child virtual learning with teacher

November 20, 2020

Larger role for tutors means new risks

3 min read


Private tutors have been in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re a tutor or run a tutoring agency, you’re probably operating very differently than you ever did before, what with online learning, learning pods, and some parents needing support for homeschooling. With new opportunities come new risks, so now may be the time to look into private tutor insurance, starting at $50/month.

The world of education has changed dramatically during the pandemic, and that’s putting a spotlight on the tutoring industry. Homeschooling is difficult at the best of times, and parents aren’t always well equipped to help their kids get the most out of online schooling. Some kids just don’t learn well through video chats and web workbooks, so private tutors are increasingly being engaged to support the kids, provide additional instruction, or in some cases integrate with the school’s teaching.

​The new ways that tutors are being deployed bring with them new risks, so if you’re in the business, it’s a good time to think about some of the risks related to tutoring, and how they may have changed:

1. Supporting online schooling

The pandemic has resulted in tens of thousands of kids, parents and teachers having to adjust to teaching and learning online for the first time ever. While some older students may adapt well to this new way of learning, younger students and those with special needs often need help. Parents who can’t provide that support themselves are turning to tutors to help their kids get the most out of online learning.

2. Online tutoring

The same traditional tutoring that has always been available for students that need extra help in math, science or French is now being offered more and more via online tutoring platforms, where tutors can interact with students while avoiding personal contact.

3. Learning pods

Some parents prefer to keep their kids home from school to avoid exposure to COVID-19, but may get together with other families that they trust (relatives, neighbours) to form a learning pod of 3 to 8 kids, who are then taught by a tutor or teacher who comes into one of the parents’ homes.

Insurance coverage for tutors

More work for tutors and new ways of working could have a big impact on their level of risk, and kind of insurance coverage they might need.

General liability

Commercial General Liability is a basic coverage on any business insurance policy, typically with a limit of $2 million or more, and protects you as a tutor or tutoring agency if you or an employee is responsible for an injury or damage to someone’s property. Traditionally, tutors would need this coverage in the event that they knock a painting off the wall or break an expensive vase at a client’s house, or if someone trips on their laptop cord and breaks a leg. These risks become that much bigger now in the world of social distancing, and certainly in learning pods where tutors may be dealing with more kids than they’re used to.

Insurance tip:

One of the big risks for anyone working in close proximity with children is that they may be accused of abuse or inappropriate conduct. This is unlikely to be covered under a standard general liability policy, and stand-alone coverage is expensive. In the absence of insurance, it’s vital to follow risk management practices such as insisting parents are always present, video recording all live sessions, keeping a written log of any incidents, and having regular check-ins with parents.

Professional liability

Professional liability insurance (also known as Errors & Omissions) is another key part of any tutor’s insurance package.  After all, tutors are providing professional services, and E&O is specifically designed to handle any complaints arising from your provision of professional services and advice.

With students adjusting to new ways of learning, and possibly failing to achieve their expected results, tutors are subject to accusations of not doing their jobs properly. If a student fails a big exam or if lacklustre grades prevent a client from getting into their desired university program, disgruntled parents could sue a tutor or tutoring agency for failing to cover certain course material or failing to prepare a student sufficiently for an exam. Even if accusations are unfounded, professional liability insurance would pay for your lawyer’s fees.

Cyber liability insurance

Cyber liability insurance is an emerging type of insurance that covers you in the event that hackers get access to client information, hack your website or any online tool you might be using. Cyber is quickly becoming a must-have coverage for any business that:

  • Keeps private customer information, including credit card details, on a computer or in the cloud
  • Has a website
  • Conducts business over the web

With the pandemic forcing many tutors to use new web conferencing tools like Skype and Zoom, it’s that much more critical that you have cyber coverage.

Property and contents insurance

Property and contents coverage would replace business equipment, tools and supplies (business stuff) that are lost, destroyed or damaged (e.g. laptops etc.). But individual tutors often don’t have much “stuff”, and may just have a laptop whose value may be less than a standard deductible. Likewise, business interruption coverage would only be applicable if you have property coverage and an insured loss makes you unable to continue operating. Especially if you are self-employed and work from home, these types of coverage may not be necessary.

Of course, if you run a tutoring agency with an office, and a number of employees or sub-contractors, your situation might be very different. In this case, you would want coverage for your office (if you own it), your business contents, business interruption, and tenants liability if you accidentally damage your rented space. You may also have a need for non-owned auto liability if you have employees using their own vehicles to visit students.

Depending on the size of your tutoring business and other details about your business, you could get a tutors insurance package starting at $50 a month. Call one of our business insurance brokers today for a no-obligation quote.

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author avatar
Nick Kidd Director of Business Insurance

As chief innovation officer at Mitch, Nick Kidd also heads up our business insurance team. Nick brings a laser focus to his work, driving technology-driven strategies to strengthen the customer experience, while building a more lovable insurance experience for our commercial clients. He has a diverse background in both the UK and Canada with leadership experience to burn.”

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