Specialized Coverage: All About Accident Insurance for Rock Climbing Gyms

More than 775,000 children are injured while participating in sports activities each year. One in four of these injuries is considered serious.

Indoor rock climbing is a popular activity that kids and adults alike can participate in all throughout the year. However, rock climbing can lead to a number of different injuries.

As a rock climbing gym owner, it’s imperative that you have the proper insurance in place to help protect yourself and your participants.

Keep reading to learn more about accident insurance for rock climbing gyms, why you may need it, and how to cut down on injuries at your facility.

What is Participant Accident Insurance?

Accident insurance for rock climbing gyms is a special kind of supplemental insurance. A participant health and accident insurance policy is different from a general liability policy. With an accident and health insurance policy, you can help your participants recover financially from injuries they sustain while rock climbing at your gym.

Unlike a general liability policy, participant accident policies reimburse participants for their out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred as a result of an injury sustained while actively participating in rock climbing, regardless of fault. General liability policies that offer medical payments coverage usually exclude injuries incurred during athletic activities.

Rock climbing is a physical activity where accidents are expected to occur. Most of the time, these accidents happen without anyone being at fault. When this is the case, there is no recourse for participants who sustain injuries.

Participant accident policies are low cost and help make injured participants and their parents whole again for their financial losses.

Why You May Need Accident Insurance for Rock Climbing Gyms

Rock climbing is inherently risky and accidents are bound to occur. Failing to have a participant accident policy in place can cost you as the gym owner. This is because injured participants are more likely to file liability claims or lawsuits when they aren’t offered any help with their medical expenses.

Most families can’t afford an unexpected expense like a sports-related injury, especially in difficult times. This may deter them from signing up for sports like rock climbing in the first place.

When families know they have coverage if an accident were to occur, they are given “peace of mind” and will have more trust in your organization. It’s a small gesture on your part that can make a big difference to the families who join your gym.

Even if they aren’t the type to file a liability claim or lawsuit, they might not have a choice if they can’t afford their medical bills.

And even if you weren’t at fault for what happened, your insurance company will need to defend you. As a business owner, you want to avoid having claims on your general liability insurance policy.

Claims are costly and can increase your rates and make it more difficult to find an insurance carrier. The cost of purchasing an accident and health policy for your participants is often minimal compared to what liability claims can end up costing you in the long run.

Leading Causes of Indoor Climbing Accidents

Indoor climbing is a great way to get involved in the sport during the winter months or for those who don’t live where they can climb outdoors. But climbing indoors presents unique risks. First, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of indoor rock climbing accidents.


Bouldering is relatively simple and easy to start with so many participants without much experience just jump right in. Bouldering accidents are a very common injury in rock climbing gyms because participants tend to lose track of the ground.

Bouldering often leads to broken bones, hyperextended knees and elbows, and sprained wrists and ankles.


Even experienced rock climbers can suffer injuries because of improperly tied knots and improperly threaded ATC.

Lead Belaying

Lead belaying accidents are commonly caused by weight differences, impact with the belayer and broken clips. Your gym should have the proper protocols in place to help prevent these types of injuries and be sure that they are enforced.

Preventing Indoor Rock Climbing Accidents

The reality of rock climbing is that accidents are bound to happen. This is because of the complicated nature of the sport and the factor of human error.

Preventing injuries altogether isn’t going to happen. But, gym owners can take steps to manage the most common risks, especially once they know why accidents tend to occur.


Fortunately, bouldering injuries are preventable. As a gym owner, you can make sure mats are in use and appropriately placed.

Participants should be encouraged to do proper stretches designed for the lower body and ankles before getting started.

Consider taking a class as if you were a participant to evaluate your trainers. Participants should be taught about body awareness and how to fall safely.


To prevent injuries from toproping, encourage your participants to keep their guard up, no matter how experienced they may be.

Belayers and climbers should communicate with each other and check each other’s knots before climbing or lowering. ATC should be clipped into the biner and not pinched through the device.

Auto-belays can also cause accidents. Climbers should always double-check to be sure they are properly clipped in.

Lead Belaying

Lead belaying accidents can be prevented by proper protocol and training. Check out this article to learn more about good lead belaying practices.

Purchasing Accident Insurance for Your Gym

As a business owner, you want to protect your guests, but also your business itself. One of the best things you can do to help protect yourself and your business is to purchase accident insurance for rock climbing gyms.

We offer specialized insurance designed for rock climbing gyms. Click here to contact us today and learn more about how we can help protect you.


These posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered as specific financial, legal or tax advice. Depending on your individual circumstances, the strategies discussed in this post may not be appropriate for your situation. Always consult your legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. In providing such information, Great American does not warrant that all potential hazards or conditions have been evaluated or can be controlled. The liability of Great American Insurance Company is limited to the terms, limits and conditions of the insurance policies underwritten.  © 2024 Great American Insurance Company. All Rights Reserved. Great American Insurance Group’s member companies are subsidiaries of American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG). AFG is a holding company whose common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Policies are underwritten by Great American Insurance Company, an authorized insurer in all 50 states and the DC. Please see Great American Insurance Company’s Legal Disclosures/Terms and Conditions here.  https://www.greatamericaninsurancegroup.com/contact/legal-disclosures

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