As a footballer, your body is key to how you earn your money. That means any impact on your wellbeing that stops you from playing, either physical or mental, could put your income at risk.
So, here are three uncertain and unexpected events that you might want to cover yourself against as a professional footballer to protect your income for you and your family.
1. You’re permanently injured, either during a match or otherwise
In all likelihood, you’re going to get injured at one time or another in your career – it’s just an unfortunate part of what you do for a living. But what happens if this is a permanent injury?
The danger of permanent injury is everywhere. It could be during a match, or you could end up hurting yourself outside of work in an event such as a car crash.
Your club will typically offer you between 12 and 18 months of protection under your standard contract if you’re permanently injured, depending on the nature of your injury and how long you have left on your contract.
However, this amount will almost certainly not be enough to sustain you forever, and potentially won’t even be enough to cover you until you’re able to find a different source of income.
Similarly, as you may well know, footballers on fixed-term contracts are classed as temporary workers. That means you aren’t eligible for income protection, a common option that people in other lines of work would explore to protect themselves and their families.
What you can do about it
While you do receive injury cover as negotiated by the PFA on your behalf, this only covers you for up to £25,000 as standard. That won’t go very far if your contract pays you £500,000 a year.
As a result, it may be sensible for you to self-insure with personal injury cover. This could protect you in the event that:
- You’re injured during a match
- You’re diagnosed with a qualifying illness
- You lose a limb
- You lose one of your senses, such as your hearing or ability to speak
- You go into a coma.
Of course, on the other side of this coin, you may be at an age where this kind of protection cover no longer makes sense for you.
For example, if you’re thinking about retiring soon and you’re confident you have enough money to live on if you were to stop playing immediately, there may be no point in paying for it.
Speak to us if you’d like to find out more about self-insuring for personal injury cover.
2. You become critically ill during your career
It can be easy to think that you’ll never become critically ill during your career. Unfortunately, there are many high-profile examples of players who suffered with serious illnesses such as cancer during their careers.
Indeed, no one will forget where they were that harrowing day when Christian Eriksen collapsed from a heart attack while playing in the Euros for Denmark.
Fortunately, Eriksen is now back and playing in the Premier League for Brentford. Even so, an event like this befalling you could limit your ability to play in the short term, potentially having a prolonged and even terminal effect on your career if you don’t fully recover.
What you can do about it
To prevent long-term illness affecting you and your family financially, you could consider critical illness cover.
This type of protection pays out a tax-free lump sum, or a family income benefit that pays out annually, in the event that you become critically unwell with one of the illnesses listed on the policy.
While obviously everyone hopes you’ll never need to rely on it, having this cover in place is a sensible way to ensure that you’ll continue to receive financial support if it does happen.
3. You die while in the middle of your career
You may be young, fit, and healthy, but it’s still possible that you’ll pass away during the course of your career. This could put your family in a perilous position of being unable to pay the bills without you and your income.
Under your Premier League or Football League contract, you’ll have what’s known as a “death in service” agreement. For footballers in the UK, this typically offers you four times your reckonable earnings up to a maximum of £600,000 if you die while in contract.
However, there are a few big issues with relying solely on this agreement to provide for your family if you die during your career:
- The £600,000 ceiling may not be enough. For example, if you have a large mortgage or an expensive lifestyle, this £600,000 may not be enough to support your family.
- You need to name your beneficiaries of your death in service. If you don’t do this, the money may not automatically go to those who you would want to have it.
- You’ll no longer have this if you go out of contract or retire. That means you’re only protected while you’re playing, not if you end up without a club or after your career.
This may leave you wondering how you can protect your family if the worst happens to you.
What you can do about it
The first thing you need to do is sort the nomination form for your death in service cover. At the very least, this will ensure that your chosen beneficiaries will receive a payout, up to a maximum of £600,000.
Alternatively, instead of relying on this, you could take out separate life cover instead. This can give you greater flexibility in how much your beneficiaries will receive, at the very least helping them financially while grappling with losing you.
Similarly, this also ensures that you’ll have cover even when you’re not playing. You never know what’s going to happen in the future, and you could find yourself between clubs in a summer. Or you may decide to retire earlier than originally planned.
If you suddenly died during one of these periods, there would be no death in service safety net for your family to fall back on. So, by having your own cover, you can be sure that there will always be money for your beneficiaries if you died unexpectedly.
Make sure you work with a professional to find the most appropriate life cover for you.
You could also sign up for MyProPlan, our financial audit program in partnership with the PFA.
MyProPlan is available to existing and previous members of the PFA, allowing you to explore well-researched information on professional footballers’ finances, and providing solutions if you have questions about your financial health.
Using MyProPlan, you can conduct a comprehensive audit on your existing finances. This will allow you to discover any shortcomings you may be facing, and then highlight areas for you to concentrate on that will ultimately allow you to improve your financial health and wellbeing.
Speak to us
If you’d like to find out how to best protect yourself in your specific circumstances, please speak to us at ProSport.
We’re experts in helping professional footballers plan for their futures to protect themselves and their families.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01204 602909 to find out how we could help you.