Teachers, educators, and instructors are exposed to a variety of risks due to their profession. Students may get injured while under teacher supervision, or parents may blame a teacher for damaging a student’s academic reputation. Even if you’re not held liable, your legal defense bills could be significant. Luckily, several insurance companies offer affordable policies with robust protection for educators. We’ll cover the types of coverage you need and the best companies to offer them.
Do I Need Teacher Liability Insurance?
If you’re a teacher, it’s likely you’ll need teacher liability insurance. For insurance, “teacher” is a broad term. It can include:
- School educator
- Early intervention specialist
- Yoga teacher
- Extracurricular instructor
Insurance for educators covers more than just injuries to students due to negligence. Students and parents have sued teachers in the past for giving bad grades, failing to intervene in bullying, and violating students’ free speech rights.
You might assume that the school district’s liability policy will cover you, but that’s not the case. Typically, you aren’t named in the school district’s policy, so school districts won’t pay for your legal defense if they’re sued.
That said, many teacher associations offer their members liability coverage. More than 70 national education associations provide teacher liability insurance policies through Forrest T. Jones & Compan. The National Education Association also provides members with liability insurance. Check with your association to see if liability insurance is included with your membership.
What Is Teacher Liability Insurance?
Teacher liability insurance is a group of coverages some providers offer as a single package. Depending on your classroom and the type of instruction you provide, you may need some coverages below and not others.
General Liability Insurance
A commercial general liability policy will cover a teacher’s legal fees and judgments resulting from claims of bodily injury, emotional distress, or property damage due to non-professional negligent acts. It also covers personal and advertising injuries, such as wrongful invasion of privacy. It provides medical payment coverage if someone is injured while you are teaching, too. For example, if a student falls and breaks a bone under your supervision, a parent could sue you for negligence. General liability insurance is intended to cover you in this situation.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance protects you if a parent or student sues you for losses associated with several areas, including professional negligence and inaccurate advice. For example, a parent could sue you if you don’t intervene when kids bully one of your students.
Business Personal Property Insurance
While general liability coverage protects you against claims of third-party property damage, such as damaging a student’s assistive technology device, it won’t protect your business equipment or teaching materials. Business personal property insurance covers your equipment and supplies if they are damaged while you are educating. For example, if a student spills milk on your personal computer, business personal property insurance would help pay for a repair or replacement.
Business Owner’s Policy
A business owner’s policy is a package of coverages that includes general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and, often, business interruption insurance. Some companies may allow you to customize this coverage if you work out of your home or if rent a space for your business.
Abuse and Molestation Insurance
Some teacher liability insurance policies will cover your legal defense if you are found not-guilty of alleged abuse or molestation. Other policies won’t provide any coverage at all for these types of claims. If there’s a gap in your general and professional liability coverage or if you want more coverage for lawsuits related to abuse and molestation, you may need to purchase an endorsement or separate policy.
Commercial Auto Insurance
If you’re a tutor or yoga instructor who provides instruction in students’ homes and you drive from one student to the next, you’ll likely need a commercial auto policy. Some personal auto policies may cover occasional business use of your vehicle, but don’t assume yours does. If you primarily use your car for your tutoring or private yoga business, you likely won’t have any coverage under your personal policy. Commercial auto insurance generally covers bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and collision and comprehensive coverage, just like a personal car insurance policy.
Teacher Liability Insurance Cost
The cost of teacher liability insurance will vary depending on the type of coverage you need and the state where you teach. Forrest T. Jones offers annual premiums as low as $94 for W-2 educators with an association membership and as low as $176 for independent contractors. But instructors who need commercial auto insurance could spend between $150 and $2,400 annually.
Teacher Liability Insurance Companies
Forrest T. Jones & Company
Affordable rates starting at $94 for association members
Covers most types of educators in most settings, including online
Occurrence coverage for W-2 educators
Up to $2 million in coverage included with some association memberships
Forrest T. Jones & Company offers a liability policy for members of more than 60 educational association memberships. You can also buy coverage separately if you are a W-2 employee of a public or private school and not a part of an association. Policies are affordable and include coverage for your legal defense if you are found not guilty of a criminal act.
High J.D. Power ranking
Offers several endorsements
Up to $1 million in additional coverage
A+ financial strength rating with AM Best
Nationwide is a good option if you need excess coverage above what your association provides. The company offers several endorsements, including assault-related personal property coverage, identity theft, private instruction, and accidental death & dismemberment. Quotes for teachers liability insurance aren’t available through Nationwide’s website, so you’ll need to call for a quote and coverage details.
Coverage up to $4 million per year
Unlimited coverage for approved legal expenses
Offers a program tailored to ABA therapy and early intervention
Proliability offers some of the highest limits plus coverage for legal and expenses, even if they exceed those limits. However, coverage details aren’t available online—you’ll need to provide contact information to learn more.
Offers flexible coverage by the month and year that you can pause, if needed
Offers a package of general and professional liability insurance
Provides an instant certificate of insurance
If you’re an independent contractor who teaches or tutors, Thimble provides up to $2 million in coverage. You can modify or pause your coverage at any time, which is helpful for seasonal tutors. The company doesn’t offer commercial auto coverage, which means tutors who drive to their sessions will need to find a business auto policy elsewhere.
Hiscox offers quick online quotes for tutors and yoga instructors to build a package of coverages, including general and professional liability insurance. However, this coverage is not designed for W-2 school teachers.
Underwritten by insurers with A++ AM Best ratings
Quick and easy online quote
Business owner’s policy includes extra coverages at no cost
Offers commercial auto
BiBerk offers coverage for everything from commercial auto to professional liability, but their policies are not specifically designed for teachers and do not include coverage for illegal acts, so you may not be covered if you are accused of abuse or molestation.
Additional Teacher Liability Insurance Companies to Consider
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.