Being a student counsellor is a rewarding yet challenging role. You provide guidance, support, and listen to students as they navigate the complexities of their educational and personal lives. 

These professionals work in schools, colleges, and universities, providing academic, career, and personal guidance. They help students with course selection, academic and career advice, and personal problems.

As a student counsellor, you are a pillar of support in schools, colleges, and universities, guiding students through their academic, career, and personal challenges. However, this multifaceted role also exposes you to unique risks that can lead to legal and financial repercussions. 

Like tutors and teachers, these education professionals should protect their careers with a customized student counsellor insurance policy.

Insurance for student counsellors

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3 Common Liability Risks Student Counsellors Face

The three most common liability risks that could threaten a student counsellor’s career and reputation include:

1. Professional Liability

One of the most significant risks for student counsellors is professional liability. It can arise if a student or their family claims that your advice or guidance caused the student physical, academic, or financial harm. For example, a student might allege the academic advice you gave them delayed their graduation, causing them financial stress or loss.

2. Third-Party Bodily Injuries or Property Damage

You may be liable if a student suffers an injury while visiting your office or their belongings are damaged, like a mobile phone. For example, if a student slips and falls in your office and is hurt, you may be financially responsible for paying for their medical and rehabilitation expenses. A student counsellor might still face personal liability even in schools or universities where the institution typically has insurance.

3. Cyber Liability

With the increasing use of digital tools and online counselling sessions, the threat of a data breach or cyber-attack that compromises confidential student information is a significant concern. For instance, if your computer system is hacked and sensitive student information is stolen, you can be liable for failing to protect their data.

What Should a Student Counsellor Insurance Policy Include?

An insurance policy for a student counsellor may include the following primary coverages:

Professional Liability Insurance

Also called errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, professional liability insurance addresses allegations of professional negligence or wrongdoing. 

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury and third-party property damage claims made by students, parents, or other visitors to your office.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber liability insurance covers you if you suffer a data breach or your computer or email account is hacked. It covers the costs of notifying affected parties, credit monitoring services, software restoration expenses, legal fees, and settlements or judgments against you if you are sued.

There are additional considerations to weigh to bolster your policy’s protection, such as:

  • The coverage limits you choose. Your policy’s coverage limits are the maximum amount the insurance will pay for any claim. You can select how much coverage each type of insurance should have.
  • The deductibles you choose. A deductible is your share of the cost for damage or loss when you file a claim. Select a higher deductible if you want to pay a lower annual premium. But if you opt for a higher deductible to reduce your premium, be confident you have the funds to pay it when you file a claim.
  • Tail coverage insurance. Also called run-off coverage or extended reporting period coverage, tail coverage insurance is an endorsement you can include in your policy to cover claims made against you that were reported after you retire, your policy expired, or if it was cancelled.
  • Your institution’s insurance. Student counsellors working within educational institutions should review the institution’s insurance. While it might offer you some protection, there could be limits to what it provides you, leaving you exposed to significant financial losses if you’re sued. For example, the institution’s insurance may not cover claims related to professional advice or cyber-attacks. Often, it’s wise for counsellors to purchase a policy to ensure they’re adequately covered in case something goes awry.

Speak to a licensed Zensurance broker if you have questions about what your policy should feature.

How to Get Low-Cost Student Counsellor Insurance

At Zensurance, we recognize the critical role student counsellors play in shaping the lives of young people. That’s why we’ve made it easy and affordable to obtain student counsellor insurance, providing you with peace of mind and financial security. 

Take five minutes to fill out our online application for a free quote and explore your options.

Even counsellors sometimes need counsel. Our knowledgeable brokers work with thousands of educational professionals across Canada, and they can advise you on what your policy should contain and customize it to suit your budget. They can also help you understand the terms and conditions of your policy and assist you in filing a claim.

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About the Author: Brandon Bowie

Brandon Bowie is a Team Lead, Professional Lines at Zensurance.