Race Insurance: Know Your Options
One of the more common questions coming up in our race directors group is race insurance: who offers it and how to get it.
So we've put together all the different race insurance options available by country, from master policies offered by governing bodies such as RRCA and UK Athletics to private insurance brokers offering tailor-made policies for every possible type of race.
Buckle up - there's a ton of acronyms coming your way!
Looking for virtual insurance options? Skip to the virtual insurance section.
Race insurance options in the United States
RRCA insurance for running events and running event organizers is probably the most comprehensive policy out there. The service is available to all RRCA Event Members (annual membership fees come at $0.05 per participant, volunteer or race committee member with a surcharge of $76/$100 for non-profits/for-profits respectively).
The RRCA insurance policy for events covers (2017 rates):
- General liability insurance: RRCA offers two policies with a max per-occurrence cover of $1 million and $2 million (both policies come with unlimited aggregate coverage). Insurance costs start at $100 and $200 respectively and increase with the number of people covered (number of people covered should include all participants, volunteers and race committee members).
- Volunteer medical coverage: On top of the general liability insurance, volunteers can separately be insured against medical expenses for an additional $250-$300.
- Operations insurance: For a further $750 you can extend your race insurance coverage to include damage, destruction or theft of equipment (e.g. timing clocks, computers etc), hardware and personal property. This Operations Insurance will get you much the same coverage you would get from a business insurance policy. If you already have business insurance, there's also a standalone equipment insurance policy available.
It's important to note that the RRCA insurance policy covers event organizers only for events they organize that they also own. For event organizers providing timing or other event management services to events they do not own, a different policy is available with similar coverage to the general liability policy above. This policy is only available to RRCA Certified Race Directors.
USA Track & Field offer insurance coverage for USATF-sanctioned events (event sanctioning fees start ta $60 for events with up to 100 participants).
USATF insurance services include:
- General liability insurance : The policy covers race directors, race officials, volunteers and USATF members against liabilities up to $1 million per occurrence with a $3 million aggregate event cap.
- Volunteer medical coverage : Separate medical coverage can be purchased for event volunteers starting at $20 per person ($56 for volunteer physicians/doctors). The same $1 million per occurrence and $3 million totals of the general liability policy apply for the volunteer medical coverage.
- USATF's Event Director Program : For coverage outside sanctioned events, race directors can choose to purchase USATF's Event Director policy. This policy provides general liability, auto liability and physical damage coverage for event directors during day-to-day business operations.
USA Triathlon offer both an Event Liability insurance policy for use during an event and an Event Directors Program policy, similar to that offered by USATF, that covers race directors for day-to-day business operations.
The USAT Event Liability policy is only available to USAT-sanctioned events and provides comprehensive liability insurance coverage for race directors, participants, volunteers and race officials.
The American Trail Running Association offers event liability insurance for ATRA member race directors (membership starts at $95) under its Trail Running Insurance Program (TRIP) in partnership with Nicholas Hill Group.
The ATRA insurance policy covers race directors, sponsors, race officials/staff, volunteers and participants and it includes:
- General liability up to $1 million per occurrence to an aggregate event maximum of $2 million
- Accident coverage up to $10,000
Policy premiums start at a flat $100 premium for events with less than 200 participants and rise to between $0.22-$0.48 per participant for larger events.
The US Adventure Racing Association provides specialist event insurance for sanctioned adventure races. The policy includes general liability coverage for race directors and accidental medical coverage for event participants.
For more information, visit the USARA website.
Cancellation insurance has been getting a lot more attention recently with many events across the US having had to cancel due to severe adverse weather and natural disasters, such as wildfires, which experts expect will only be getting worse in the future.
Perhaps because of the increased frequency of race cancellations, a few specialist event cancellation insurers have come forward with products designed specifically with the needs of race directors and mass-participation events in mind.
One such insurer, Nicholas Hill Group has developed a comprehensive cancellation policy that is now available to our members at a 10% discount. For more information on the Nicholas Hill Group race cancellation program and to apply click here.
Virtual Race Insurance
If you find yourself having to switch your physical race to a virtual race - or looking to organize a standalone virtual race - you may still require a reasonable amount of legal liability coverage from your insurance policy.
Unlike physical races, where liabilities are a lot higher, a dedicated virtual insurance policy will be a lot cheaper and can cover you against basic legal liabilities you will have as the organizer of the event.
Specialist insurance brokers Nicholas Hill Group have developed a cost effective liability policy exclusively for virtual races that may suit your needs. Cover starts at $125 per event and is easy to obtain here.
Other commercial insurers
Outside of the options listed above, there are a number of other commercial specialist insurance providers for mass-participation events. Insurance services provided commercially include general liability, event cancellation and equipment insurance.
Race insurance options in the United Kingdom
UK Athletics is the largest provider of event insurance for races in the UK. UKA provides insurance to all races obtaining a UKA licence or permit, including permits and licences obtained from affiliated bodies, such as Welsh Athletics, Scottish Athletics, England Athletics, Athletics Northern Ireland and the UK Trail Running Association.
The UKA master policy covers public liability and third party claims brought within the UK up to £50 million per occurrence. All UKA-licensed events and affiliated clubs become automatically eligible under the UKA insurance policy.
Similar to UK Athletics, British Cycling also offers event insurance to all BC-registered events. The BC public liability policy covers race directors, race officials and volunteers involved in the delivery of registered events for claims up to a maximum of £15 million.
A separate motor vehicle insurance is also available for road cycling organisers using their own vehicle in an official capacity for the duration of a registered race.
Other commercial insurers
If, for whatever reason, you decide against the insurance policies offered by the relevant sports governing body, you have several other options available to you on the private market.
Sutcliffe & Co. and Mann Broadbent are two sister insurance brokers, specialising in endurance event insurance. Their expertise covers all kinds of events, from obstacle races to extreme challenges and ultramarathons, and their reach extends both to the UK and other overseas destinations (including continental Europe). Bluefin Sports also have a strong background in OCR, being the appointed insurance broker for OCRA UK.