Frequently Asked Questions
Getting Started / GeneralWhy do we need insurance—doesn't the school cover us?
In many states, school districts are not allowed to cover parent groups because they are independent from the school and not government entities. There are some school districts out there, however, who might still cover the parent teacher group under their policy. The best advice is to give your school a very specific list of your activities and request a written letter from the school stating that all of your activities are covered. Some policies only cover the parent teacher group for events during school hours and on the school campus so that needs to be clearly spelled out as well. Quite often the school assumes you are covered without actually looking into the specifics. The only way to be sure is to get something in writing!
Unfortunately, parent teacher groups are not immune from 3rd party liability or from lawsuits, even if they are incorporated. Every year, parent groups face 3rd party liability suits or are victims of embezzlement. As a parent group officer, it is your responsibility to make sure your group has sound practices to prevent potential problems. You should also ensure your group is covered in the event that something bad does happen. It only takes one bad event to erase years of hard work.
Bene-Marc, Inc. has over 38 years of experience administering insurance programs for the nonprofit community. Philadelphia Insurance Companies and AXIS Global Accident and Health provide coverage for the PTO program. Both companies are rated "A" by the A.M. Best's Rating.
PTO Today insurance coverage extends to parent groups associated with a single school and represented by a single board. Groups can go by any acronym, PTO, PTA, HAS, PTSO, Booster Club, etc. You can apply online at www.ptotoday.com/insurance and pay with a check or a credit card. If you do not wish to do that, you can download the application and send it to us via the mail. If you are associated with a parent group that serves multiple schools, please contact us for volume discounts.
Your policy can start as soon as the day after you purchase assuming we receive the completed application, payment for your membership, and your application is approved.
By pooling all our members together we're able to offer you exceptional coverage at a discounted rate you won't find elsewhere. As a Plus member you'll enjoy all the exclusive benefits of being a Plus member, including downloadable access to ALL expert guides (a $332 value), members-only library of online articles and bonus tools, and first dibs on special offers and complimentary sampling programs from our partners.
Policy SummariesGeneral Liability coverage summary
General Liability provides coverage for sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage from a covered event.
A good benchmark to remember is that there must be bodily injury or property damage to trigger coverage under the General Liability policy. Excess Accident Medical Coverage is required with the purchase of general liability.
The General Liability policy provides sub limits for Damage to Rented Premises to You and Medical Payments. The Damage to Rented Premises to You sublimit is $300,000 and the Medical Payments sublimit is $5,000. Damage to Rented Premises to You Liability provides coverage for the ensuing property damage to property, that the PTO is occupying, due to the PTO's negligence. Medical Payments is a “no-fault” coverage providing up to $5,000 for first aid administered at the time of the accident, necessary medical, surgical, x-ray and dental services, and the necessary ambulance, hospital, professional nursing and funeral services. A suit does not have to be filed in order for the PTO to receive the $5,000 benefit. Should the expense exceed this limit, the claimant would seek protection under the general liability policy.
Please note that effective 7/1/10 the general liability policy contains an exclusion for incidents of actual or alleged negligent acts, errors or omissions resulting in abuse or molestation or threatened abuse or molestation.
Volunteers are covered as part of the PTO under the general liability policy, as respects to their involvement on behalf of the PTO.
The PTO Today general liability policy does not have a deductible.
General Liability list of covered events.
Should you have any questions, please call
This property policy is a “Causes of Loss — Special Form”. This means that covered causes of loss means Risks of Direct Physical Loss unless the loss is:
- General Liability, Excess Accident Medical and Crime coverage are required with the purchase of Property.
- Excluded in Section B, Exclusions; or
- Limited in Section C, Limitations (see full policy for more details)
- The Cause of Loss — Special Form is generally a broader coverage form versus a named peril policy. If it is not excluded, then the peril is covered.
- Coverage limit is $10,000 and carries a $250 deductible, to be assumed by the local PTO.
- This policy provides coverage to the Business Personal Property that is damaged from perils not excluded under this policy, with a maximum liability of $10,000.
- Theft or loss of Scrip is not covered by your Property Policy.
Covered Property includes the property of the PTO that is:
- Furniture and fixtures
- Machinery and Equipment
- All other personal property owned by you and used to run your business
- Leased personal property for which you have a contractual responsibility to Insure
The PTO Today Crime policy provides coverage for:
- General Liability and Excess Accident Medical coverage are required with the purchase of Crime.
- Employee Theft: $25,000 Limit of Liability
- Premises Coverage: $25,000 Limit of Liability
- Transit Coverage: $25,000 Limit of Liability
- Depository Forgery Coverage: $25,000 Limit of Liability
- This policy contains a $250 deductible, to be assumed by the local PTO.
- This policy provides coverage for a covered event within the United States, its' territories and Canada.
- Money, Scrip, Securities and Checks are covered under the above limits of liability. (See policy for definitions)
- The Crime provides coverage for the officers, directors and volunteers under the above limits of liability for each insuring clause.
- The local PTO does not have to provide a list of those to be covered under this bond. This bond provides blanket coverage for those working on behalf of the local PTO.
- Provides “no fault” coverage up to $25,000 for accident medical expenses. (See policy for exclusions.)
- Provides up to $10,000 for Accidental Death Benefit.
- Provides a maximum of $10,000 for Accidental Dismemberment.
- Dental maximum is $250 per tooth with a $1,000 maximum per accident.
Covered activities include:
See policy for covered Accident Medical Expenses/Services
- Provides protection to your PTO and officers if someone alleges misrepresentation or mismanagement by your parent group.
- Covers all officers in your PTO group if sued personally for a decision made by the group.
- Provides $1,000,000 per occurrence for all losses arising from claims alleging a wrongful act by PTO officersCost of defense and investigation of losses included in the occurrence limit.
- $2,500 deductible per claim
*Please refer to the policy copy online for exact coverage details.
EventsCan I see a list of covered events?
General Liability coverage is included for the following events:
All Night Lock-Ins
Animal Rides(tethered or led)
Arts & Crafts Activities
Babysitting at PTO Meetings
Bake or Food Sales
Bean Bag Toss
Beautification Projects (no construction)
Bike (safety) Rodeos
Broom Hockey (on school premises)
Musical Cakes (Cake Walks)
Candy or Wrapping Paper Sales
Carnivals (with exceptions)
Childcare (at a PTO event)
Colored Sand Painting
Cookout (grilling equipment used)
Easter Egg Hunt
Farmer's Market (on school premises)
Fishing (from land)
Haunted Houses (on school Premises)
Horse led Hayrides (no vehicles)
Ice Cream Socials
Miniature golf (on school premises)
Miniature golf (offsite)*
Movie Night (inside)
Movie Night (outside)
Parades (no vehicles)
Parent Education Workshop
Touch a Truck (only if vehicle is stationary)
Water Balloon Toss
Skating Rink (Roller and Ice) - Indoor Rink Only*
Swimming Pool Party (with lifeguard only)*
*If you have any of these activities at the vendor’s venue, the vendor must have appropriate insurance and it is strongly recommended that your parent group be listed as and additional insured on the vendor’s policy.
For the following activities to be covered by your insurance the session/program must be led by PTO volunteers (not by paid instructors). Additional PTO volunteers must be in attendance at all sessions/programs.
- After School Programs
- Enrichment Programs
If you are paying the instructors, they must have their own coverage, and name your parent group as an additional insured on their policy.
While it is understood that you may have the following types of activities at your events, please know that they are NOT COVERED under the PTO Today program. The following is recommended:
When you hire a vendor to provide any of the following activities at your event, the vendor should have appropriate insurance and it is strongly recommended they name your parent group as an additional insured on the vendor’s policy.
If you have any of these activities at the vendor’s venue, the vendor must have appropriate insurance and it is strongly recommended that your parent group be listed as an additional insured on the vendor’s policy.
- Alcohol, when served at functions by a third party
- Bounce Houses
- Dunking Booths
- Haunted Houses (not on school Premises)
- Inflatable Slides
- Laser Tag
- Moon Walks
- Rock Climbing Walls
Athletic/Sports Activities or Events:Athletic, sports, and physical type activities or events represent extremely high potential liability to a Parent Group, and have a very high participant child and adult injury incident rate. Injuries to athletic/sports participants are not covered under this policy. The policy will not defend the Parent Group against a negligence lawsuit resulting from athletic or sports activities. Types of activities referred to within this section include but are not limited to aerobics, baseball, basketball, cheer leading, football, gymnastics, martial arts, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, or any enrichment class or event involving athletic or physical type activities. The only exceptions to the Athletic/Sports exclusion are: bowling, 5K Run/Walk, Walk-A-Thon, Jog-A-Thon, Fun Run, a golf tournament, or an ice or roller skating party (indoor rink facility).
The policies provided cover the parent teacher group anywhere within the United States. You can hold events away from your school (exclusive of private homes) and you are still covered.
- The event must be approved by the parent group
- The event must be scheduled and planned by the parent group
- The majority of the manpower must be provided by the parent group
Athletic, sports, and physical type activities or events are not covered under this policy. The only exceptions to the Athletic/Sports exclusion are bowling, a running event, a golf tournament, a Jog-A-Thon, a Walk-A-Thon, a roller skating party or an ice skating party held at inside facility.
- Alcohol, when served at functions by a third party
- Asbestos Exposure
- Baseball/Softball Toss
- Bounce Houses
- Bungee Jumping
- Dunking Booths
- Events held at private homes
- Hang Gliding
- Haunted Houses (not on school premises)
- Hot Air Balloons
- Inflatables – any kind
- Inflatable Slides
- Laser Tag
- Lead Exposure
- Mechanical/Motorized Rides at Carnival
- Moon Walks
- Nuclear Exposure
- Obstacle Course-without prior approval
- Organized Athletic Events
- Playground Construction
- Polar Plunge
- Pyrotechnic Displays or Devices
- Race Track Risks
- Rock Climbing Walls
- Running Clubs
- Saddle Animals
- Snow Tubing
- Sponsoring of Scout Groups*
- Swimming (open water)
- Trampolines over 46" in diameter
- Vehicular Transportation of Any Type
- Velcro Jumps
- Water Skiing
- Workers Compensation Claims
*Sponsoring of Scout Groups:
Parent groups purchasing insurance for the first time after July 2021 are not eligible for PTO Today Insurance coverage if they sponsor a Scout Group.
No new sponsorships of Scout Groups by existing policyholders are permitted as of July 2021.
Existing PTO Today Insurance policyholders prior to July 2021 that were already sponsoring Scout Groups may continue with their sponsorships.
Scout Groups are not eligible for coverage under PTO Today Insurance, cannot be listed as an additionally insured on a PTO Today Insurance policy, and must have their own insurance in place for their own activities.
Additional Insured & Liquor LiabilityWhat is an Additional Insured?
An Additional Insured gives associated coverage to an entity or venue not currently named under your policy. An Additional Insured Certificate can be provided at no additional cost, should someone request it of the Parent Group for a particular event. This will satisfy the venue's liability protection need. Organizations (ex: Scouts) cannot be additionally insured to a policy. Further, Additional Insureds cannot be "open-ended"; with the exception of a Parent Group's School District and / or associated school. When an Additional Insured is intended for a specific event, details of the event must be given in writing (Email).
Liquor liability rates are based on number of attendees for the event. For most states the liquor liability coverage rates are below. If your event is being held in: New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana, West Virginia or Kentucky, please contact us. The rates below assume the type of event where liquor liability is requested falls within the approved scope of events noted as "included" in the current list for the PTO program, so always refer to that List of Covered Events. Please note that events that you feel might possibly be out of scope from the "included" type of events will need to be referred to Bene-Marc for consideration
- 1-100 attendees: $60.00
- 101-200 attendees: $85.00
- 201-300 attendees: $160.00
- 301-800 attendees: $260.00
- Above 800 attendees: Referral to underwriter
Policy QuestionsWhy do I need both General Liability and Excess Accident Medical?
The combination of general liability and excess accident medical coverage is important for groups to ensure the groups satisfy the insurance requirements of school districts and venues where PTO-sponsored events are held. General liability insurance provides coverage in the event of a third party bodily injury (non-participant injury) or property damage claim. In addition, the excess accident medical coverage provides coverage to participant injury during PTO-sponsored events.
- General Liability - $2,000,000 per occurrence limit/$4,000,000 annual aggregate limit per parent organization
Bond - $25,000 annual limit
- D&O - $1,000,000 per claim, $1,000,000 aggregate limit per parent organization.
- Property - $10,000 annual limit.
- Excess Accident Medical - $25,000 annual limit
The only policies that have a deductible are the Property, D&O and the Crime policies. The deductible for D&O is $2,500. The deductible for Crime and Property is $250.
General Liability provides coverage for included/covered events to your entire parent group — all the volunteers and members. Excess Accident Medical must be purchased with General Liability.
Excess Accident Medical covers your entire parent group - all the volunteers and members and anyone attending a PTO sponsored event.
D&O covers all the officers of your group in the circumstance they are sued personally for a decision made by the group. The D&O policy has a $1,000,000 limit per claim, $1,000,000 aggregate limit per parent organization, and a $10,000,000 annual aggregate limit for the Purchasing Group.
General Liability protects your group from 3rd party bodily injury and property damage claims arising out of your sponsored events. The coverage “trigger” occurs when there is property damage or bodily injury at a covered event. For example, if a third party is injured while participating in a PTO sponsored event, a claim could arise that should be filed under the General Liability policy. A General Liability claim could also arise from actions of a PTO member who damages school property.
D&O Liability specifically excludes bodily injury and property damage claims. D&O protects your PTO and your officers if someone alleges misrepresentation or mismanagement of your parent group.
If PTO officers hire a company to provide bounce houses for a back to school kickoff, but fail to verify insurance or undertake any due diligence regarding the vendor, and an incident occurs involving the vendor, the Officers could be sued personally for their decision to hire this uninsured vendor. There does not have to be bodily injury or property damage to trigger a D&O claim. In fact, if the claim alleges either bodily injury or property damage, the claim should be filed under the General Liability.
Property coverage extends to any personal property of the parent teacher group, such as computers, popcorn machines, and fundraising merchandise. If you “gift” an item to the school, however, that item would be considered school property and covered under the school's insurance policy. Excess Accident Medical and General Liability must be purchased with Property insurance.
The Crime policy is a blanket bond that covers anyone who your organization trusts with the money. This can be a President, Treasurer, Committee Chairperson or Volunteer.
Please note that the insurance options effective 7/1/10 have changed. If a PTO group is seeking crime coverage effective 7/1/10 or later this coverage will be automatically paired with General Liability and Excess Accident Medical coverage.
The best thing you can do to protect your group's money is to put in place sound financial controls. Insisting that someone who does not sign checks reviews the bank statement will help to protect your organization from having a loss, as well as limit the dollar amount of the loss through early detection. The person who doesn't have check signing authority basically needs to date and sign the monthly bank statement indicating it has been reviewed. The audit does not need to be done by an accountant, just an independent person who understands the process. PTO Today's Treasurer's Toolkit has several other helpful financial controls to help you safeguard your money.
Yes, the treasurer can reconcile the bank statement. It's important, however, to have someone else review the reconciliation to make sure it was done properly. In addition, you must conduct an annual audit of the books by an audit committee or a qualified accountant and the monthly bank statement must be opened/reviewed by someone who does not have authorization to sign checks.
You might want to consider Finance Manager to make bank reconciliation easy. Since Finance Manager is a web based software program, your financial data is accessible to anyone with the right permission level. This makes reviewing the bank reconciliation a very simple process!
When you donate or “gift” something to the school and they accept the gift, then the school also accepts responsibility for those items and it further separates your group from liability. This is quite often done with playground equipment and similar types of items. Please remember that “gifting or trusting” items to a school will provide some defense in court but cannot stop someone from filing a lawsuit.
Claims QuestionsHow do I file a claim?
Once a claim is filed, your PTO group will be notified by Philadelphia or ACI (depending on the type of claim) with respect to acknowledgement of the receipt of the claim and clarification if additional information is needed from your organization.