For a lucky few college players, getting picked high in the NFL draft means a lifetime of financial security. That's why more and more prospects aren't waiting till draft day to protect their futures. Before their final seasons many take out insurance against a career-ending injury. Most policies, which cost around $10,000 for each $1 million of coverage (first-round picks typically buy up to $5 million), are written by Lloyd's of London, which famously insured Tina Turner's legs and Keith Richards's hands. The policy expires as soon as a player signs a pro contract.
Keith Lerner, a Gainesville, Fla.--based financial consultant, says that in 1990 only 15% of draft picks in the first three rounds had policies. Now nearly every player projected to go that early is insured. For example, three first-round picks this year—Larry English (chosen No. 16), Robert Ayers (18) and Kenny Britt (30)—bought policies ranging from $1 million to $3 million from Rich (Big Daddy) Salgado, president of Coastal Advisors, LLC, who has written various policies for 130 current pros.
One recent player who collected? Ed Chester, a Florida defensive lineman who suffered a knee injury in 1998. His $8,000 premium netted $1 million in coverage.
JIM MCISAAC/GETTY IMAGES (BRITT)
SAFETY NET Britt had seven-figure protection at Rutgers.