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Disability Insurance For Student Athletes

Two college football standouts recently sought disability insurance against a the possibility of a career ending injury disabling them while still in college. One of them, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, a Heisman Trophy winner, likely has a promising and potentially lucrative professional career ahead of him, but he’s not forgetting about the day-to-day risks of playing the sport he loves until the big contract is (hopefully) signed.

The NCAA itself offers an individual disability insurance program to student-athletes it predicts will be highly-drafted in their chosen sport. Called Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance, former Stanford and now Colts quarterback Andrew Luck reportedly had a $5 million policy.

Those who watched Louisville’s run to the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship may understand exactly why these athletes are taking out disability insurance before turning their gifts into careers. Kevin Ware’s brutal fracture in the Final 4 made viewers across the country cringe.

Any disability insurance lawyer would encourage you to take a close look at the fine print of these policies however, before deciding whether it’s the right move. Even better, request a policy review from a disability insurance attorney before signing on the dotted line.

Most, if not all, cover only permanent total disability. Not just an injury. And, for a student-athlete, the cost of the premiums -often several thousands of dollars – price the coverage out of reach. The NCAA does offer a financing program that doesn’t have to be paid until the player signs a big contract or leaves school, but if he or she doesn’t go pro, the premiums come due immediately.

Despite the increasing popularity of these policies among student athletes, actual payouts on the policies remain relatively low.

Source: Source: The Atlantic, “The $5 Million Question: Should College Athletes Buy Disability Insurance?,” April 11, 2013

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