What Is Teacher Liability Insurance & Do You Need One?

Working as a teacher is a gratifying but extremely demanding job. Shaping the minds of the future generation is challenging, and the responsibility of working and overseeing students is becoming increasingly complex. As a teacher, you’re bound to work very closely with students and their families; there is no denying that you significantly influence their future. Moreover, the well-being of students is your responsibility while they’re under your supervision. Naturally, working so closely with students will also open you up to potential claims.

Education professionals face a lot of occupational exposures that can make them vulnerable to several risks. For instance, students might get injured while under the supervision of a teacher, or parents can accuse a teacher of damaging the academic reputation of a student. Even if these claims are untrue, this can cause your legal defense bills to be quite significant. This is where teacher liability insurance comes into the picture.

What Is Teacher Liability Insurance?

Also known as Tutor Insurance, Teacher Liability Insurance covers people employed in the education sector. This includes teachers, tutors, and childminders. So if a student got injured under your care or a parent accuses you of unsatisfactory teaching, this insurance can cover any legal costs resulting from a compensation claim.

Generally, education professionals will consider two types of insurance to protect themselves at work:

Professional Liability Insurance

This protects teachers against lawsuits and claims of mistake, misrepresentation, or negligence, both actual or alleged wrongdoing. Lawsuits are problematic in and of themselves, but they can be particularly devastating financially for teachers. When the legal action drags on, you could end up exhausting your bank account and savings. Therefore, professional liability insurance protects your finances by covering the costs of hiring an attorney, other various court costs, and court-ordered settlements.

General Liability Insurance

This protects teachers against third-party claims of injury or property damage. The policies are also called Commercial General Liability coverage. This type of insurance is helpful for independent teachers who own and operate their own tutoring business from their offices. So, if a student were to injure themself in your office, you could be liable, and this policy will cover the compensation to the claimant.

But do you need Teacher Liability Insurance? You’d be surprised to know how beneficial this coverage can be. Let’s dig deeper and explore the reasons you might want this insurance coverage.

Technology Has Changed Drastically

While technological advances have certainly made life so much easier, there is a downside to it as well. Social media’s popularity has made teachers more vulnerable because it could put a teacher in the spotlight of a scandal, regardless of whether they are guilty.

The so-called “scandal” could even be fake. Thanks to simple editing tools anyone can access, making fake claims is easier than ever. With subjectively edited videos, teachers have every right to worry over how their actions can be perceived and taken out of context. If you find yourself in such a spot, it could be the end of your teaching career. So, given how social media operates and how a video can go viral within minutes, protection is crucial.

Mistakes Are an Inevitable Part of The Job

No matter how careful we are, mistakes will happen. And even if you have the best intentions, you could accidentally end up harming a student and being held accountable. For example, it could be as simple as accidentally bumping into a student and knocking their laptop to the floor, causing property damage. Such mistakes are part and parcel of the job, but having a Teacher Liability Insurance policy will help you cover the costs of repairing or replacing the damage.

Baseless Allegations Can Take Place

It’s not rare for a student to create a lie and fuel a rumor that a teacher did something unethical behind closed doors. This will put that teacher in a negative spotlight and jeopardize their professional reputation. Or a fight could break out between two students, and the teacher who was occupied with lessons at the time of the incident could be sued for improper supervision.

Such instances can be plentiful in a teacher’s career, making it all the more important for teachers to protect themselves against these allegations by having a teacher liability insurance cover. Otherwise, the litigation process of proving your innocence can drain your time, money, and resources. Moreover, you can’t depend on the backing of your supervisor when charges are filed against you, so you need to ensure your protection yourself.

Lawsuits Are Becoming More Prevalent

Over the past decade or so, the risk of teachers being targeted by civil lawsuits has risen dramatically. The respect owed to authorities has significantly diminished, and the school culture is getting more volatile with the day. Even if you’re doing a great job, you’re dedicated to your work, maintain fairness and equality, and keep order in the classroom; you could still be sued. Fraudulent lawsuits are not a new thing, and thousands of these are filed with no basis of truth. This will always be on a teacher’s mind, so having teacher liability insurance will allow you to focus on supporting your students rather than worrying about what to do when things get out of hand.

Bottom Line

Teaching is a noble profession that requires focus, creativity, discipline, and diligence. However, it’s also one of the most underappreciated jobs out there. Numerous students and parents have unfairly sued teachers for giving bad grades, not intervening in bullying, or violating students’ rights. As with every other profession, mistakes and mishaps do happen. You deserve to work with peace of mind knowing you’re protected. This type of insurance is not limited to only teachers; it also includes yoga instructors, extracurricular teachers, and early intervention specialists.

Teacher liability insurance is essential because your district’s coverage might not protect you as a teacher or school employee. As a teacher, you have enough things to worry about, so this insurance is there so you can focus on supporting and helping your students instead of worrying about what to do when things get out of control.