risk you need to inform them of.

How risky is football?

Both rugby and soccer are some of the riskiest sports out there, outpacing almost any other sport in both sheer number of injuries, and likelihood of being injured across all age groups.

The table below shows the number of injuries requiring hospitalisation in a 12 month period from 2011 to 2012, and the hospitalisation rate per 100,000 participants. Every year you play football, your chance being one of the people who suffers a serious injury increases.

Number of injuries requiring hospitalisationRate of hospitalisation per 100,000 participants
Rugby (all codes)2,62115.0
Australian rules3,18618.2
Touch football6443.7

Does 'complimentary interim' income protection cover football injuries?

What is complimentary interim income protection?

Most insurance providers will provide complimentary accidental injury cover for applicants while the insurer is processing their application.

Check with your policy for exclusions

It is not uncommon for insurers to have an extra set of exclusions applied to this cover for when a benefit will be paid. As an example, AIA will not provide a benefit for total disablement that has occurred within the interim period if it is a result of a football injury. It is crucial to be aware of the these exclusions prior to taking out cover.

Can I claim a tax deduction on my income protection policy premiums?

In Australia, most premiums for income protection insurance policies are considered to be tax-deductible by the Australian Taxation Office. Your policy needs to be shown to be linked to your ability to generate an assessable income, while your policy cannot be related to death or specific injuries.

Taxation of income protection

Income protection insurance is a vital consideration for many Australians, but for those of us who play any form of amateur football it can be even more important. Income protection insurance is designed to help lessen the financial burden if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury. If you injure yourself or contract a serious illness and are forced out of the workforce for an extended period of time, this type of cover will ensure you still have money coming in and you can continue to provide for your family.

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William Eve

Will is a personal finance writer for specialising in content on insurance. While he cannot give personal advice to clients, Will enjoys explaining the intricacies of different types of protective cover to help individuals and businesses find affordable cover that won't leave them underinsured.

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