The importance of insuring your technology devices

Mark Pullen

Mark is a 1:1 classroom teacher and has written this article on behalf of Worth Ave. Group. Worth Ave Group provides laptop, tablet computer, and iPad insurance to schools and universities. They have been insuring schools since 1971.

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When a school district adopts a 1:1 technology programme, no matter whether the district itself is purchasing the computers or is instead asking the students and their families to purchase a device (or bring one from home), one of the critical concerns that arises is how to keep those devices safe and operational for years to come. Theft, devices being lost, and devices breaking (by being dropped, for example) are all legitimate concerns.  While some of these issues can be prevented or reduced somewhat by teaching students some basic safety techniques (such as keeping devices safely locked up when unattended), districts should also plan on purchasing insurance to protect their investment in 1:1 technology. Here are two key reasons why school districts should elect to insure students’ technology devices, along with some thoughts about what parents can do if their child’s school does not insure 1:1 devices.

Keep costs known

A successful 1:1 programme entails more costs than just the initial purchase of laptops or tablets. Things like professional development for teachers, increased tech support, bandwidth increases, power cords and additional wiring/outlets all cost money and must be factored into a school or district’s 1:1 budget. Insurance should also be factored in ahead of time as a fixed cost that is needed to run a successful 1:1 programme. Nothing can sabotage a 1:1 programme faster than unforeseen costs that seem to spiral out of control; costs that are known ahead of time and agreed upon beforehand always feel much more manageable to all stakeholders than costs that were completely unexpected. A successful 1:1 programme should seek to avoid unknown repair and replacement costs for the computers (some of which, with so many devices being used each day, will inevitably break), and insurance accomplishes exactly that.

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Reduce parental anxiety

Many parents have concerns with the introduction of a 1:1 programme not for any educational reason, but simply because they are concerned about being charged with replacement costs if something were to happen to their child’s device during the school year. Purchasing district-wide insurance to protect students’ devices serves as an immense comfort to those parents. With insurance, the focus of conversation can turn back to what really matters: the educational benefits the 1:1 technology will permit throughout the district.

What if my child’s district doesn’t purchase insurance?

While many districts wisely purchase insurance coverage for all of the 1:1 devices used in their schools, some do not.  In that case, parents should strongly consider purchasing insurance coverage on their own. By insuring their child’s specific device, parents can rest easier knowing that their child’s computer is covered in case of damage or loss. In addition, if one student’s device is broken or damaged as a result of an accident involving another student, insurance can prevent a lot of blame and hard feelings between those students and their families.

School districts implementing 1:1 programmes would be wise to purchase insurance on those devices, but for students in districts that don’t do so, individual student coverage is something those families should strongly consider.

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