American Youth Football/Cheer (AYF/AYC) FAQs

Frequently asked questions about American Youth Football and American Youth Cheer Insurance

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Who is eligible to participate in the American Youth Football and American Youth Cheer insurance program?

This insurance program is available only for members of American Youth Football and American Youth Cheer. However, just about any youth football organization can join AYF, even if the only member benefit you want to take advantage of is insurance. AYF won’t interfere with the way you run your organization because the only requirements to be a local member are

  1. you must follow the safety rules of your state high school association;
  2. you must emphasize sportsmanship; and
  3. everyone must play.

The Terms of Service Agreement with AYF requires teams/associations/conferences to comply with minimum insurance requirements and to implement generally accepted risk management controls for youth football and cheer.

How do I become a member of American Youth Football and/or American Youth Cheer and how much are the dues?

Currently there are two different ways you can apply for American Youth Football and/or American Youth Cheer membership.

  1. For the fastest service and least expensive AYF membership charges:, you can join AYF/AYC by going to their website and clicking “Join Now.” The AYF/AYC membership charges are $30 per tackle team, $20 per flag team and $25 per cheer squad. Once you join AYF you will receive your insurance password, which you can use to apply for sports insurance online.
  2. You can also complete the paper forms found on the website or in the brochure sent to you with the application for insurance. The membership charges are $5 per team/cheer squad higher than the online AYF membership registration to account for the increased administrative expenses to AYF for manual entry of this data into their computer system. The charges for the paper membership applications are $35 per tackle team, $20 per flag team and $25 per cheer squad.

What are the differences between the various insurance policies such as Accident, General Liability, Directors & Officers Liability, Crime, and Equipment?

The best place to go to get a crash course in sports insurance basics is under the Risk Management tab in the upper navigation of the American Youth Football Insurance Plan website. We recommend the Free Report entitled “7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Sports Insurance.”

The $100,000 Accident policy pays medical bills on behalf of injured participants. The coverage is excess, which means that other insurance, such as parent’s health insurance, must respond first before the excess Accident policy will pay any bills. In the event that there is no existing insurance in force on the injured participant, the excess Accident policy will become primary and pay up to the limit of $100,000 subject to the deductible option selected.

The $1 million General Liability policy protects the sports organization and its people against lawsuits alleging injury to a spectator or player. This policy provides an attorney for your defense and will pay up to the policy limit in the event of settlement or jury verdict. General Liability options for $2 million or $5 million per occurrence limit are available for an additional charge.

The Directors & Officers Liability policy protects the sports organization and its people against lawsuits alleging discrimination based on age, sex, race, or handicap, wrongful suspension or termination of association personnel or players, failure to follow your own rules or by-laws when making a decision, and similar alleged violations of someone’s federal, state, or constitutional rights. There are two options for the Directors & Officers Liability coverage: either a $1 million Limit of Liability or a $2 million Limit of Liability.

The $25,000 Crime policy protects the local sports organization against a monetary loss caused by forgery, embezzlement, or theft of money, securities, or other property (equipment, machinery, concession supplies) by dishonest employees, volunteers, directors or officers. Coverage is also provided for theft of money or securities by outsiders.

The Equipment policy protects the property of the sports organization against loss caused by perils such as fire, windstorm, theft, vandalism, etc. Items that can be covered include sports equipment, field maintenance equipment, concession stand equipment, concession stock, or small storage sheds that you own or lease/rent. This coverage is for loss or damage to your equipment due to fire, theft, vandalism, or other specified causes (subject to actual policy terms and conditions.) Payment will be made on a replacement cost basis.

Is our sports organization required to purchase all of the policies including Accident/General Liability, Directors & Officers Liability, Crime, and Equipment?

No. The only policy that must be purchased is the Accident/General Liability policy. Under this insurance plan, these two policies are combined into one policy and there is no way to purchase the Accident or the General Liability on a stand-alone basis.

Once the Accident/General Liability policy has been purchased, the other policies may be purchased on an optional basis. Please note that the Directors & Officers Liability, Crime, and Equipment policies cannot be purchased unless your sports organization purchases the Accident/General Liability policy through Sadler & Company.

On the application the limit for general aggregate states “NONE.” What does this mean?

The each Occurrence limit caps payouts for any single claim. On the other hand, the general aggregate limits how much the policy will pay out for multiple claims during the policy year. For example, if you have a policy with a $3 million general aggregate, then the most the policy will pay out for multiple lawsuits during the policy year would be $3 million. It is preferable to have a policy with None or No General Aggregate since it does not place a cap on payouts for multiple lawsuits during the policy year.

Is this General Liability policy “claims made” or “per occurrence?”

This General Liability policy is a per occurrence policy. With this type of liability policy, the claim must result from an injury that occurs during the term of the insurance policy, regardless of how long it takes for the claim to be made. It does not matter if the policy expired years before the claim finally arises. as long as the covered injury occurred during the policy term.

With a claims-made policy both the injury and the reporting of the claim must take place while the policy is in force, or a renewal thereof. If the policy has expired or been canceled after the injury but before the claim is reported, the policyholder has no insurance coverage.

If Accident/General Liability insurance is taken out for the fall season, does coverage automatically extend to spring/summer activities such as 7 on 7, passing leagues, and football clinics? Or, do we need to report this to Sadler Sports Insurance and pay an additional charge for these activities?

These activities are automatically covered with no additional premium required if

  1. coverage was taken out for the fall season
  2. at least 80% of the participants in these activities were enrolled on fall teams, and
  3. these activities are permitted by AYF.

If these conditions are not true, please contact Sadler Sports Insurance for instructions on how to bind coverage for these events.

If we are taking out the coverage under the name of our association, are we required to purchase insurance for all teams that participate within the association?

Yes. If it is your intent to apply for the coverage in the name of your association, you are required to pay a premium on behalf of all teams within your association.

The reason for this is that the General Liability policy protects the association and its officers and directors in addition to team volunteers. Since the association and its officers and directors will be a target in virtually any lawsuit, a premium must be collected for all persons on all teams that participate under the association.

In order to purchase insurance for your association we will need a list of all your teams within your association.

Is it possible to insure an individual team as opposed to the entire association?

Yes, if the insurance is applied for under the name of the individual team.

It is not permissible to insure a single team if the application is taken out under the name of the association.

We strongly recommend that the insurance be taken out in the name of the association and a premium paid for all teams participating on behalf of the association. In today’s litigation conscience society, the risks are just too high of a volunteer losing everything in a lawsuit.

NOTE: When applying for coverage in the name of the association or conference, coverage is provided for the association/conference and its officers and directors only if ALL of the teams in the association/conference are insured under one enrollment form. Many associations/conferences make the mistake of allowing their teams or local associations to purchase coverage on an individual basis. When things are done this way, there is no coverage for the association/conference itself and its directors and officers. Instead, the association/conference should purchase the coverage under its own name and should pay a premium on behalf of 100% of its member teams. This is the only way for the association/conference to be covered, and it is free to the association/conference, assuming that they can be reimbursed by the teams/associations.

How should a conference apply for coverage and coordinate coverage with associations?

For Accident/General Liability:  

Preferred: The best way is for the conference to complete a single application and apply under the name of the conference and the legal names of 100% of all associations and to report and pay a premium on behalf of 100% of all teams under all associations. This is the best way to assure that nothing slips between the cracks and that the conference and its directors and officers are insured for no additional premium charge. The conference will automatically be covered for its conference all star teams and in the event that it hosts a regional championship for no additional charge. This will also provide coverage for each association and their respective officers and directors.

Not Preferred but available: We also offer an option for a conference to separately purchase its own Accident/General Liability for an additional premium charge but to not include the associations and their teams. But this requires the conference to collect certificates of insurance on each association as evidence that each association has purchased both Accident and General Liability on behalf of all association teams. Contact Sadler & Company for more information on this option.

For Directors & Officers Liability:

The conference may purchase a single Directors & Officers Liability policy (D&O) which includes coverage for all associations if they are listed under the named insured on the application. This option results in significant premium savings. However, there may be a coverage gap in the event that a covered lawsuit is filed by the association against the conference due to the insured vs. insured policy exclusion. It depends on the wording of the lawsuit and the facts of each case. If there are any concerns about association vs. conference lawsuits, it may be prudent for the conference to separately apply for its own D&O policy and for each association to separately apply for its own D&O policy.

For Crime Insurance:

The conference should purchase its own Crime policy and each association should purchase its own separate Crime policies.

For Equipment Insurance:

The conference should purchase its own Equipment policy and each association should purchase its own separate Equipment policies.

How long does coverage last?

Coverage is effective when we have received the complete application with payment and verified membership in American Youth Football. The expiration date for the General Liability/Accident coverage is June 30th regardless of effective date. For example, if you purchase coverage on July 18, your coverage will expire the following June 30.

My organization is a for-profit organization and I own my team. Am I still eligible for coverage?

No. Unfortunately, if you are not a 501(C)3 non-profit youth organization you would not qualify to be a member of the American Youth Football and Cheer organization and would not qualify for the insurance program. American Youth Football and Cheer does not permit ownership of a team.

THE APPLICATION PROCESS

Once my sports organization applies for coverage, how long does it take for coverage to become effective?

If applying for coverage online through our website, coverage is effective immediately upon completion of the online enrollment and payment online. The applicant will immediately receive an email verifying proof of coverage and all proof of coverage documents will be attached in .pdf format. This email can then be saved to reprint the documents as needed in the future.

NOTE: Be sure to keep your Verification of Coverage email as it contains links that can be used to add additional certificate holders/property owners, reprint your certificates of insurance whenever you have the need, access the claim forms, etc.

If applying for coverage by fax, coverage is effective upon receipt of the fully completed application and payment at Sadler & Company. When faxing a check, simply make the check payable to Sadler & Company in the correct amount, sign it, photocopy it, and fax the photocopy. Please see the other special instructions on our website about how to fax a check. Keep the original check for your records.

If applying for coverage by mail, coverage is effective upon receipt of the completed application and check for payment at Sadler & Company. Please note that the sole determining factor of the effective date/time is receipt at Sadler & Company and not the postmark date on the envelope.

What if I don’t know the exact number of teams that will be participating prior to applying for coverage?

Very few associations or conferences know the exact number of teams prior to the application process. It is suggested that you complete the application based on your best guess estimates and pay the appropriate premium amount. Once your registration period is over, you can amend the number of teams based on your final team count. Add-Delete Request Forms are available on our website at www.sadlersports.com/ayf under the Service For Current Clients section.

If you initially underestimated the number of teams, an additional premium will be owed with the Add/Delete form. On the other hand, if you initially overestimated the number of teams, you should complete and forward a completed Add/Delete form to Sadler & Company for review and approval. If your request is approved Sadler & Company will mail you a refund check. (Requests to delete teams must be received within two months your effective date.)

Once my sports organization has applied for coverage through Sadler & Company, how long will it take for us to receive our proof of coverage certificates and claim forms?

As a general rule once the fully completed and signed application and check for the correct premium are received at Sadler & Company, all paperwork is issued and emailed or faxed within six 6 to 10 business days. Therefore, please be sure to send your application and check with plenty of time to spare. (Documents will be sent via US Mail within 6 to 10 business days if no email or fax number is provided with the application.)

On the other hand, if you apply with our online option, you can immediately print your proof of coverage documents and will receive an email with links to your documents for future reference. Save this email so that you can reprint or issue additional certificates of insurance at a later date.

Is the total premium due up front or can it be financed?

The total premium is due with your initial application and can not be financed.

Can I make my payment by check or credit card?

Yes, we can accept check or credit card. However, credit card payment is only accepted if you apply online.

ACCIDENT INSURANCE QUESTIONS

Is the Accident insurance coverage “excess”?

Yes, the Accident coverage is “excess” and requires other collectable insurance (such as parent’s health insurance) to respond first before the “excess” Accident policy will pay any benefits.

Does the Accident Plan contain a deductible?

Yes, the Accident insurance policy does have a deductible. The insured organization has a choice of three Accident deductible options when the insurance plan is purchased. The choices are $0 deductible, $100 per claim deductible, $250 per claim deductible, or $500 per claim deductible. Whichever deductible is chosen will apply to all member teams or associations.

If existing insurance coverage is through an HMO, PPO, or similar arrangement, is the person filing the claim required to follow the HMO or PPO rules for obtaining benefits?

Yes, failure to follow the HMO or PPO rules for obtaining benefits can result in a reduction of any potential amounts paid under the “excess” Accident policy.

Who are covered persons under the policy?

Coverage is provided for all football players and cheerleaders, coaches, managers, officials, employees, volunteers, staff members, team workers, media personnel, and VIP’s of the participating organization of the policyholder.

What type of travel is covered under this policy?

Coverage is provided for adult supervised group travel as authorized by the policyholder directly to and from a covered event.

How do we turn in a claim in the event that a participant is injured?

Claim forms are available on our website at www.sadlersports.com/ayf under the Service For Current Clients section. The authorized team/association official must complete part 1 of the claim form verifying that the injury occurred during a sanctioned event as well as Part 3 for Football and Part 4 for Cheer, which asks specific questions about how the injury occurred. After completing these parts, the authorized team/association official should give the claim form to the parent. The parent must complete part 2 of the claim form. The claim form is then submitted to American Specialty Insurance & Risk Services where it is processed. All claim questions should be directed to them at the phone number that is printed on the claim form.

GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE QUESTIONS

Who is covered by the General Liability policy?

Coverage is provided for the insured sports organization itself and its officers, directors, employees, managers, coaches, trainers, game officials, and other managing personnel, while acting on behalf of the insured football organization or cheer squad

What activities are covered?

As a general rule, coverage is provided for all sports organization sanctioned and adult supervised tryouts, practices, games, outings, and tournaments.

What are some of the Major Coverages Afforded by this policy?

  • Sexual Abuse and Molestation
  • Non-Owned and Hired Auto Liability
  • Participant Legal Liability
  • Ownership, Maintenance, or use of football fields, stands, and playing areas by AYF and AYC members.
  • All activities necessary or incidental to the conduct of practice, exhibition, scheduled and post season games or competitions.
  • Consumption or use of food products
  • Fundraising, meetings, and award banquets
  • Cost of Investigation and defense against claims.
  • Liability assumed under insured written contracts
  • Advertising Liability
  • Legal Liability for libel, slander, defamation of character, wrongful eviction, and invasion of privacy.

What are some of the Major Exclusions in this policy?

  • Non-Owned & Hired Auto Liability coverage for individual drivers for injury to athletes or participants resulting from organized transportation arranged or provided by the insured organization. This exclusion does not apply to the covered organization itself.
  • Non-Owned & Hired Auto Liability resulting from use of 15 passengers vans.
  • The use of owned automobiles, buses, watercraft and aircraft.
  • Property of others in the care, custody, and control of the insured.
  • Injury or death of an employee
  • This is only a very general reference to what coverage the insurance policy (or policies) will provide, and is not intended to attempt to describe all of the various details pertaining to the insurance. Actual coverages are detailed in the policy of insurance and are always subject to all terms, provisions, conditions and exclusions as contained therein.

DIRECTORS & OFFICERS LIABILITY INSURANCE QUESTIONS

What is the difference between the Directors & Officers Liability policy and a General Liability policy?

This issue has caused quite a bit of confusion over the years. It is important to note that both policies cover exactly the same entities and people: the sports organization itself and its directors, officers, employees, and volunteers. However, each policy protects against a different type of lawsuit.

The General Liability policy primarily protects against lawsuits alleging the sports organization and its people have negligently caused “bodily injury” to a spectator or player. The policy also covers other types of lawsuits such as “property damage” and “personal injury” which includes slander and libel.

On the other hand, the Directors & Officers Liability policy protects against certain types of lawsuits that are not covered by the General Liability policy. The types of lawsuits that the Directors & Officers Liability policy is meant to cover include those alleging purely economic damages or that someone’s rights have been violated under state, federal or constitutional law. Examples of potentially covered lawsuits under this policy include discrimination based on race, sex, age, or handicap; wrongful suspension or termination of association personnel or players; a association’s failure to follow its own rules or by-laws when making an administrative decision; and managerial negligence resulting in bankruptcy for the sports organization.

Are there additional coverages provided by the Directors & Officers Liability policy?

Yes, the following enhancements are included in the policy.

Cyber Privacy and Client Identity Theft Included:

  • Network Remediation $5,000 OR $25,000
  • Loss or theft of client personal information $2,500 per person with $25,000 aggregate OR $10,000 per person with $100,000 aggregate.

If my sports organization is really only interested in protecting its directors & officers, why can’t it just purchase the Directors & Officers Liability policy for $300 instead of spending all of the money that is required to purchase Accident/General Liability insurance on all participants?

There are a number of reasons why this thinking is flawed. First, since the Directors & Officers Liability policy does not cover “bodily injury,” “property damage,” and “personal injury,” it is still necessary to purchase a General Liability policy to protect the directors and officers against these types of lawsuits. For example, the directors and officers can be sued in the event of injury to a spectator or a player. Second, in order to qualify to purchase the Directors & Officers Liability policy, the General Liability must be purchased through Sadler & Company.

Is it important for my sports organization to renew its Directors & Officers Liability policy prior to its expiration date each year?

Yes, since your Directors & Officers Liability is a “claims made” policy, it is essential that there not be any lapse in coverage on the renewal. If there is a lapse in coverage, this can result in your protection being voided in the event that an incident that arose in the past does not result in a lawsuit being filed until after your renewal.

What does the NSLPA Membership Fee provide our organization?

The National Sports Lawsuit Protection Association (NSLPA) was set up to allow us to negotiate lower cost and higher coverage for the D&O, Crime & Equipment policies.

You also have access to our Risk Management content on our website at https://www.sadlersports.com/riskmanagement/

CRIME INSURANCE QUESTIONS

What exactly does a Crime Insurance policy cover?

This policy protects the local sports organization against a monetary loss caused by forgery, theft or embezzlement of money, securities, or other property (equipment, machinery, concession supplies) by dishonest volunteers. This includes forgery by an identifiable officer or volunteers. Coverage is also provided for theft of money or securities by outsiders. This policy does not cover vandalism or theft of property by outsiders. See the optional equipment coverage if such protection is desired.

Do volunteers really steal money from organizations that serve children?

Yes, this happens much more often than anyone would like to believe. As a matter of fact, our office receives about twenty (20) phone calls per year from associations that have lost substantial amounts of money due to theft by volunteers. It is relatively easy for a dishonest volunteer to steal from a youth sports organization since such organizations don’t have the necessary financial controls in place like most businesses do. For example, most sports organizations have inadequate safeguards for handling cash, don’t require countersignature of checks, and allow the monthly bank statement to be reconciled by someone who is also authorized to deposit or withdraw.

Is it important that the Crime policy be renewed prior to its expiration date each year?

Yes, it is absolutely essential that the Crime policy be renewed without a lapse in coverage. A lapse in coverage under this policy can void coverage for past thefts that have not yet been identified if the claim is filed after the policy renewal date.

EQUIPMENT INSURANCE QUESTIONS

What does the Equipment policy cover?

The Equipment policy protects the property of the sports organization against loss caused by perils such as fire, windstorm, theft, vandalism, etc. Items that can be covered include sports equipment, field maintenance equipment, concession stand equipment, concession stock, or small storage sheds that you own or lease/rent. This coverage is for loss or damage to your equipment due to fire, theft, vandalism, or other specified causes (subject to actual policy terms and conditions.) Payment will be made on a Replacement Cost Basis.

When setting the value for our equipment coverage, should we insure all of our equipment and should we choose an amount equal to book value (includes depreciation) or replacement cost value?

Because your policy has a 100% co-insurance requirement, you are obligated to insure 100% of your equipment. In addition, the values that you set must be based on replacement cost valuation. This means that you should insure the equipment for an amount that would replace such equipment with a brand new piece of equipment at today’s prices. Failure to meet the policy’s 100% co-insurance requirement based on replacement cost can result in a reduced payout when a claim is filed for a partial loss.

Is it possible to insure items like bleachers, scoreboards, and fences?

Yes, even though these items are more similar to buildings as opposed to equipment, it is permissible to insure them under the policy as equipment but they must individually schedule if their replacement cost value exceeds $1,000.

The plan description in the brochure indicates that it is permissible to insure small storage sheds. Is it also permissible to insure a larger building with higher values?

In some cases it is permissible; however, please call Sadler & Company at 1-800-622-7370 to discuss such buildings on a case-by-case basis.

Do individual items need to be scheduled under the policy?

Only if their replacement cost value exceeds $999 per item. Individual items valued $1,000 or more must be listed on a schedule, which requires a brief description along with the corresponding 100% replacement cost value.