Golf insurance

The popularity of golf is reflected in the size of the golf insurance market, but before paying for such cover consider the protection you may have from other sources.

Key points

  • Golf insurance can offer valuable protection, but check whether you already have the right cover through other sources
  • Areas to think about include cover for equipment, public liability insurance and personal injury cover, at home and abroad
  • DOES NOT currently offer dedicated golf insurance policies, but a number of our products may provide the cover you need

As golf tends to be seen as one of the safer and more sedate sports, it's easy to understand why many people wouldn't even give a passing thought to golf insurance.

That could be a costly mistake, though, as attempts to be the next Rory McIlroy or Annika Sorenstam have the potential to land you deep in the financial rough.

There is, in fact, a large and thriving golf insurance market that caters for the putters and fairway drivers of the world.

Golf insurance policies may prove worthwhile in the right circumstances, but it's important to remember that you may already have the cover you need through things like your home insurance or travel insurance.

Remember, though, that if you make a claim on, say, your home insurance, you may lose your no-claims bonus and lose out financially when you come to renew the policy.

If you're considering a dedicated golf policy, read the terms and conditions so you know what you're getting, ask yourself whether you need the cover, look at whether you already have adequate protection from another source and try to avoid doubling up on cover.

Insuring possessions away from home DOES NOT currently offer dedicated golf insurance policies, but a number of our products may provide the cover you need.

What does golf insurance cover?

As ever with insurance, every policy will vary and it's important to read your terms and conditions.

But the sort of things you could expect cover for on a dedicated golf insurance policy include personal injury cover, public liability insurance and protection for your clubs and other equipment.

Many golfers will want to ensure they're covered for sporting trips overseas, and you may want to consider other areas such as insurance for a golf buggy, protecting club membership payments and even hole-in-one cover.

Insurance for golf clubs and other equipment

Your putters, wedges, woods and drivers can cost a pretty penny, as can the golf bag you (or your caddy) need to lug around the course.

The right insurance can offer you financial protection, and areas you may want to consider include theft, loss, vandalism, accidental damage and replacement hire charges.

Also consider whether you're covered for any equipment you may hire while it's under your care… and remember that any equipment you yourself lend or hire out may not be covered.

Note that balls, tees, scratches and dents are typical exclusions, while clothing and buggies (see below) may also fall into this category and you should pay attention to a policy's excess levels, if you're protected for items left in a vehicle and whether new-for-old replacements are offered.

Remember to check whether you already have sufficient cover through your home insurance and/or travel insurance; if you're relying on your home policy, it might help to learn more about insuring personal possessions away from home.

Golfing mishaps

Public liability insurance

Even the best golfers are at the mercy of the golfing gods and the impact of a wild - or even just unlucky - shot can be very costly.

A swinging club or misdirected golf ball can cause a lot of damage, whether to another person or their property, and the player can be personally liable, even if they've given the traditional warning shout of 'Fore'.

Such an incident has the potential to lead to costly legal cases, medical and/or dental bills, loss of income claims and more… which are all things that public liability insurance might be able to help you with.

If you think this could never happen to you, consider the case of Anthony Phee, who lost an eye when he was struck by a ball and whose court case against the player and course owner resulted in him being paid damages of nearly £400,000.

Note that some clubs may offer an element of public liability insurance through their membership fees, green fees and/or for an additional premium.

Personal injury cover

It's possible that you'll be the one on the receiving end of a golfing accident or even an unfortunate incident such as a lightning strike, and it's worth thinking about the level of personal protection you have, both at home and abroad.

A golf policy may be one source of insurance, but more traditional options would include income protection insurance, life insurance, critical illness cover and health insurance.

Golf buggy insurance

Now, let's be clear on what we mean by golf buggy insurance… whatever certain Welsh rugby internationals may think, golf buggies are not typically roadworthy vehicles, so insurance is unlikely to cover you for a late-night jaunt down the motorway to McDonald's!

Jackass golf buggy crash

However, the right insurance can cover a golf buggy if it's lost, damaged or stolen; this typically applies to a buggy you've hired from a club, so if you drive your own buggy you may want to read the policy with extra care.

Golf buggies can be heavy vehicles that could do a lot of damage, so public liability insurance and personal injury cover are again areas to think about.

Golf insurance overseas

The right, dedicated golf policy can protect you and your equipment if you're planning to play abroad - check whether you're covered for the UK, Europe and/or worldwide - but also remember that you may already have adequate protection through a travel insurance policy.

Watch out for cover for the cost of hiring equipment if yours is lost or delayed in transit, and for reimbursing you for non-refundable green fees should your trip be cut short or cancelled.

As always with insurance, look out for exclusions, paying particular attention to things such as the duration of your trip and how many trips you're covered for in the course of the policy.

Hole-in-one insurance

While many golfers dream of a hole-in-one, the sport's traditions mean it can be a costly fantasy to realise. Getting an ace in the hole traditionally means that the successful striker stands the drinks in the 19th hole, buying a round for the clubhouse.

Many golf insurance policies will cover the bar bill up to a defined limit, as will many travel insurance policies should your single, glorious strike occur on foreign fairways. Be aware of exclusions, though; for example, the hole-in-one may have had to be registered during an official club competition.

Cover for membership fees, tournament fees and golf trophies

Some policies may offer to reimburse you for your membership fees and/or tournament fees if you're unable to play due to illness or an accident.

It's possible that you'll also find cover for golf trophies that are stolen or damaged.

By Sean Davies