A Buyer's Guide to Staff Absence Insurance

What is staff absence insurance?

Staff absences at schools can be stressful and sometimes expensive to overcome as substitutes are brought in. However, absences cannot be avoided and some, such as for a chronic illness, can be for a prolonged period of time. Having staff absence insurance can help to protect you from the increased cost of working as a result of a staff absence at a school. Our guide will help you understand staff absence insurance, the different types of cover available and how this type of insurance can help you to meet your duty of care to your students.

Staff absence insurance can cover you against the increased cost of working as a result of a staff absence. A claim can cover your school for the cost of calling in a supply teacher.

Staff absence cover is designed to offer protection for a range of different types of absence, including jury service, chronic conditions and personal accidents, and can also be extended to cover stress and maternity cover. This type of insurance policy can be tailored to suit your needs so that it can sit alongside the school's contingency plans.

Do I need staff absence insurance?

For a busy school, academy or college, staff absence can provide protection against costs should you be left with an absence in your workforce. This type of protection is very important in a fast-paced environment where you are striving to meet your duty of care to your students. Having staff absence insurance can help to protect your school from the costs of unavoidable staff absences and can help to take away some of the stress when staff are unable to work.

Our research of 1,000 teachers nationwide found that almost three-quarters believe it is more stressful to be a teacher today than it was when they first started. Investing in a staff absence insurance policy which covers stress can give you peace of mind in this tough industry.

What does staff absence insurance cover?

Staff absence insurance policies can be tailored to suit the needs of your staff and school. Our policy provides cover for a range of different types of absence, including bereavement, jury service, pregnancy-related illness and chronic conditions. The policy can also be extended to cover absences related to stress and maternity cover.

Things to consider when choosing your staff absence insurance

Staff absence insurance is an important cover to have for schools and certainly worthwhile investing in. When factoring it into your school budget and contingency plans it is important that you understand how your school would cope with absence. All policies are different so it should be possible for you to find cover that suits your budget and needs.

For example, you could opt for a continuous policy which carries over ongoing claims from one year to another and will also record your exact claims history. On the other hand, you could choose an annual policy which will typically be cheaper but will effectively reset each year with any pre-existing conditions being taken from the renewal date. 

It is also possible to choose policies based on how your school is equipped to cope with absence. For example, if you could cope with a staff absence for two weeks without too much trouble, you may choose a policy with a longer excess/deferment period, which means that the first few days won't be claimable. Alternatively, if you could only manage for a few days, you could choose a policy with a three-day option. The higher your excess/deferment period is, the cheaper your premium is likely to be, so it is definitely worth thinking about how insurance fits within your contingency plans and budget.

All policies are different and therefore it is important that you read your policy wording carefully to ensure that you are aware of the type of cover you have.

Whilst the vast majority of absences are entirely unavoidable, there are a number of stress-related absences every year which could potentially be reduced or even prevented by taking steps to help limit work-related stress. Ensuring that working conditions are good and the school culture is inclusive and supportive may help reduce absences due to work-related stress.

Staff absence cover from Towergate

We can offer tailored staff absence insurance policies designed to suit your needs and give you peace of mind. For more information visit our dedicated staff absence insurance page or speak to a specialist adviser on 0330 123 5918.

About the author

Jo Taylor - schools insurance articles author Jo Taylor is an respected insurance industry leader with over 15 years’ experience working with both education and the public sector. She is responsible for supporting her clients on all things insurance and risk related, and is also a mental health first aider qualified through Mental Health First Aid England.