We all want what’s best for our children. So what’s a few more dollars if it ensures your child’s safety—right? But have you ever stopped to wonder if extra accident insurance is really necessary for your child?

Every fall schools send home Student Accident Insurance forms that give parents an opportunity to purchase supplemental accident coverage for their child. School boards generally do not provide accident insurance themselves. This type of product is made available for parents to purchase on a voluntary basis from an affiliated insurance company and reimburses accident-related medical and dental expenses that are not covered by provincial, extended health or dental plans.

Details will vary depending on the plan chosen but may include: dental expenses resulting from accident, out of province emergency medical coverage, death benefits, dismemberment or loss of use, total permanent disability, fractures/ dislocations, or other expenses which may not be covered by provincial or private supplemental health insurance. Coverage may apply to school hours or special events only, or up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But is it really necessary?

In order to avoid paying for unnecessary duplication of existing coverage, it’s crucial to fully understand what coverage you already have in place through a provincial health plan, or through coverage that your child may already be entitled to from a supplementary insurance plan as a dependent. Secondly, be sure to read the fine print of the plan you are purchasing. What are the details of the extra coverage? What is exempt? For anything that’s not duplicated by an existing plan, you may want to consider the likelihood of that event happening, and what would be the cost out-of-pocket if it did. One final thing to keep in mind is that for many benefits—as, for example, with out-of-country coverage—regardless of the number of policies you have in place, you will still ultimately only be able to claim with one insurance policy at a time.

A certain amount of insurance coverage is necessary and wise, and families who do not have other accident insurance protection should most likely seriously consider this product, but you need to look at the fine print and choose carefully. Before making any purchases, make sure that you understand the terms, coverage, exclusions and costs of any policy that you may be considering. Broad policies under which you may already be covered elsewhere (i.e. employer-sponsored benefits) offer adequate coverage for potential incidents that an additional limited-scope policy will only be duplicating.

If you have any questions regarding your family’s insurance coverage requirements, please contact your Cowan Representative—we’re here to help.