International Student Insurance Coverage for International Student Athletes

What type of sports insurance coverage do your international students need? Sports and athletic coverage can be a bit confusing when it comes to international student insurance, so let’s break it down!

Insurance plans typically use the following language to distinguish between types of sports coverage: intercollegiate sports, interscholastic sports, intramural sports, recreational sports, club sports, and adventure sports. 

Intercollegiate Sports

Intercollegiate sports refers to sports that are played for a college or university. In the US, these typically fall under the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and often schools will have their own insurance plan that helps to cover NCAA athletes in the event of injury (during practice or a game). However, it is helpful to have students on a comprehensive private insurance plan in case something happens on or off the field (or court) and will help protect from losses on the school’s athletic policy.It’s important to check the policy wording to make sure that every sport the students are playing is covered – and always review the exclusions on a policy in full!

Interscholastic Sports

Typically, this term is going to refer to high school or middle school sports–NOT college sports. Not every plan will cover an organized school sport so be sure to confirm that your secondary students have interscholastic sports coverage included. You may also want to verify the area of coverage, especially if the team is involved in traveling.

Intramural Sports

Intramural sports are recreational organized sports and for the purpose of recreation and having fun. Oftentimes, intramural sports are run by student organizations and are more casual. However, students who plan to participate in intramural sports should have coverage for sports-related injuries. Again, it’s important to review policy wording to be sure coverage is in place for when something happens while participating in the sport.

Club Sports

Club sports are typically viewed as more competitive than intramural sports, but less competitive than intercollegiate sports. They often require tryouts and can be organized by different organizations on campus such as different schools on campus, fraternities/sororities, clubs/groups, etc. Students who participate in club sports are not necessarily considered “college athletes,” since they are not playing for the school, but they should have coverage for sports-related injuries. Club sports are sometimes separated out from intercollegiate and intramural sports so, once again, check policy wording carefully!

Recreational Sports

Recreational sports are sports that are participated in non-professionally and in a non-organized fashion. For example, a group of friends playing a pick up game of basketball. Or, a student playing racquetball at the local gym. These may or may not be covered based on the policy wording of the plan.

Adventure Sports

Adventure sports, also known as Extreme Sports, refers to the adrenaline-rush type of activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, white water rafting, caving, cross-country skiing, or paragliding. These are often excluded from base plans, but in some cases can be included with an add-on. Be sure to check the policy wording for the list of extreme sports before students engage in those activities. Often, you will find more information about excluded sports by checking the exclusion section of the policy wording.

Know Your Policy

If you’re advising student athletes, know your policy and its fine print. Be able to communicate these details to your international students. If they have questions about the claims process when dealing with a sports-related injury, please have them contact the insurance for further clarification on how the plan works!

Why is Sports Coverage Important?

Sports injuries are inevitable. And, they can often snowball, requiring surgeries, physical therapy, braces, and other care that can add up quickly. Ensuring your students are properly covered in the event of an athletic injury is important for your student’s well being and the health of the athletic team. We never want to see students (or institutions) worry about how they are going to pay very expensive medical bills, and athletic injuries can sometimes result in costly medical bills. So make sure your student athletes are covered! 

For non-student athletes, it’s best to have a policy that covers intramural, recreational, and even club sports, since many students do choose to participate in these activities. Same as above, it would be awful to see a student wind up with piles of medical debt because they hurt themselves while playing a game with friends. 

If you ever have questions or need further guidance about athletic coverage for your students, please know our University Relations team is here to guide you and can help you find the best option for your population.

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