If you teach students in your own home, at their home or on hired premises, have you considered taking out professional indemnity (PI) and public liability (PL) insurance? If not, maybe you should.

Whether you’re a private tutor, home teacher, NVQ assessor or music teacher, no matter how professional you are, the risks you face are wide-ranging. If you make a mistake or your client decides your services aren’t up to scratch, they could make a claim against you, even if it’s not your fault.

Common insurance claims against teachers

We live in a world where everyone is held accountable. While on the face of it, tutoring or teaching may seem a relatively low-risk profession, you’re providing a service that customers are paying for. Regardless of your expertise, experience and qualifications, things don’t always go to plan and a client could accuse you of causing them harm or loss as a result of your service, advice or a mistake you made.

Here are some common examples of when things go wrong:

  • You’re a private tutor helping a student prepare for their GCSE Maths exam. You’re prepared and know the subject matter well, but a simple oversight leads to your teaching part of the curriculum incorrectly. The student feels ill-equipped when they sit their exam and accuse you of setting them up for failure.
  • In a similar scenario, again you offer private tutoring services and the sessions go well. However, the student underperforms through no fault of your own and their disgruntled parents make a claim, alleging that your services are inadequate.
  • You are a drum teacher and a piece of equipment falls on and injures a student while they're playing the drum kit you supplied. They’re left with long-term injuries and seek compensation.

Claims like these can be hugely costly to your business. Not only will you have to pay out for the legal fees to defend yourself, if you’re found to be liable, you will have to cover the compensation costs as well.

While it is not a legal obligation to have insurance to work as a private teacher here in the UK, many choose to take out PI and PL insurance policies to cover themselves and future-proof their business.  

How will PI insurance cover me?

PI insurance is a form of protection against any legal liability as a result of professional malpractice or misconduct. It exists to cover your legal defence fees and the cost of compensation to a client who has lost out as a result of your service, advice or a mistake you made. 

This includes:

  • errors in advice or knowledge you provide, and
  • failure to provide an adequate tuition service.

How will PL insurance cover me?

PL insurance covers you against allegations of injury to a third party as a result of your negligence. This could be anything from a student or parent slipping and hurting themselves at your home or injuring themselves as a result of your incorrect instruction. It would cover your legal costs as well as any compensation due to your client should they make a claim.

PL insurance also protects you against accidental damage to third party property, such as damage to a laptop during a tutoring session.

In short, PL insurance exists to protect you if you face a claim for:

  • damage to property, and
  • injury to others as a result of your actions or an accident on your property.

Get your business protected with PI and PL insurance

Most private teachers, tutors and instructors know that taking out PI and PL insurance makes good business sense. It doesn’t mean that they expect to make a mistake, rather that they’re prepared should anything go wrong and they know they’ve got the right protection in place. It means that if one of their students or clients does make a claim, it will be dealt with swiftly and effectively by a dedicated team of legal experts. It doesn’t cost their business, it allows them to focus on their job and it keeps their reputation intact.  

To find out more about how Larsen Howie can protect your business, please get in touch with our team and we’ll talk you through your options. You can also find out more about the top issues related to self-employment in our Knowledge Hub.

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