When you register for an Ironman event, you are given the option to buy insurance for your entry fee. For the 70.3 events, it’s around $40 and I never buy it. However, when it’s a full distance I’ll always get it.
This insurance is technically a “Full Refund Plan” administered by a third party. You’ll be able to get your money back for your registration fees, but that does not cover hotels or anything else you’ve spent money on—there’s always a catch.
So how do you know if you’re eligible for a full refund?
The insurance lists the following reasons to get your money back: injury, illness, pregnancy or childbirth, unanticipated active duty deployment, unexpected covered travel delays, a family member’s pregnancy or childbirth, a family member’s loss of life, injury or illness.
Things that they do not cover are: intentionally self-inflicted injury or self-inflicted sickness, physical complications resulting from alcohol or substance abuse, or natural disasters.
That means if you have to travel for work and you have no choice but to miss the race, you will not be getting your money back. That also means if there is inclement weather or a hurricane…you will not be getting your money back. Ironman Maryland got trashed in back to back years and they wouldn’t refund anyone. Finally they decided you could do the same race again the following year for free, but who is dumb enough to take a third chance? Just as an FYI for those unfamiliar with hurricane season in North America. It goes from June to December, which coincides with most of the Ironman season. Many of the Caribbean and coastal Atlantic races are potentially affected by this.
Another thing you should know: you won’t get a prorated race if they change or modify it. Yeah, it sucks to have a swim cancelled, but they’re never going to give you 1/3 of your entry fee back so keep on dreaming.
So why do I get the insurance for the full distance but not the half? When the entry fee can be north of $700 US, I figure if something did happen I could at least get some of my investment back. There’s always the potential for injury and $90 isn’t too expensive to risk for that (and remember if it’s during training…one could deem it “self-inflicted” if the party administering the plan was being very liberal with the term). However, $45 for insurance on a $250 US (average)…I’ll just eat the cost.