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Does health insurance cover sports injuries like rugby?

Whether you are on the local rugby team or like boxing as a workout, activities such as these can keep you fit and healthy in a fun way. That is unless you hurt yourself and have to go to the hospital. The reality is that anyone who participates in sports is going to be susceptible to injury. While most sport-related injuries tend to be relatively minor, some can cause more serious problems, especially without proper treatment. This Pacific Prime China article answers the question: does health insurance cover sports injury?

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Are sports injuries covered by health insurance?

We all strive towards an active lifestyle. If you play sports or go to the gym, have you ever wondered if you’re covered for any medical costs in the event of an unexpected injury?

Some people choose not to exercise at all, but many others make time to go to the park, gym, or play a sport they enjoy to get their heart going. However, our body’s physical chemistry changes as we age, increasing the risk of a serious sports injury. You might feel like Dan Carter on the rugby field or Lebron James on the basketball court, but the possibility of medical attention for an accidental injury can be high.

For an idea of how expensive an unwanted sports injury can be, let’s take a look at a recent rugby accident. A Beijing rugby club player was recently injured during a rugby game, leaving him with medical bills totaling RMB 30,000. Since his insurance only covered RMB 10,000, he had to come up with the rest of the money to be able to get the surgery. The rugby club has been accepting donations to try and help ease the costs, which is a lot to pay out of pocket.

Sadly, this is not the first or the last time a situation like this will occur. That’s why it’s imperative to know the ins and outs of your health insurance policy.

Understanding your health insurance policy

If you’re working in China and have an employer-provided health insurance plan, do not assume that it’s a comprehensive plan that can cover all of your activities. If you’re buying your own health insurance, carefully compare your options and take time to look for a plan that takes your activities and hobbies into account.


You must always read the fine print to understand what your policy does and does not cover or, as we say in insurance, what your coverage includes and excludes. Wondering what an exclusion is? When it comes to health insurance, an exclusion is anything that the insurer will not cover, such as certain treatments, surgeries, and medicines.

Different plans have different exclusions, even when they’re from the same insurance provider. For example, if you are injured playing a professional or competitive sport (i.e. where money is involved), then it is excluded in most cases. You will need specialized insurance cover instead. On the other hand, sports for leisure (unless considered a dangerous or extreme sport) are usually covered.

To find out whether certain sports injuries, such as rugby, are included or excluded in your policy, you’ll have to look at the exclusions list provided on the table of benefits. Or you can call your insurance broker or provider if you have any questions concerning your policy.

Terms and Conditions

As with any product you purchase, there are various terms and conditions in regard to health insurance, especially concerning sports injuries. Adrenaline junkies, extreme sports fanatics, and contact sports lovers may be disappointed to know that their favorite activities are usually not covered by health insurance policies. That means any injuries that occur as a result of dangerous sports like rugby, rock climbing, bungee jumping, skydiving, skiing, skateboarding, and so on, are rarely covered.

Similarly, your policy might provide coverage if you sprain your ankle while kicking a football around for fun, but reject it if the injury happened while rock climbing. With that said, some insurance providers do not differentiate between activities and can cover dangerous sports, professional athletes, and so on, though this is very limited. On the other hand, there are often restrictions for contact sports like rugby – even at an amateur level. Take the time to study your insurance policy to ensure that all the pastimes you enjoy will be covered.

Make sure your coverage suits your needs

All too often, people think their health insurance policy will cover any injury they can imagine. Then, when it comes time to actually use it, they learn that their policy is much more limited than they believed. It’s worth mentioning that serious sports injuries may involve more than a quick surgery or treatment. For instance, if you need physical rehabilitation then you’ll need long-term benefits to cover that.

That’s why those that often engage in sports should look for an insurance plan that has both inpatient and outpatient coverage. It’s also important to ensure that benefit limits are sufficient in the event of a worst-case scenario so that you never have to pay out of pocket. Fortunately, you can find ways to supplement your health insurance policy with some due diligence.

Whatever insurance solution you choose, make sure that you’re covered for all possible scenarios. A serious sports injury is difficult enough to deal with without worrying about the financial strain. Once you secure a health insurance plan that is customized to your needs, you can play rugby, pick up your boxing gloves, or enjoy the sport you love knowing that you are protected if anything unexpected occurs.

Put your health first with Pacific Prime China

Now that you know more about sports injuries and health insurance, it’s time to review your existing policy or secure an entirely new one. If you’re looking for health insurance plans in China, then look no further than Pacific Prime. We compare a wide selection of insurance plans from the top insurance companies in China to help you choose one that suits your needs and budget. Contact us for impartial advice or a free plan comparison and quote today.

Disclaimer: Pacific Prime China solely represents, operates and manages locally regulated insurance products and services in the territory of PR China. Any references to Pacific Prime Global Company or Group, the international services, insurance products or otherwise stated written or verbally, is for introduction purposes about our overseas network only as each entity is fully independent.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime China
​​Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical workday, she writes and edits articles, guides, and anything else word-related. She loves creating content that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read.

In her free time, she’s likely to be writing poetry and prose, geeking out on her latest interests, reading, or practicing yoga.