Why do student counsellors need insurance?
As a student counsellor, you start delivering your services while gaining qualifications. You’ll need to have student counsellor insurance in place for several reasons.
The risks you will face professionally are the same as if you were fully qualified. When you start treating clients, potential liabilities and threats could arise during your student counselling activities, and trainee counsellor insurance becomes essential.
Accusations of misconduct or negligence
As a student counsellor, you can face accusations of misconduct or ethical violations from one of your clients.
Personal Injury Claims
During your counselling session, a situation might arise where a client claims to have suffered emotional distress or other personal injury due to your actions or advice.
Privacy and Data Breach Protection
Student counsellors deal with sensitive and confidential information about their clients. Sometimes, the need to share information with their supervisors may lead to unintentional data or privacy breaches.
The educational institution where you’re gaining your qualifications will likely require you to be insured.
Professional indemnity insurance for student counsellors
Even though you’re a student counsellor, you’ll be addressing real clients' real problems during your sessions. Your clients’ heightened emotional state and your student status can lead to a dispute regarding your services.
Professional indemnity insurance for student counsellors will respond to legal claims brought against you by unhappy clients who might accuse you of wrongdoing and demand compensation.
What does student counsellor professional indemnity insurance cover?
Professional indemnity insurance is a legal cover that provides qualified legal defence and pays compensation if you become liable.
Cover responds to client accusations of:
- Giving the wrong advice or recommendation
- Confidentiality breach
- Acting negligently
- Failing your duty of care
For example, a client may accuse you:
- Of saying or doing something during a session that was offensive or inappropriate.
- Accidentally sharing their details with an unauthorised party
- Providing guidance that led to a harmful outcome
Does professional indemnity insurance for student counsellors cover my activities worldwide?
Your professional indemnity policy's ‘territory or geographical limits’ and ‘jurisdiction’ sections specify if your student counselling insurance will respond when working in different countries.
Territory or geographical limits:
The territory or geographical limit specifies where you can virtually or physically deliver your services. For example: “Worldwide.”
The jurisdictional limit specifies which legal jurisdictions your policy will defend you if you are sued. For example: “Worldwide excluding US and Canada.”
Any contracts or agreements you enter into with your clients should specify the ‘governing law’ for that contract, which is the jurisdiction in which parties can seek legal remedy for breach of contract.
Avoid entering contracts not governed by your local jurisdiction and/or excluded by your student counsellor professional indemnity insurance.
If you work with US and Canadian clients, you can reduce risk by not entering contracts governed by US and Canadian laws.
Switching your professional indemnity insurance
Typically, in the UK, if you cancel a professional indemnity policy, you can no longer claim against it.
Therefore, if you switch your student counsellor insurance provider, be sure your new policy covers your past work; this is called “retroactive cover”.
Public liability insurance for student counsellors
If you regularly see clients face-to-face or visit them, it’s wise to have public liability insurance.
Public liability protects you against accusations of causing an accident leading to an injury or property damage.
Public liability can be inexpensive legal protection against compensation demands following unfortunate incidents.
Accidents such as slips or falls happen. You could be blamed for causing an injury or failing to prevent it.
Public liability claims rarely result in substantial compensation claims, but when combined with legal defence costs, a lawsuit can quickly add up.
What does student counsellor public liability insurance cover?
Public liability is helpful when faced with injury claims and compensation demands.
- accidental injury or death
- accidental property damage
- You failed to warn a client that there’s a step to mind, and they injured themselves during a visit to you
- You have accidentally spilt a hot drink on your client, either causing an injury or damage to their clothing
Shopping for student counsellor insurance
As a student counsellor, you may find that only some insurers are willing to offer you trainee counsellor insurance. Even with the reduced options, keep an eye on a few aspects.
Cheap student counsellor insurance
When choosing your student counsellor insurance, consider more than just the price. Verify the provider's availability and prioritise both cost and accessibility. Suited offers prompt responses and multiple communication options.
The reputation of the insurer is important
It is often tempting to purchase the cheapest deal on the market. However, double-check who you are buying from and the insurers underwriting your policy. This information should be made very clear to you before purchase.
Many providers charge fees to amend or cancel
Occasionally, updates to your personal or business details are needed. Ensure you understand whether amendments have associated costs; this also goes for cancellations. Will you have to pay a fee, and will you have to give 30 days' notice rather than just be able to cancel immediately?
Some policy wordings are restrictive or have a high excess
Some providers will offer attractive prices, but it is at the expense of cover given. Suited professional indemnity and public liability have £0 excess.