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The right insurance is the best defense for martial arts studios

  

Mary Lou Jay

Martial arts styles popular in the United States include kung fu, karate, judo, tae kwon do, krav maga, jujutsu, muay thai and mixed martial arts. Many students are attracted to these fighting styles because they want to learn to defend themselves if they're attacked.

But it's not only the students at martial arts studios who should be worrying about self-defense strategies. If the studios' owners don't have the right insurance coverage in place, they could be at risk for substantial financial losses if people are hurt while taking a class or injured in an accident while traveling to a tournament.

Liability insurance

Liability insurance pays for legal expenses and for damages if a student sues the studio. Policy limits will vary by insurer. Specialty insurer Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance, for example, offers liability coverage up to $3 million per location and $1 million per incident. Martial arts studios that provide transportation for students to competitions should make sure they have business auto insurance coverage on all company-owned vehicles. If staff members are using their own cars to regularly transport students, the company may need what's known as non-owned auto liability insurance.

Medical payments coverage

Medical payments coverage will pay the medical bills of an injured student or staff member, as long as the injury is listed in the policy. Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance, for example, offers medical payments (and dental) coverage with a $25,000 limit. The cost of coverage is based on the number of students enrolled and the type of martial art being practiced.

Your medical payments coverage may have exclusions. For example, there likely will be a window of time for claims -- Westpoint Insurance, which provides insurance for a variety of sports facilities, requires that claims be filed within a year of an accident. Sadler Sports and Recreation requires that the injured party exhaust all personal health insurance benefits before the medical payments coverage kicks in.

Other exclusions include the types of injuries covered. Laurence Cole Insurance Agency, for example, excludes intentional injuries, injuries that occurred while the participant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and illness (unless that illness stems from an infected cut or wound sustained at the studio).

Workers' compensation

Most states require employers, including martial arts studios, to purchase workers' compensation insurance to cover their employees. According to the Insurance Information Institute, workers' compensation insurance provides money to employees who are injured on the job or who contract a work-related illness. Workers' comp benefits provide medical care and lost wages to employees until they can return to work. An employee receives payment whether the company is at fault or not.

Other considerations

You also may want to buy additional coverage for damaged or stolen equipment, accusations of sexual harassment and events like birthday parties (which will include students who aren't officially enrolled).

Before buying any type of business insurance policy, martial arts studio owners should check the policy carefully to make sure they're covered for all the styles of martial arts that they're offering. The Martial Arts Studios policy offered by the Philadelphia Insurance Cos., for example, covers aikido, cardio kickboxing, kendo, tai chi and tae kwon do, but excludes Brazilian jujutsu, grappling, mixed martial arts and submission fighting.

See how much you could save today on your insurance. Get your free business insurance quotes today!

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