Drop that cliff worry free: Utah company offers accident insurance for high-risk athletes

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 12, 2009 11:31 am

It’s an all too familiar story. An action sports athlete, while pushing the limits of their respective discipline, goes down with a devastating injury. Sometimes one can rebound from the injury, but other times the accident is not only career-ending, but life-changing in the case of paralysis or death.

While the emotional impact is undoubtedly difficult, the associated financial burdens to these athletes often creates extreme hardship. For anyone who has ever suffered a major injury or sickness, they know the obscene cost of medical care in the United States. 

In my own case, where last season I broke my C4-C5 vertebrae resulting in spinal fusion surgery (see picture), my bills amounted to nearly $50,000. Thankfully, I had a policy under my parents that covered most of my medical bills, but I was fortunate.

Many of today’s top pro action sports athletes are currently competing without health insurance. They are categorized as uninsurable, due to the high levels of risk they undertake each time they participate in their sport. Regardless of one’s opinion on universal health care, athletes need to be offered protection.

Finally, someone has come up with a partial solution to curb these unfortunate incidents. Xtreme Sports Insurance (XSI) out of Draper, UT has recently began offering accident insurance policies for high-risk athletes. Starting at $17 a month, athletes can purchase a Level 1 individual policy. While the policy is still not enough in the event of a permanent injury, it’s definitely a start to fixing this problem.

For a look at the prescribed benefits in the case of various injuries or death, check out this table.

XSI doesn’t cover basic medical checkups for illness or minor medical procedures. That would be something for your health insurance policy, if covered under an existing plan. However,  XSI doesn’t place restrictions on how the accident occurred. Whether it happened on the hill, or walking home drunk from the bar, you would be covered. 

“Most extreme athletes aren’t worried about getting sick,” said XSI founder Robert Scott. “They’re worried about getting injured.”