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Robbie Hoye

By: Robbie Hoye on February 15th, 2023

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Guide for Insuring Schools (Necessary Coverages, Underwriting, and Cost.)

General Liability | Property Insurance | Professional Liability | Workers Compensation | Business Auto | Public Entities

The mission of any public entity is the same - being committed to serving its community and keeping its members safe. Public entities cannot fulfill these duties unless they are covered by insurance they can trust. 

Schools and school districts know this all too well, as they must worry about coverage for students, faculty, school boards, and everything else that goes into running a school. 

At Berry Insurance, we’re proud to partner with numerous schools across New England, ensuring they have the proper coverage for anything the school year throws their way. 

If you’re looking for new insurance coverage, or want to know more about what exactly goes into insuring a school or school district, then read on! In this article we’ll outline what insurance coverages schools and school districts require, what goes into the quoting process, and what major influences determine the cost of insurance. 

What insurance coverages do schools/school districts need? 

When working with schools and school districts we typically include the following coverages: 

Workers’ compensation: 

Workers’ compensation covers employees' medical expenses and lost wages following a workplace injury or illness, while also protecting the school or school district with coverage from employee-related lawsuits. 

This coverage is a legal requirement of almost all businesses and public entities in Massachusetts. 

General liability:

General liability insurance provides coverage for the unique exposures of a school's premises and operations. This can include coverage for the following: 

  • Injuries to someone else for an accident you cause
  • Damages to someone else’s property
  • Contractual liability (limited)
  • Personal injury coverage
  • Emergency medical payments (optional)
  • Electronic data/cyber liability (optional)
  • Employee benefits liability 


Property insurance protects the school’s physical assets - like buildings, furniture and equipment, supplies, computers/electronics, turf fields, and outdoor structures. It provides financial reimbursement to help recover the cost of items damaged, lost or destroyed from fire, theft, vandalism, burst pipe, explosion, and more. 

If you are contemplating adding any major renovations or additions to your property, you should consider adding a builders risk insurance policy. Builders risk insurance adds an individualized type of property insurance for buildings under construction or renovation. If you’re interested in learning what insurance carriers we’d recommend, then check out our article on the top 4 Massachusetts based insurance carriers for builders risk policies.  

Commercial auto: 

Any vehicles registered under your school or school district would need to be covered through a commercial auto policy

A school’s commercial auto policy will typically provide the following coverages: 

  • Liability for bodily injuries or property damages caused by your school’s vehicle
  • Physical damages to your school’s vehicle 
  • Medical payments
  • Coverage if you are involved in a hit-and-run
  • Coverage if you are hit by an uninsured driver
  • Hired auto liability for accidents caused with rented vehicles (optional)
  • Non-owned auto liability for accidents from your employee using their car for your school (optional)
  • Glass or windshield replacement 

Inland marine: 

Inland marine is a “floater” policy, meaning the coverage travels with the insured items. Rather than covering the property in a specified location like property insurance does, inland marine covers the specified property in any location on the land. 

Any items insured under an inland marine policy are covered in any location they may be in (subject to deductible and coverage limits) including: 

  • Fixed locations
  • In transit
  • In storage
  • At a temporary location

This type of policy covers all the causes of damage normal property insurance does, but may even have some broader covered causes of loss.


Commercial umbrella insurance provides schools additional liability coverage on top of what is already included within general liability, professional liability, commercial auto, school board, and workers’ compensation insurance. 

If your school or school district is hit with a large claim that exhausts your underlying coverage, your umbrella policy will help to cover the rest, up to your chosen limits. In addition, a commercial umbrella policy will cover the legal fees while defending or settling your lawsuit. And in some cases, it may even provide coverage you did not have with your underlying policies.


Employment Practices Liability insurance, or EPLI, is a type of insurance policy protecting schools from claims they violated the rights of their employees. This policy is usually a separate policy or can be added onto school board liability coverage. 

There are two different types of EPLI: 1st party and 3rd party. The distinction between the two is simply who is making the claim. 1st party EPLI covers a school or school district from claims if an employee claims his or her rights were violated. 3rd party EPLI covers claims by a third party (like a customer, vendor, or partner) who claims you harassed or discriminated against them.

EPLI covers the following:

  • Wrongful dismissal, discharge or termination; wrongful failure or refusal to employ or promote
  • Sexual or other workplace harassment
  • The loss of certain private employment information
  • Employment discrimination including age, gender, race, color and national origin resulting from disparate treatment
  • Retaliation
  • Violation of the Equal Pay Act or Family Medical Leave Act

Student accident:

Student accident insurance is a customizable coverage that offers protections for schools K-12, districts, or other eligible organizations that need coverage for their students and volunteers during school sponsored events and activities. This coverage can be important for any schools or districts holding sporting events, traveling for field trips, school gym activities, or students engaged in work-study programs. 

To learn more about what to expect from the claims process for a student accident, check out this article: Student Accident Insurance: The Claims Process and Common Problems.

Educators legal liability/school board: 

Also known as school board legal liability insurance, this liability insurance coverage is designed to cover a wide range of non bodily injury/non property damage liability claims made against the school board, administrators, employees, and staff. 

Typical claims for this coverage involve how the board and administration run and operate the district, including accusations of the misuse of funds, running meetings incorrectly, or lawsuits against the board/administrators. 

Cyber liability and privacy crisis management expense: 

Cyber liability insurance will protect schools and school districts from the losses due to cyber attacks, providing coverage for legal services and defense costs, notification expenses, forensic analysis, regulatory compliance and fines, and recovery of lost files. 

Either a standalone coverage or as part of a school’s liability coverage, cyber coverage is separated into first and third-party coverage. First party is automatically included and covers the costs associated with an attack on a school or school district’s computer systems or network. Third-party instead covers claims made by any clients or vendors who have been impacted or injured as a result of an attack on your computer system or network.

Certain positions involved with a school or school district will require an insurance bond, such as the treasurer or assistant treasurer. Additionally, some vocational schools may need special bonds for projects they work on or oversee. 

What can schools expect during the quoting process?

Even if you’re already familiar with the quoting process for school or school district insurance, it can still be wise to review what goes into the process and what factors insurance underwriters will be primarily reviewing when writing a quote. 

After the initial request for insurance coverage, most agencies will provide numerous forms and paperwork for the school or school district to fill out regarding their budget, assets, population served, and many other important factors. When working with Berry Insurance, we would handle this paperwork for you, as well as setting up an in-person meeting to check out the space and get a better gauge of the school’s expectations from their insurance policy. 

When collecting information for a carrier’s underwriters, we would likely need to record the following information for a school or school district. 

  • Budgets
  • Claim history/loss runs
  • Statement of value - list of all buildings and locations 
  • Construction Occupancy Protection Exposure (COPE) - determined risk of the property through square footage, year built, type of construction, safety features (sprinklers, alarms, etc.) and when any updates of major systems took place
  • Updated schedules for any vehicles or equipment 
  • Contents limit
  • List of drivers - License numbers, dates of birth, claim history 
  • Accurate information for all vehicles used by the school 

After gathering all the required information, we would send it to the insurance carrier’s underwriters to review. Once the underwriters have everything in hand, hearing back from them can take anywhere from 2-3 weeks, usually depending on whether they require more information than what we already provided.

Once we get the quote back from the insurance carrier, we would review it before presenting it to the insured, where they can then decide to accept the policy or take some time to compare to other quotes they may have. 

The complete process can take around a month or a month and a half, depending on the time of year and if the underwriters are experiencing any delays at the time the quote request is submitted. Delays tend to be more common the closer we get to the school’s insurance policy expiration time period around June/July, making it better for any renewals or new insurance inquiries to be sent out earlier in the year. 

How much will insuring a school cost?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer here, as multiple factors unique to every school and school district will go into determining the overall cost of the policy. 

Price depends largely on the number of students, teachers, past claims history, budget, the value of the building, as well as numerous other contributing factors. 

While the cost for most schools and school districts will have an insurance policy costing them $100,000 - $150,000 a year, that cost can still vary greatly. For example, some schools with much older buildings or in not as densely populated towns will be much cheaper to insure when compared to newer or larger schools in busier towns or cities. 

Of course there are always exceptions, and we would have to work directly with any school or school district to discuss their unique exposures and history to better determine a price range for their policy. 

An educational approach 

Now that you have learned more about what coverages you need, the quoting process, and what to expect for cost, you will be prepared for a more seamless insurance renewal season. 

At Berry Insurance, we like to focus on providing educational content to our clients to ensure they know what exactly goes into forming their policy and how they are covered. As you can tell, a lot goes into guaranteeing schools are receiving the necessary coverage, making it important to work with an agency you can trust. If you’re thinking Berry Insurance might be the right agent for you, then reach out to us today so we can begin the process for your school or school district. 

Interested in learning more about us and what we offer municipalities? Then check out our article on the top 5 benefits of having municipality insurance with Berry insurance.

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