Thura Online Services

Survive the high cost of tuition with appropriate insurance covers

Mandy Barrett, Aon South Africa

The start of the academic year is a tough time for many parents when it comes to managing the spiraling costs that come with sending a child to school or varsity.  Besides tuition fees, there’s the realisation that all the electronic gadgets such as tablets, phones, laptops, iPads and cameras, along with uniforms and sports gear constitute a very hefty financial investment – one that will remain constant throughout your child’s education years.

“It’s easy to underestimate the combined value of your child’s assets, but since technology in today’s education environment has increased, students have more valuable, sophisticated and portable assets than ever before.  When you add up the value of gadgets such as tablets – which many schools now prescribe as a replacement for text books – plus smart phones, sports gear and apparel (cricket gear can easily reach R10 000 in value), it’s soon very evident that you need a holistic insurance plan in place to mitigate the risk of theft, accidental damage or loss which could leave you seriously out of pocket,” explains Mandy Barrett of insurance brokers and risk Advisors, Aon South Africa.

“As much as you drum it into your child to take responsibility for their possessions, the reality is that accidents and circumstances beyond their control will inevitably happen.  It’s advisable to consult with your insurance broker to check that such items can be covered under your insurance policy, and especially to review and understand the “All Risks” section of your household contents cover.

“There is a common misconception that the contents of students’ residences are uninsurable because this is regarded by insurers as a ‘communal area’, and therefore presents a much higher risk.  While this may be true in some cases, particularly with off-the-shelf, commoditised types of insurance products, it’s quite possible to arrange affordable cover for these risks linked to household contents or vehicle cover.  This is of course will be subject to certain insurer restrictions like forcible and violent entry,” says Mandy.

The All Risks section of your policy will also need careful attention.  In some policies, you will need to specify the items to be covered under All Risks, and these are typically items that would be removed from your house such as laptops, cameras, tablets and so on.  Remember that household contents cover means just that – the contents of your home that stay within your home. So, should you lose a tablet in a burglary, you would be covered under your householders’ insurance. But that very same item, if removed from your home for whatever reason, ceases to be covered unless specified under ‘All Risks’.

“Also, avoid the pitfall where the value of an item specified in the policy is not listed at its replacement value or you could find the insurer only partially pays out in the event of a claim on the basis that the item was under-insured,” advises Mandy.

Remember, if you don’t have insurance in place and there is damage, theft or loss, you could be looking at costly repair or replacement charges in order to get your child back up to speed for their educational needs. If they need their tablet for educational purposes as an example, time without the device can keep them from their studies and homework.  Having a comprehensive insurance program in place coupled with speedy claims resolution is essential to ensure your child’s education is not compromised.

Another important area that demands attention is that of insuring a student’s motor car. Statistics confirm that younger, inexperienced drivers have a much higher accident rate and hence more claims, than older, more experienced drivers.

Further food for thought when considering a vehicle for a young driver is that an expensive vehicle (sum insured greater than R250 000) has a much higher probability of being involved in an accident than a less expensive vehicle.  “In terms of some sound vehicle purchasing advice, it’s particularly important that parents consider a student vehicle with modest power, excellent safety features and that’s roadworthy.   Besides the insurance implications of putting your child behind the wheel of a high-powered expensive vehicle, there are very real safety concerns for the driver and other road users by putting an inexperienced driver behind the wheel of a speed machine,” says adds.

“When it comes to insuring a student vehicle, make sure you have cover at least for balance of third party, fire and theft, with, perhaps additional personal liability top up cover, given the risk of major claims in the event of an accident or incident where the young driver is proven to be negligent.  Always specify the regular driver of the vehicle and the terms of its use to avoid any problems at claim’s stage,” concludes Mandy.


Source: Teresa Settas Communications

Article from: