The school year is rapidly approaching its close. Before summer break beckons, there will probably be a lot of special events going on around your child's school. In many cases, it is the responsibility of the school's PTA to organize these events. That might mean bringing in a lot of special materials, keeping things moving and doing anything possible to keep everyone safe. If this is your job, then you have a lot of things to look after.
Yet, even with all the preparations, you cannot prevent every accident. As a result, you might need insurance protection for the event. How do you get that protection?
School PTA or PTO organizations can benefit from multiple lines of insurance. Many of these can protect the group and its leaders at any time, not just during special events. Therefore, before hosting any end-of-year events, make sure you have effective insurance in place.
Does My School Or District Provide My Insurance?
Parent-teacher associations and organizations have, for decades, been among the primary advocates for schoolchildren across the United States. In many cases, they play vital organizational and support roles for their schools and students. In many cases, schools rely heavily on PTAs for their community engagement. Through special events throughout the school year, many PTAs create fundraising and engagement benefits for schools and students.
Many people think of PTAs as organizations within schools. Therefore, they assume that the school should provide any necessary asset and liability insurance for the group and its organizers. However, this might not always be the case.
School districts and individual schools sometimes do insure their PTAs and organizers under their own property or liability insurance. Nevertheless, in many cases, schools and districts do not cover their PTAs with insurance because of the structure of those groups. In some situations, the laws even forbid them from doing so.
Yes, PTAs are often representatives and advocates of schools. However, they very well might not qualify as official parts of the schools themselves. PTAs therefore operate as something of a hybrid-representative. Yes, the PTA represents the students' best interests. However, it might not necessarily represent the views of the school or district itself. Most don't even receive any funding from the school, and most organizers are not school district employees.
As the PTA probably operates very much independently of the school in a business sense, the school's insurance might apply to it. Therefore, if you are a PTA organizer in this scenario, you will need to make sure you have insurance for the organization. Sometimes, you will even face a legal requirement to obtain this coverage.
Verifying Special Events Insurance Coverage
If you are a PTA organizer, and you are planning a special event for the end of the year, verify your insurance coverage at the same time.
The best way to do this is to contact your school's district superintendent, the principal or the financial director. They can likely tell you if the district carries appropriate insurance for the event. If it doesn't, you will likely need to procure your own coverage.
Still, even if the school offers coverage, it is never a bad idea to invest in organization-specific coverage anyway. If you carry a targeted policy for the PTA itself, you'll have more of a guarantee that accidents occurring at special PTA events will have insurance.
What Protection Do I Need?
PTA insurance usually provides specific benefits. These will often apply to the organization's leaders, volunteers, its property and risks present during special events.
- General Liability Insurance covers the damage other people (such as students or parents) might sustain during PTA events. Usually they apply to injuries. In some cases, they can apply to property damage as well. Because the accidents occurred at the PTA event, then the PTA might have a responsibility to pay for the losses. Coverage can also apply in the event the affected party sues the PTA.
- Property Insurance covers the hard assets that belong to the PTA itself. For example, materials you plan to sell during the event might have coverage. Office supplies the PTA uses might also be covered.
- Directors & Officers Liability Insurance can apply to the PTA's president and other leaders in case they become the personal targets of a lawsuit. It will help them in the event their decisions face legal scrutiny. Many policies also offer crime insurance that can apply in case a director or leader faces an accusation of theft or embezzlement.
- Medical Payments Coverage applies in the event someone gets hurt at the event. It can compensate them for their losses above the limits of their own health insurance. It therefore might greatly reduce the risks of lawsuits.
When you plan a special event, you must account for the risks faced and posed by volunteers. Verify first that volunteers have protection in case they make decisions in the name of the organization.