14 Jan Does Your Home Insurance Cover Your School Pod?
Everything you need to know to stay safe.
As winter settles in the Northeast and the Coronavirus pandemic continues to spike across the country, many parents (and educators) face a difficult conundrum: whether or not to send their kids to school. With varying guidelines across state and even district lines, many parents are left to choose between in-person learning, hybrid learning, or fully remote education. Still others have chosen to homeschool or join a newer type of learning model known as the “School Pod.”
School Pods, also known as Learning Pods or Pandemic Pods, are small groups of students that “pod” together within a community and receive in-person learning at a location other than a traditional school or childcare setting. While some School Pods gather in a separate learning space, many gather in the homes of families participating in the pod. In many cases School Pods hire certified teachers to deliver the curriculum, while others rely on one or more parents to teach or assist the children with the online curriculum assigned by the local school.
In many ways, School Pods are a great solution to a difficult situation – they provide a lower risk learning environment for students while still allowing them to grow their social skills and interact with other kids. However, one thing some School Pods haven’t considered is the impact of the pod on the participating families’ home and liability insurance.
Why would a School Pod affect my insurance?
There are two primary ways that a School Pod can affect insurance. The most obvious exposure is for parents that are hosting a School Pod in their home, but there are other implications for School Pod teachers and attending students as well.
1. Increased Personal Exposure/Liability
While typical homeschooling consists of parents teaching their own children in their own home, School Pods are closer to a small in-home daycare, where one household looks after multiple children. The key is this: what is normally covered under your home insurance policy may no longer be, because school pods may not qualify as a “normal household activity” in the eyes of the insurance company. If that’s the case, an injury or damage to your home may not be covered.
In addition, having multiple children in the home also increases the risk of an accident or injury. Whether slip, trip, or fall – or accidental damage to your home or property, these liabilities are even greater if you have high risk structures on your property such as trampolines, swimming pools, or treehouses. Transporting or feeding children on your property on a regular basis can increase the risk of an accident, food allergy, choking, etc. as well. Because of this added risk, your insurance company may require you to purchase an endorsement to your existing policy in order to cover the added exposure and potential liability.
2. Commercial Exposure
The second way that a School Pod can affect your insurance is potential commercial exposure. This exposure is particularly relevant if you’re being paid to host a School Pod (either by other parents or by a School Pod teacher that is “renting” your space). In this case, your insurance company could designate the Pod as a home-based business which means you would need commercial insurance to cover the added liability of the Pod.
Similarly, if you’re teaching a School Pod and are receiving payment from participants, you are likely to be considered a business. As such, these business activities may not be covered under your home insurance policy and could leave you liable for any damage that occurs under your supervision. For this reason, School Pod teachers should strongly consider purchasing commercial insurance to protect themselves from potential liability.
While each insurance company approaches School Pods a little bit differently, it’s important to contact your agent and ask the right questions in order to secure adequate coverage.
- If I’m hosting a School Pod, is it covered under my homeowner’s insurance?
- What happens if someone is injured while attending my School Pod?
- If this is a rotating Pod, are all homes properly insured?
- If I decide to hire a teacher/tutor/supervisor, what kind of insurance is needed for that? Is my Pod now classified as a home-based business?
- If I transport other Pod members in my vehicle, will my vehicle insurance cover any injuries that may occur?
These, and any other questions that may arise should be taken straight to your insurance agent as the answers will differ depending on which insurance company you are with.
Get a list of all the questions you should be asking, as well as tips for mitigating School Pod risk in the Ultimate School Pod Insurance Guide.
Do I really need insurance for a School Pod? What are the risks if I just ignore it?
Although School Pods are solving many problems for parents, they don’t come without risk. Starting a School Pod that offers childcare and educational services can be dangerous if you are not properly insured and could leave you vulnerable to potential lawsuits. If your insurance company considers your Pod a home-based business, and you have not disclosed it to them before a claim is made, you may have to pay out of pocket.
Aside from insurance, how can I minimize the risks associated with a School Pod?
While it may not eliminate the need for an endorsement to your insurance policy, mitigating risk can help lower premiums and avoid claims or potential lawsuits. There are some key safety tips and guidelines you can follow which are good place to start when it comes to keeping your School Pod healthy and accident-free!
From best practices when it comes to outdoor play and fire safety to understanding what you need to do with your pets and transportation, our School Pod Insurance Guide takes a deeper dive into 5 strategies you can use to make your school pod a safer environment for everyone (pets included!)
For additional safety tips and more information on risk mitigation, download the Ultimate School Pod Insurance Guide.
Still not sure exactly what you need to keep your School Pod safe?
The most important things you can do right now are:
- Contact your insurance agent to ensure you have appropriate coverage based on the structure of your School Pod.
- Mitigate as much risk as possible by maintaining a safe environment and having an emergency plan on file.
- Download the Ultimate School Pod Insurance Guide for more information on recommended coverage for common School Pod structures, and a detailed list of safety measures to mitigate risk.