BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — A North Dakota insurance leader has a reminder for parents as their kids head back to school.
He’s recommending parents take another look at their insurance policies
It’s a quiet and uneventful fall morning as families arrive at Miller Elementary in Bismarck.
Most parents and teachers would agree every day would start out like this.
“It’s really one thing that nobody really thinks about and I hope you never have to think about it,” North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread said.
Godfread says the fall is also a good time for parents to think about insurance for a not-so-good day.
“If a child is involved in a school bus accident and they’re injured, it’s their parent or guardian’s primary auto insurance that’ll kick in and help cover that,” Godfread said.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation says so far this year, there have been 31 accidents involving school buses around the state. Four of those included injuries.
“It’s a really kind of weedy insurance topic,” Godfread said. “You don’t think, ‘I’m buying auto coverage because it’s mandated by the state’. But this is something that’s layered in with that coverage.”
Godfread is warning parents that if their child is hurt in a school bus accident, the insurance covering the bus isn’t responsible for personal injuries to the passengers on board. That’s why Godfread is spurring parents to have a talk with their agents.
“We generally try to get people, and this is really hard to do, to not shop insurance on price,” Godfread said. “Because I can sell you a really cheap policy, but it covers nothing.”
Godfread says most families have auto policies that include a minimum of $30,000 of no-fault coverage. But he says any changes to a policy can be done relatively quickly.
“At the very least, a month, but it could be as soon as the end of the week, depending how you want to cancel your policy and renew a different one,” Godfread said.
Ideally, Godfread hopes the discussion gives parents, teachers, and school leaders peace of mind for the rest of the school year.
Over the last five years, 2019 was one of the worst years for crashes, with 81 reported school bus accidents. Most of those only involved property damage. Last year, there were 12 accidents statewide in which somebody was hurt.