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Attention, Division I Athletes: It’s Time To Think About Elite Athlete Insurance

Today is the much-anticipated National Signing Day for football, during which many high school seniors publicly declare where they will continue their education and athletic career.

Once the excitement of the day subsides, it’s time for the Division I-bound elite athletes – including those in baseball, basketball and hockey – to have a serious conversation with their families and coaches about insurance.

You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t it a little early to be thinking about the draft?” To put it simply, no. Awareness is growing, but misinformation about elite athlete insurance still abounds. Athletes put time and effort into their college selection; such careful consideration should also go into insurance decisions. Start by learning as much as you can about available coverage for draft slot protection and permanent total disability.

In speaking with compliance directors, coaches, handlers, agents and financial planners, we noticed a common issue. Most know there are products out there, but often don’t know the answers to these crucial questions:

  1. What are the features, advantages and benefits of loss of value and permanent total disability policies?
  2. What about the typical restrictions, limitations and common exclusions?
  3. Who is selling these policies in the U.S. and abroad?
  4. When is the best time to shop and buy?
  5. How does the elite athlete begin the process of applying for coverage?
  6. What is the best way to finance or pay for the coverage?
  7. Why is the policy language important, and what’s negotiable?

What happens if you don’t know where to get the answers to these questions? The results may vary, but none are good. You may end up with incomplete policy applications – or worse fatal mistakes before delivery – or purchase expensive policies with poor coverage language. You may even forgo terrific coverage altogether.

RELATED: Checkout How Athletes Can Win The Disability Claim Game

Some issues, such as paying the premiums, are more complicated than others. If a college or university has several draft-eligible athletes, can they afford to fund the premiums for every one? If not, how do you choose who to help? Should you use the Student Assistance Fund, or save it for emergency financial needs?

The answers to these questions are not always straightforward; what’s best for one elite athlete may not suit another. That makes it even more important for coaches, athletes, compliance directors, agents and financial planners to understand the nuances of elite insurance policies. When it comes to the specifics – and in this case, there are so many – it’s important to know when to call an expert disability insurance attorney for guidance.

Start early. Ask the right questions. This process should be a collaborative effort between athletes, their families and athletic/compliance administrators. Careful planning can turn a stressful, last-minute decision into a calculated, protective step to insure an elite athlete’s future career.

Want more information? Contact us for free application help when you get inquiries for your players, or for free application help to avoid fatal mistakes before delivery of the policy.

Next week, we’ll dive further into the challenges of funding elite athlete insurance policies – stay tuned!

DarrasLaw is Americas' most honored and decorated disability litigation firm in the country. Mr. Darras has seen more, evaluated more, litigated more, and resolved more individual and group long term disability and long-term care cases than any other lawyer in the United States.

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