SDV Insights

NCAA's New Post-Eligibility Excess Insurance Program Will Cover Athletes in Any Division for Up to Two Years After Separation from Institution

Effective August 1, 2024, the NCAA will provide excess injury insurance coverage to student-athletes for athletic injuries for two years, beginning on a student-athlete’s date of separation from its member institution. The policy, with a coverage limit of $90,000 per injury and no deductible burden on the athlete, will be issued through Mutual of Omaha Insurance and will sit excess to other available insurance coverage. Notably, this coverage applies to all student-athletes, regardless of division, and is said to include some coverage for mental health care related to documented injuries.

NCAA bylaws impose a responsibility on member schools to ensure student-athletes are insured for athletic-related injuries with coverage referred to as “basic accident coverage.” While member institutions can cover the cost of that coverage, the NCAA does not require they do so.1  Those “basic” policies must have limits up to the deductible of the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program ($90,000). The NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program offers medical and disability coverage to all student-athletes, coaches, and managers in excess of any other valid and collectible insurance – such as basic accident coverage – for injuries sustained during the policy period. Such underlying coverage includes medical, dental, rehabilitation and custodial care expense benefits, and disability benefits (total and partial, subject to numerous limitations), among others.

This new excess coverage extends accident medical coverage to student-athletes for properly documented injuries that occurred while playing for the member institution. The two-year (104-week) period begins after “separation” from the institution, which can be satisfied in several ways – for instance, when a student-athlete is no longer enrolled in a member institution or when a graduate student-athlete exhausts eligibility. Notably, the coverage period does not begin at the date of injury, as is typical for accidental injury coverage in the insurance world. This significantly extends available insurance resources for student-athletes, stretching coverage beyond eligibility and recognizing the long-term care some injuries require.

While NCAA athletes are already required to have medical insurance coverage, member institutions are not required to cover that expense for student-athletes. This new coverage does not impose any funding obligations on schools.

Because the NCAA’s new excess insurance program is excess to all NCAA, institution, and student-athlete-procured insurance policies, it will not trigger until those policies are exhausted. However, this new program also has a different trigger date. An athlete’s primary policies could exhaust before he/she separates from the school, but the NCAA Post-Eligibility coverage will not trigger until that separation, which could still leave student-athletes with a gap in coverage for athletic-related injuries.

While this post-eligibility insurance program is a good start, the information released by the NCAA does not specify the injuries that trigger this coverage, except that they must be “athletically related injuries.”2  Whether this means “during active participation” or simply “while a documented student-athlete” remains unclear, such that determining the scope of this coverage is somewhat unclear. There is also little insight on how to trigger the insuring agreement – that is, is it solely a student’s separation from his or her institution with an athletically related injury that triggers coverage? Alternatively, is aggravation of an athletically related injury sufficient to trigger coverage during the two-year period following separation from an institution?

SDV will continue tracking the implementation of this new excess insurance program, as we anticipate coverage issues will arise as athletes separate from their institutions and seek the benefits of such coverage.

For more information, contact Rachel Pearson at



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