More thoughts on insurance

Well lots more e-mail and web site comment about the fallout from the Stratford triathlon race sanctioning and follow-on insurance. So, worth a few more comments. I've also added a few links to appropriate material and comment published elsewhere.

When racing you really need to consider the two facets of coverage completely separately and decide if either or both is satisfactory. The areas needing cover are public liability and personal accident. Neither of these cover 99.99% of the things that really go wrong while racing in triathalon. What sorts of things are not covered by these?
  1. You check your bike into transition on Saturday for a race on Sunday, you come back on Sunday to find your bike stolen from the transition area - Not covered!
  2. You start the race, the swim goes well, you fly through transition and out on your bike trying to put you feet in your bike shoes, on a slight downhill you wobble, hit the curb fall off and break your right arm, your front wheel rim breaks, and you end up with a hairline crack in your carbon fibre forks - None of this is covered, not even the broken arm that perhaps stops you working for six weeks, not a penny coverage.
  3. You push really hard on the run and as you cross the finish line you trip and smash your chin, breaking your jaw, smashing your front teeth - You'll get £25 per night when you are in hospital but nothing for the thousands of pounds of dental work, and nothing for loss of income while you are off work.
  4. After the race you put your bike into the car and go into town to have a minor celebration and some dinner, when you get back to the car not only has your bike been stolen, so has all you kit, nearly £2,000 all-in. The BTA insurance doesn't cover you, your car insuarnce limits a claim to the first £200 of contents and your home insurance policy doesn't cover bikes over £250.

So, while the BTA personal accident insurance affords you some cover for very serious injuries in a normal race, I suspect this is money for old rope really as I don't that know that there have been many claims against the terms... but since the BTA doesn't keep records we don't know.

So, you might consider the lack of insurance for loss of hearing, loss of speech, sight, one limb etc. not worth worrying about. And really, is £25 per night in hospital really that important?

So, that leaves permananent disability(£50,000) and death(a paltry £5000) and you'd probably be better off getting additional cover, and checking your life insurance if this is important because £5000 will barely bury you and if you are permanently disabled £50,000 won't begin to pay for all the help you need.

[31/3/06 Addition] Of course, all this assumes you are racing and training in the UK where we have the NHS. Love it or hate it at least you can count on the NHS to send an ambulance, collect you and treat you for free. The Race Organiser has to make arrangements to have suitable emergency cover for the course, so in the first instance you might be rescued by the St Johns Ambulance, but will be taken to a NHS accident and emergency hospital. If travelling to and training/racing in the European Union, UK Residents need to apply for one of the new 2006 Individual E111 cards. This will get you free reciprocal medical care in another EU country. What it won't get you is emergency repatriation in the event of a very serious accident. Anywhere else overseas and you need private medical insurance.

Whats really important, IMHO, is the public liability insurance while racing. If some old lady steps off the curb and tries to cross the road when you are hurtling down the road and 35MPH and you hit her and kill her, you wouldn't want to lose your house. And without public liability insurance this would be a real possibility and something you have no control off.
British Triathlon Association Insurance Cover
Triathletes-uk web site commentary
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