Insurance available for parents to cover their children
If an accident occurs at School which is not caused by negligence of the Department then parents are required to have their own insurance.
Attention: Parents and Teachers
From time to time there are media stories about the issue of whether children are insured for injuries while at school.
The department of education and training does not provide, nor has ever provided, accident or medical insurance for students enrolled in government schools.
The department is however insured to cover the financial impact of any legal liabilities that it faces arising from its activities. If the department or one of its staff is negligent and this causes a student to be injured, then the student will be able to legally recover damages from the department (and the department's insurance will cover the cost).
However, if an accident occurs at a school which is not caused by any wrongdoing or omission by the department, then the department is not legally liable.
Should parents wish to cover their children, there are various forms of insurance available, irrespective of whether fault can be assessable. These include:
- Student Accident Insurance – available through the Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations of NSW and from commercial insurance suppliers;
- Sporting Injuries Insurance Scheme – covering catastrophic injuries;
- The Supplementary Sporting Injuries Benefits Scheme; and
- Private health funds.
Student Accident Insurance
A group personal accident and sickness policy is available to government schools through the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales. Parents are unable to insure children individually. Each school (either through the principal or the school's parents and citizens association) is able to participate on a whole school basis with the cost calculated on a set fee per student (annually $4.85 per student per annum).
The policy covers a wide range of injuries and the permanent total loss of the use or functioning of certain body parts. Importantly, the policy partially covers injuries (such as neck, pelvic and back injuries) that are not covered by the sporting injury benefits schemes mentioned above although the levels of compensation are limited.
Whilst the Sporting Injuries Insurance Schemes are limited to injuries that occurred during defined sporting activities, Student Accident Insurance typically covers a broader range of possible injuries. For example, where a student is injured falling down stairs, accident insurance coverage would be relevant, but sporting injuries insurance would not.
Sporting Injuries Insurance Scheme
The Sporting Injuries Insurance Scheme is administered by the NSW Sporting Injuries Committee.
The scheme is open for membership to all sporting organisations operating in New South Wales. The scheme benefits are paid regardless of the negligence of the participant or their pre-existing conditions, or whether a benefit has previously been received.
Supplementary Sporting Injuries Benefits Scheme
The Supplementary Sporting Injuries Benefits Scheme applies to participants in certain programs run by NSW Sport and Recreation.
The supplementary scheme's cover provides for a lump sum benefit to be paid where a school child participating in an authorised school sporting activity suffers a permanent disability of a certain kind or dies. Payment is made regardless of pre-existing conditions or negligence.
Private Health Insurance
Parents have the option of taking out private health coverage for their children. This is usually limited to the reimbursement of medical expenses and will not generally provide the breadth of cover provided by a specific student accident insurance policy.
Where principals are aware that there is confusion in their school community, then parents should be advised (for example in School Newsletters) that if they wish to take out accident insurance for their children they will need to make their own enquiries and arrangements.
Legal Services Directorate