Physical education programs for children K-12 are extremely important in teaching basic motor skills and healthy physical activities. With so much technology that causes bent necks and hunched shoulders, PE is perhaps more important than ever at young ages. Sedentary lifestyles can lead to a variety of health problems later in life including obesity, depression and anxiety, cardiovascular disease and more. Luckily, children generally have a lot of energy that can be channeled into physical exercise. But when children do exercise, there’s always a risk of injury. K-12 PE programs should invest in sports insurance to keep the program and its participants safe.
Is Sports Insurance Required for K-12 PE Programs?
Sports insurance provides coverage for sports programs in which injury is likely. Due to the high risk of the activities, states tend to regulate these physical education programs tightly. The most common types of coverage used by K-12 PE programs are:
Keep in mind there are limits and exclusions to certain coverages. Coverage typically extends to accidents that occur during tryouts, travel, practice and more.
- Blanket Mandatory School Coverage: This coverage is a general coverage for injuries arising from school-sanctioned activities whether sport related or not. It also covers children and teens while traveling in school vehicles and includes K-12 field trip coverage.
- K-12 Voluntary Student Accident Insurance: While not typically required, this insurance covers school sanctioned or sponsored activities both before and after school up to 24 hours a day. Voluntary insurance is generally paid for by the individual (or in this case, their parents) to pay for potential medical bills.
- Catastrophic Accident Insurance: In case of an extremely bad injury, this insurance can provide up to $7.5 million in coverage for medical expenses. This insurance steps in for injuries that result in paralysis, a coma or brain death of a student.
Does District Insurance Automatically Cover Teachers?
Unfortunately, no. A school district may carry insurance, but their policy is designed to protect the district itself instead of each individual teacher. Teachers and instructors can carry their own liability insurance, which is often recommended for PE teachers. Accidents and claims occur frequently in PE-related activities. Professional liability insurance protects PE teachers in cases concerning:
- Civil rights violations
- Inappropriate instruction methods
- Failure to educate
For example, if you instruct your students incorrectly and one of the students is injured as a result, their parents may sue you. That is were carrying professional liability insurance steps in to ensure the student receives medical attention and to help pay for legal fees.
There are other areas of insurance that are extremely important for K-12 PE programs. It’s important to make sure the school and district carry policies such as sexual misconduct and molestation insurance.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse is relatively common when it comes to youth sports. In 98% of sexual abuse cases in sports, the perpetrators were coaches, teachers or instructors. Sexual misconduct and molestation insurance can protect the PE program in case one of its coaches or teachers are accused of sexual assault or sexual abuse. While most reports of sexual assault concern female victims, male sports participants are also vulnerable and less likely to report the abuse.
Other possible insurance coverages include concussion accident insurance, camp and clinic insurance and event cancellation insurance.
How Much Sports Insurance Do K-12 PE Programs Need?
Insurance needs may vary depending on the sports and size of the program. It’s crucial that these programs carry enough insurance to cover medical bills including x-rays, hospital bills and emergency medical expenses as well as possible legal costs.