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Public Liability Insurance (PLI) for Teachers

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) protects individuals against the financial consequences of legal liability for damages following injury to a third party (not your employee) or damage to property whilst performing or teaching.

Last updated: 15 July 2022

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) protects individuals against the financial consequences of legal liability for damages following injury to a third party (not your employee) or damage to property whilst performing or teaching. It is valid in the home, in workplaces, in transit to and from work, and all around the world – depending on the individual insurance policy.

Apart from ensuring that you are covered should an accident happen, PLI is important because employers, local authorities and venues commonly require written evidence (e.g. a PLI certificate) that musicians are insured against public liability before they are offered work.

There are many circumstances where PLI might be applicable to music teachers. Please note that none of the information in this section constitutes legal advice, and you should always consult your own insurance policy, professional advisor or membership organisation.

MU’s PLI cover

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) is provided by the MU to its members to a limit of indemnity of £10 million per individual member. It is valid anywhere in the world provided you are resident in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The MU PLI cover protects musicians performing, rehearsing, auditioning or composing, either solo or as part of a group, band or orchestra, and/or whilst teaching or mentoring in the field of music. Members are covered by the MU’s PLI their own home or any other place, and in transit thereto and therefrom, including the setting up and dismantling of equipment.

MU members also benefit from other insurances including £2,000 worth of free musical instrument or equipment insurance, and £1 million professional indemnity insurance covering teaching and lecturing.

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Already an MU member? Log in to download your PLI certificate.

Covered or not covered?

Try to work out whether you would be covered by PLI in these circumstances.

  1. You are coaching on a youth orchestra course and accidentally damage a large drum, belonging to a local school, when moving it.
  2. Later, you accidentally walk into a student, who sustains a foot injury.
  3. Later still, your own instrument is damaged by another teacher.
  4. Back at home, a student’s parent trips over in your driveway as they drop off their child for a lesson.
  5. You undertake some teaching for a university. The university tries to claim back your fee, arguing that your work has not been good enough.
  6. You are coaching a student string quartet at home. Somehow, a thief breaks in and steals a student’s violin.
  7. You are on the way to teaching in a school and your car scrapes the school entrance gates, causing damage.
  8. A student develops vision problems and says they are caused by poor lighting in your home teaching studio.

Answers:

  1. You are likely to be covered. You have accidentally damaged someone else’s property at work, which is covered by PLI.
  2. You are likely to be covered. You have accidentally caused an injury to a third party at work. This is also covered by PLI.
  3. You are probably not covered. This time someone else has damaged your property, and you may be able to claim on any insurance that covers your instrument. However, there may be a public liability claim against the venue, or against the individual who damaged your instrument – consult your insurance policy.
  4. You are likely to be covered. A third party has sustained an injury that is related to your work, which is covered by PLI.
  5. You are not likely to be covered. This is not a PLI issue but rather a professional indemnity issue. If you have professional indemnity insurance, it should cover you in this situation.
  6. You are probably not covered. This is a matter of theft rather than damage or injury, so PLI is unlikely to apply. The student should claim on their own musical instrument insurance. However, it would be worth checking with your PLI provider just in case.
  7. You are likely covered. PLI should cover you as you travel to work.
  8. You may be covered. It would be difficult to prove that the student’s vision problems were caused by your home lighting, but if it could be proved, the student may have a claim. Some insurance claims are complicated, and it isn’t always immediately obvious how insurance will apply. If you believe you have a claim but the provider decides otherwise, there should be a process of appeal that you can follow.

Please note that Public Liability Insurance is also available direct from providers and through some other membership organisations. Terms and conditions apply – always read the policy.

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