I've suffered a sports injury. Am I entitled to insurance benefits?

Published 08 Nov 2017

Sport is a huge part of the national identity in Australia, but tens of thousands of people in the country are hospitalised each year due to injuries they've sustained playing their favourite pastimes.

The latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show that 36,000 people aged over 15 went to hospital during 2011-12 after hurting themselves during sports.

Australian rules football was the most hazardous game, although soccer came a close second. Motor sports, water sports and all variants of football were responsible for nearly half (47 per cent) of the total injuries.

But what happens when you suffer a severe injury? Are you entitled to an insurance payout through your superannuation fund?

Types of insurance cover

Super funds have various types of insurance available to members, including:

  • Total and permanent disability (TPD) cover;
  • Income protection; and
  • Critical illness cover.

Your eligibility for a sports injury payout will depend on the specific insurance products your fund trustee has purchased, but here are some rough guidelines highlighting what you can expect.

TPD

This insurance provides a lump sum benefit to anyone whose injuries or illnesses prevent them from ever returning to work. You are usually entitled to make a claim regardless of how your disablement occurred.

For example, sports injuries, accidents during employment and/or car crashes should all be covered. Nevertheless, some insurance policies require you to take out additional sports-related injury cover, so check your documentation thoroughly to ensure there are no surprises.

Income protection

Rather than a lump sum, income protection provides you with monthly payments to replace your wages while you are off work due to illness or injury.

Income protection with sports cover is available, but you shouldn't assume a policy automatically includes payouts for sports injuries. Extreme sports, such as motor racing, skydiving and abseiling are often excluded.

Critical illness cover

This insurance - which is also known as trauma cover - usually pays out for medically diagnosed diseases and other serious illnesses. Nevertheless, some conditions may arise from playing sports, such as limb paralysis or blindness.

As with income protection, some critical illness products may allow sports-related claims, but it's safer to assume they are excluded, especially extreme sports. You should therefore confirm with your super fund what coverage you have if you are an avid sports participant.

Would you like to know more about sports-related insurance payouts? Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers.

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