Why you might need golf insurance

Today's tip is most important for those of you who play golf outside the United States.

Unlike here, you could be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages if the golf ball you hit injures someone.

Here in the States, as long as you haven't done something "grossly negligent" or "intentionally reckless," you're generally insulated from injury liability.

But that's not necessarily the case overseas.

Take for example, Scotland, where one golfer -- despite yelling "fore" -- was ordered to pay £278,000 to another golfer he accidentally blinded in one eye.

There have been similar rulings in England, where a golfer yelled fore as his ball ping-ponged off some trees before striking another player in the eye...100 yards away...in the next fairway.

He had to pay up, too.

In this precedent-setting case, England's Court of Appeal ruled in 1998 that, "golfers are liable for shots that cause injury, no matter how slight the risk."

Since then, there's evidence these types of claims are on the rise.

Clearly, when playing overseas, the rules of golf may be the same, but the legal rulings regarding injury are often very different.

Likewise, I read that most household insurance policies in the UK don't include coverage for personal liability while playing golf or similar sports.

No surprise, there are now dozens of companies over there selling "specialist golf insurance" policies, including Golfplan, Golf Care, Carrick Neill, and The Golfer's Club.

According to Mike Connolly of Vineland, N.J.-based Heritage Insurance, "many -- but not all -- standard broad or special form homeowners' policies sold here do extend coverage outside the USA. But, the language is relatively new, so it's best to review or update your policy with your agent."

If you don't have a homeowner's policy (or other form of personal liability coverage) Connolly advises purchasing it. "That $50 dollars could save you $50,000 or more."

I'd love your opinion on the broader part of this matter.

Should everyone assume a certain amount of risk when playing golf?

Or, should everyone be liable for shots that cause injury, regardless if they are complete accidents?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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Why you might need golf insurance
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