General Liability, Accident, Directors & Officers, Crime and Equipment insurance for youth and adults baseball and softball teams and leagues.
Select from the appropriate program below for more information and a quote:
Recommended policies for typical baseball leagues
- General Liability covers certain lawsuits that allege bodily injury to a player or spectator or property damage. The policy should have an each-occurrence limit of $1 million. But because many field owners require a higher limit, consideration should be given to a $2 million limit.
- Excess Accident pays medical bills on behalf of injured participants, regardless of who was at fault. The coverage is excess or secondary, which means that family health insurance, if any, must respond first. We recommend a minimum medical limit of at $25,000, but encourage a higher limit.
- Directors & Officers Liability covers many lawsuits not covered by General Liability, such as wrongful termination/suspension of league administrators, volunteers or players; allegations of discrimination; and failure to follow your own rules. We recommend an each-claim limit of at least $1 million.
- Equipment Insurance protects against loss due to theft, severe weather, fire and vandalism with a limit to cover the replacement cost value of your equipment.
- Crime Insurance with a minimum limit of $25,000 to protect against employee and volunteer embezzlement or theft of cash by outsiders.
Larger leagues with additional exposures may need to consider Property Insurance on buildings, Auto Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation. Click here for a detailed description of these policies.
Baseball Risk Management to Reduce Injuries
Players, coaches and umpires risk injuries as a result of being struck by pitched, thrown, and batted balls, flying bats, falling, making contact with bases, colliding with other players, and pulling muscles and ligaments. Most of these injuries are minor or medium severity bruise/contusions, joint sprains, or fractures.
Baseball is considered a low-risk brain injury sport by the insurance industry. However, some state laws require mandatory concussion risk management programs for youth leagues.
However, baseball participants can suffer catastrophic injuries resulting in death and permanent disability. These are rare and typically the result of spinal cord injuries caused from sliding into base headfirst or Commotio cordis resulting from a line drive striking the head or chest.
Injuries also frequently occur when there is a lack of supervision of players among the younger players. Roughhousing, swinging bats when too close to others, and playing on bleachers and fences often result in injuries.
Particularly relevant to baseball is the fact that wayward balls are the cause of more claims for damages and injuries than anything else. Baseballs often slam into spectators, players, dugouts, windows, cars, or anything else in their path. Wild pitches, overthrown balls, and balls hit out of the park are only some of ways balls can cause injuries.
Many baseball pitchers suffer from overuse of the elbow and shoulder over the course of a game, a week, or an entire season. Pitching is stressful on the joints, ligaments and tendons of still developing young arms. It’s critical that pitchers learn proper pitching techniques, specifically proper positioning of the arm in the pitching motion.
For some youth payers, baseball has become a year-round sport or even their only sport. Parents, enticed by hopes of college scholarships and even the possibility of a pro career, are urged to have their children participate on travel teams, in year-round leagues, and in showcases.
Major League Baseball and USA Baseball recently developed the Pitch Smart compliance program to help identify the youth baseball organizations that have adopted its principles and guidelines. Pitch Smart offers players, parents and coaches guidelines on avoiding overuse injuries, which include:
- Following the recommended rules regarding the number of pitches kids can throw in a game. (See table below).
- Having players of all ages take at least three months off per year from overhead arm movements.
- Not permitting any pitchers experiencing persistent pain in his/her throwing arm to pitch until the pain completely subsides.
Some independent travel and all-star teams playing in independently-operated tournaments do not have pitch limits or rest rules for pitchers. In this case, parents should track their child’s pitch counts to stay within the recommended limits below.
American Sports Medicine Institute youth baseball pitching guidelines:
|Age in Years||Pitches per Game||Pitches per Week|
|15-16||90||2 games per week|
|17-19||105||2 games per week|
Sliding into the bases
Sliding is a standard base-running strategy, but learning the proper techniques of different slide styles is the key to the prevention of injuries. Younger players should not be sliding into bases headfirst.
Almost all of sports-related eye injuries are preventable. Protective eyewear such as fielders’ goggles and batters’ face guards should be considered standard safety equipment for players.
Prescription glasses and sunglasses don’t offer protection, and actually increase the risk of eye injury. Standard eyeglasses and contacts can easily shatter upon impact and puncture the eye and surrounding tissue. Athletes who wear glasses or contacts should inquire about getting their prescriptions matched in protective eyewear.
Proper use and fit of equipment is just as big a factor in minimizing the risk of injury. More than half of all organized sports-related injuries occur during practices, so make sure your child wears all required safety gear every time he or she plays and practices. Players should wear the following:
- A helmet that is properly fitted and certified should be worn when batting, waiting to bat, and running the bases. Batters’ face guards are optional safety equipment that should be seriously considered. These devices protect from the risk of a serious dental, facial and eye injuries from being struck by pitched balls. See our article on the effectiveness of batters’ face guards.
- Protective eyewear. Players who wear glasses should obtain protective eyewear from an eye-care professional knowledgeable of sports-safety standards.
- Catcher’s gear. Catchers should always use a catcher’s mitt and wear a helmet, face mask, throat guard, chest protector, and shin guards.
- Molded cleats. Shoes with steel spikes are usually prohibited and leagues recommend molded cleats. Make sure the shoes fit properly, allowing for side-to-side movement. Avoid hand-me downs (they will probably fit poorly) and worn down cleats.
- Mouth guard. A mouth guard protects the teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue and can even reduce the risk of head and neck injuries such as concussions and jaw fractures.
- Catchers should wear protective cups.
- Prior to play, the playing field should be inspected for holes, glass and other debris.
- Breakaway or slide-over safety bases have been proven to reduce sliding injuries resulting from contact with base by a significant percentage.
- Weather conditions should be assessed prior to play and a delay/cancellation plan in place in the event of severe weather or thunderstorms with lightning.
Lightning safety and the 30/30 rule
Outdoor athletic events should be halted or postponed if a thunderstorm is six miles or less away from the site. Use the 30/30 rule for estimating the distance of a storm. Measure the elapsed time from the flash to the bang. A count of five seconds equals a distance of one mile, so a count of thirty seconds equals a distance of six miles. Once you’ve seen lightning, you need to evacuate to a safe location (inside a fully-enclosed building or vehicle). If you can’t count to 30 before hearing a clap of thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. In most cases, when you can hear thunder, you are no longer safe.
Please read our lightning fact sheet that offers more information on lightning precautions, myths, and safety tips.
We recommended that sports organizations that transport high school aged and younger children should require parents to transport their children whenever feasible. We also advise that 15- and 12-passenger vans should never be used when renting or borrowing vehicles to transport athletes. These vehicles have a high rollover rate. School buses, 7-passenger minivans, or passenger cars, are the preferred vehicles for team travel.
Lack of supervision and lack of instruction are two of the leading causes of lawsuits arising out of youth baseball. Specific supervision is one-on-one interaction between a coach and a single player or a small group of players. Elements of proper supervision include the duty to stop roughhousing, being close enough to adequately observe and intervene if necessary, and proper ratio of adults to youth. Proper instruction requires coaches be knowledgeable in baseball specific techniques and game and safety rules, and that these all of these topics are covered with the athletes.
Baseball coaches should be knowledgeable in proper throwing, batting, sliding and catching techniques. Headfirst sliding for younger players should be prohibited and batters should be taught how to get out of the way or turn away from a pitch aimed directly at them. The coach should be trained in first-aid and have an emergency medical plan for treatment of injuries in place at all practices and games.
Coaches and umpires should enforce the league’s severe weather policy. Policies for practices and games in extreme heat and when lightning is observed should be established in advance of the season.
Youth coaches and umpires should be certified or trained through an organization such as National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA), which provides an appropriate education on the emotional needs of youth, the role of winning vs. having a positive experience, and the basics of safety and risk management.
We offer much more free baseball risk management content, including articles on important injury topics, legal forms such as waiver/release agreements and medical consent, sources for criminal background checks, sex abuse and molestation risk management programs, general ballpark safety risk management programs, awareness training videos on sex abuse and molestation protection, and how to identify and respond to safety hazards at the ballpark.