7 things you need to know about race insurance

Terri Huggins

Signing up for races, such as triathlons, Tough Mudder or The Color Run far in advance may be a great incentive for you to start training. However, race fees can cost hundreds of dollars, which would be lost if you never made it to the starting line.

race insurance

In order to protect your race registration fee, insurer Allianz Global Assistance offers what it calls "registration protection." This type of insurance allows participants to recoup registration fees if they are forced to drop out of the race.

What is race insurance?

Here are 7 things to know about race insurance.

1. 15 percent of all race participants don't make it to the start line.

According to Allianz, 15 percent of racers don't show up to the start line. And if you don't take part in the race, you may lose your race fee which can cost between $20 and $500. "More than 20 million people participate in an endurance event every year in the United States), so the registration protection seemed like a natural fit," says Michael Milici, director of health and insurance channels at Allianz Global Assistance.

2. It won't pay out if you change your mind.

Ten different situations are covered under the policy. Covered situations include illness or serious injury, job loss, work relocation, traffic accidents, mechanical breakdown, airline delay, jury duty, caring for a family member, military duty and airline delays.

However, if you try to make a claim because you haven't trained enough, or there's bad weather on the day of the race, you'll be out of luck. "You need to have) a legitimate reason to not attend the event," Milici says. "You won't be covered) if it's windy on race day and you just didn't feel like showing up or because you didn't train enough."

Also, invitations to unexpected events that are on the same date as the race, such as weddings, also aren't covered.

3. Timing is flexible.

For some types of insurance, you have a specified time frame where you must purchase a policy in order to be covered. For example, many travel insurance policies require you to purchase a plan within a specified number of days of making your initial trip deposit typically between 10 and 14 days). However, race registration protection can be purchased up to the day before the event. Racers can opt in as much as a year prior to the race, or when they purchase their race registration.

It is important to note that if you're purchasing race insurance through an event, they may have their own requirements for when you can purchase registration protection coverage.

4. Cost of race insurance varies.

The cost of Allianz' race insurance varies between $6 and $30 and is based on the cost of registration for each race. Typically, the more expensive the registration fee for the race, the more expensive the race insurance premium will be.

5. Protection may not be worth it for everyone.

Despite the peace of mind the protection might offer racers, some feel as though this insurance isn't necessary. "It's not a lot of work for people to transfer their entry to other people. We have dozens of requests to transfer," says Alain Ferry founder of RaceMenu, a Boston-based site used to help promote various events around the country.

For participants in races that his company organizes, Ferry allow racers to transfer their entry fee to other participants, or allows them to apply to amount to future events.

6. It fills in the gaps.

However, not all race organizers permit transfers or refunds.

Christina Morlock, director of marketing and public relations for the Biggest Loser RunWalk agrees. "Our race series doesn't allow transfers or refunds, so I like the option to offer race insurance) to our participants."

7. Filing a race insurance claim is quick.

While many insurance claims can take months to process, claims for registration protection will only take about 30 days to complete. However, Milici notes that it is widely dependent on the consumer. "Generally, it's about 30 days, but it's definitely possible that it could be sooner than that," Milici says. "It depends on the consumer and what formal documentation they need." Once documentation proving the reason for missing the event, the claim will be processed and registration fees will be recouped.

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