This post is sponsored by DC Insurance Services, Inc., a trusted provider of childcare insurance since 1968.
It can be daunting to search for childcare for your little one, to say the least. Heather and I have both done it, and we each remember in visceral detail how overwhelming it can be to find that ideal place for your baby (or toddler or preschooler), where the facility is welcoming, the teachers are fun, engaged, and caring, and you feel in your gut your child will be well-looked after and loved.
My two older children went to a large, center-based daycare when they were teeny tiny, but for logistical reasons my third child wasn’t able to attend there. So when I was pregnant with my third baby around this time last year, I found myself starting from scratch looking for a new daycare.
And during the course of my research and tours last summer I discovered something surprising: in California where I live, daycare providers are not legally required to carry insurance.
I know, I know, I put on my lawyer hat and said the words “legally required” and “insurance”, which sound like I’m about to get incredibly boring. I can sort of feel your eyes glazing over from here. But stay with me for a few minutes, because this is important stuff! Asking a daycare owner, “Do you carry insurance?” is a must-do when you’re searching for childcare.
Here’s a mom truth: toddlers and preschoolers have basically zero respect for their own bodies, and are constantly finding new and inventive ways to injure themselves. I can give you a few examples just off the top of my head: When my son was three, his classmate tripped and fell during a “dance party” and managed to chip a tooth on his way down. When my daughter was a toddler, her classmate jumped off the top of a play structure – despite a teacher standing right next to him and trying to stop him! – and fractured his arm. And later that same year, a different classmate of my daughter’s flat-out wasn’t paying attention while skipping around the playground…and he skipped right into a pole. He cut his head open badly enough to need stitches.
Are you nodding along with me now? We can hover as much as we want – and I assure you, every good daycare teacher I’ve ever met is an expert hoverer – and little kids are still going to occasionally find ways to hurt themselves. That’s just life.
And that is why insurance matters. If your little one has an accident while at daycare, and the daycare center does not have insurance, the entire cost of medical care can fall on you and your family. This is one of those unexpected expenses that can really knock a family’s finances sideways, particularly if – and I shudder even thinking about this – it’s something more serious that requires significant treatment or an ambulance ride.
On the other hand, if your daycare provider has an insurance policy, that policy pays for your child’s medical costs. I spoke with Adria Rossi of DC Insurance Services – their entire business is providing insurance for daycares – and she told me that the vast majority of the claims they receive from their daycares are for simple accidents: things like a child falling off a play structure or tipping over a bottle warmer containing hot water. Their policies also cover situations where a child gets sick from food prepared at daycare, or gets hurt on a field trip, or catches an illness from another child.
And here’s the real kicker: daycare insurance is affordable. Like, really affordable. For a small in-home center (generally meaning up to 8 children) a policy from DC Insurance costs about $571 per year, and for a large in-home center (generally meaning up to 14 children) it’s about $871 per year. Each of these policies provides up to $20,000 in accident coverage per child. If you do the math, that means it costs less than $6 per child, per month to have insurance in place.
Insurance means your kid is protected in the event that regular kid stuff happens, like riding a tricycle too fast, or going down the slide the wrong way, or just tripping and falling while playing outside.
We all want peace of mind regarding our children’s health and safety, and insurance companies like DC Insurance help provide exactly that. So please, if you are in the process of hunting for childcare, ask about insurance during your search. If your child is already enrolled in an in-home daycare and you’re not sure if the owner has insurance, ask them now.* Then pat yourself on the back for being such a smart, responsible parent!
For more information about childcare insurance, please visit www.dcins.com, or call (800) 624-0912.
To check whether your child’s daycare is properly licensed, visit https://secure.dss.ca.gov/CareFacilitySearch/home/selecttype/.
*I will put back on my lawyer hat for one more minute and tell you if a childcare provider doesn’t carry insurance, they’re required to disclose that fact in writing. However, this usually comes in the form of one single sheet of paper in the giant packet of paperwork you’re given when enrolling your child. Unless you are reading everything very, very closely, it’s easy to miss. So again, if you’re not sure if your daycare carries insurance, definitely ask!