In­sur­ing you can pay for school

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JACK MOR­PHET

PAR­ENTS can now take out in­sur­ance to cover the cost of pri­vate school fees if they lose their job, have an ac­ci­dent or be­come se­ri­ously ill.

Syd­ney-based in­surer QBE will to­day launch Aus­tralia’s first school fee in­sur­ance prod­uct in re­sponse to sky­rock­et­ing fees and pri­vate school en­rol­ments.

About a third of NSW school­child­ren — 418,000 — at­tend a pri­vate school de­spite the enor­mous costs. New par­ents who plan on send­ing their child to a top pri­vate school from kinder­garten to the HSC can ex­pect to pay nearly $550,000, ac­cord­ing to ed­u­ca­tion in­vest­ment fund ser­vice ASG. The av­er­age cost of pri­vate school fees has risen by 64 per cent in the past decade.

School fee in­sur­ance will be avail­able to emer­gency ser­vices work­ers and man­ual work­ers typ­i­cally ex­cluded from in­come pro­tec­tion in­sur­ance be­cause of the in­her­ent dan­ger of their jobs, ac­cord­ing to QBE School Fee Pro­tect In­sur­ance founder Johnny Marchant.

“Un­til now, the only op­tion for fam­i­lies in Aus­tralia to pro­tect against the risk of de­fault­ing on their school fees has been in­come pro­tec­tion in­sur­ance, which may have lengthy waiting pe­ri­ods and will ad­just ben­e­fit pay­ments should you re­ceive other in­come,” Mr Marchant said.

How­ever, the new pol­icy will not cover any­one who is self-em­ployed, works less than 20 hours a week or has a pre­ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion.

The cover would suit par­ents who scrimped and saved to send their kids to pri­vate schools, ac­cord­ing to NSW Par­ents’ Coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Stephen Grieve.

But lead­ing con­sumer lawyers have warned many par­ents would be bet­ter off re­ly­ing on in­come pro­tec­tion in­sur­ance, which comes stan­dard with most su­per.

And Syd­ney Catholic Schools ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Dr Dan White said par­ents of the 70,000 kids at any of the 152 low-fee sys­temic Catholic schools in Syd­ney should not take out this in­sur­ance be­cause par­ents in fi­nan­cial hard­ship could ap­ply for fee re­lief.

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