According to data from the National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES), there over 3.2 million private and public school teachers in the United States. In a society where lawsuits are commonplace, that’s approximately 3 million lawsuit targets.
In 2014, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) surveyed teacher’s pay. The survey revealed that a teacher in the United States with 10 years of experience received an average salary of $53,758.
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Considering the increase in the number of injury claims against the teacher, something needs to be done to protect them.
It has always been assumed it’s only doctors and lawyers that require malpractice liability insurance.
However, the world has drastically changed, and today, people get sued for minor offenses. It is a time that no teacher should go into a classroom without a liability insurance cover.
60 percent of respondents in an interactive poll conducted by Harris in 2014 saw teaching as a prestigious career. Teaching was ranked 10 behind other disciplines such as law, engineering, nursing, and clergy.
It is important to take precautions early enough and avoid getting into serious trouble. There are several instances where teachers have found themselves being sued for things that they felt were minor.
The best option is to find an insurance agent and discuss your preferences regarding the insurance. They will assess your situation and recommend the best form of professional liability insurance.
How is teacher liability insurance helpful?
According to a report published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation Development, every American teacher annually spent 967 in the classroom. The third-highest amount of hours in the globe was lower than Australia and Chile that recorded 1,010 and 1,049 hours, respectively.
Many teachers receive violent threats from students every year – not even elementary teachers are spared.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education in 2008 show that 11 percent of urban secondary teachers and 9 percent of urban elementary teachers got violent threats from students.
Their students violently threatened another seven percent of suburban secondary school teachers and five percent of suburban elementary teachers.
Information from the NCES and the department of education reveals that those threats turn into actual violence in almost half of the cases where teachers receive students’ threats.
Teachers are basically trained to teach. They don’t have any military training to help them respond to threats from students. Any time they respond to defend themselves, they are likely to be sued for professional liability.
What is covered by Teacher liability insurance?
A teacher’s liability insurance policy is designed to protect teachers against various risks, including the following:
- Violating a student’s civil rights
- Filing to teach as required
- Student injury under a teacher’s watch
- Improper or incorrect instructions methods
- Physical or sexual abuse
- The hiring of unqualified individuals to offer teaching services
- Failing to promote a student or give feedback
- Violating a student’s privacy rights
For example, your class has gone on a field trip. You have tried to warn a student or students of their potential conduct, but they ignore. He or she later gets injured or injures another student.
Even though you did your best to keep the child away from injury, a parent files an injury lawsuit of $30,000 – to cater to the cost of treatment.
Or probably you are accused of sexual assault and later acquitted of all the charges. Although your reputation can’t be restored, a teacher’s liability coverage can help you recover any amount of money you spent on legal fees.
A teacher’s liability insurance is not only meant to protect you in times of a lawsuit. A good insurance policy should also be able to compensate if there is property damage in a violent encounter.
If a student intentionally or unintentionally damages your personal property, such as a tablet laptop, then an insurance company should help you repair or replace it.
A teacher’s liability insurance is also supposed to protect you if a student accuses you of damaging a cell phone you confiscated.
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Does your District or your Union have insurance?
The school District insurance is primarily meant to protect the district from any liability. Although there are situations where the District’s insurance may cover teachers, the policy might not offer adequate protection.
For instance, the District’s insurance might offer coverage up to a certain limit. If a lawsuit is launched and you are asked to pay an amount beyond what’s stipulated in the policy document, you will have to pay for whatever remains.
That’s why it is good to have your own insurance cover – for full protection. According to a recent survey done by Educational Weekly, many teachers are going for personal insurance policies.
The survey showed that the number of teachers going for personal covers has increased by 25 percent in the last five years.
One of the reasons teacher liability insurance has become more popular is because of its affordability. It costs only approximately $100 in a year from an insurance policy worth $1 million.
Another reason why more teachers are purchasing teacher liability insurance is that they are always skeptical about their District’s ability to cover them in case of a lawsuit.
In most cases, when a lawsuit is filed, almost everybody in the school is named – including cafeteria and janitorial staff.
If you are a member of an educational union, your contributions might cover a certain liability insurance level. The problem is that some of the plans have many limitations and may not even cater to your legal expenses during a lawsuit.
Where can one buy teacher liability insurance?
Several insurance companies offer teacher liability insurance. All you have to do is identify a reputable company that can offer a cover tailor-made to your needs.