Protect your fantasy investment with fantasy football insurance

Terri Huggins

A serious injury, such as a concussion, can mean the end to a star player's time on the field - and if that player is the star of your fantasy football team, then your season might be over too.

And fantasy participants can face a lot more than a losing season when a star player faces a game changing injury -- they may have a lot of money to lose, too.

fantasy football insuranceHowever, the insurance industry has come up with a clever solution to that problem. Fantasy sports insurance, provided by Intermarket Insurance Agency of Huntington, New York, allows sports fans to protect their fantasy football and baseball teams by purchasing insurance on specific players. So if a key player on your fantasy football team gets injured, fantasy football insurance will pay out, allowing you to recoup your investment in your team.

Recouped expenses can include the entry fee of your fantasy league and if you've paid any fees for online statistical data services or publications to track players.

How does fantasy football insurance work?

Henry Olszewski, vice president of sales at Intermarket Insurance Agency, discovered the repercussions of losing a star player during his fantasy football tournament in 2008.

"When Tom Brady was injured and considered a loss for the 2008 season, I was affected since I drafted him," Olszewski says. "A buddy and I talked about how that injury can hurt anyone who had Tom Brady as a fantasy football) recruit. We couldn't believe no one else was doing this. So we started working on a plan for the insurance"

A year later in 2009, fantasy sports insurance was born, with the backing of top underwriters from Lloyds of London. Each season, Olszewski creates a list of the top 75 fantasy players eligible for coverage. Once his underwriters approve the selection based on popularity, skill level and likelihood of injuries, the list is then published on the Fantasy Sports Insurance website for people to browse and make their selections.

The list is all-inclusive of player positions including quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers. You can purchase protection for each player during the first week of the football season. Last year, popular players included Chris Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick and Maurice Jones Drew.

"There's no rate change for players, so it won't cost more to insure Tom Brady than it would to insure Wes Welker," Olszewski says. "Price is based on the amount of players insured, the fee of their fantasy league and the protection option chosen. The premium is) about 10 percent of the insured amount." That means if you insured one player for $200, your premium would cost about $20.

How to choose your fantasy football insurance policy

Insurers can pick one of three policies the policy price will vary depending on how many players you choose to insure):

  1. You insure one important player against missing nine games in the event of an injury.
  2. You insure two players against missing a combined fourteen games due to injury.
  3. You insure three players against missing 18 games.

Olszewski describes the process of choosing a policy as "pretty simple."

Once you purchase a policy, you receive a certificate documenting the players covered, coverage amount, the amount paid and coverage option. Injury reports are posted on the website allowing you to track the status of each player.

If a covered player gets injured and is ineligible for the rest of the season, and the underwriter determines the injury as valid, policyholders will receive certified checks for the insured amount. Past claims have been paid for Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders and Jahvid Best, formerly of the Detroit Lions.

And the best part? The payment, once approved by the underwriter, is automatic and policyholders don't need to make a claim. "Policyholders) just wait for the check to arrive in the mail," Olszewski says.

Henry has seen an increase in the coverage's popularity - he says that thousands of people have purchased policies since Intermarket Insurance Agency started offering the insurance. Even NFL players have taken notice.

"It's a little concerning to hear that fans are taking out insurance on us for fantasy football. You never want to think that fans are preparing for the possibility of you getting injured," says Delanie Walker, tight end for the Tennessee Titans.

However, he adds, "We players take out insurance policies on our bodies all the time, so I definitely see where fantasy football players) are coming from. People take their fantasy football really seriously and as someone who hopes to score a lot of points for my fantasy owners this season, I welcome the enthusiasm."

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