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Last month I wrote about how important it is for parents and guardians to make sure that the child care facility they place their child in is licensed. The next step in protecting a child is to ensure that the child care provider has the proper liability insurance.

A few years ago I received a call from another lawyer who represented the parents of an infant who was badly injured while being cared for by in-home child care provider. Although the in-home child care provider was licensed, she did not have liability insurance to cover the medical expenses, pain and suffering and future debilitating disabilities this child suffered as a result of her negligence.

My colleague wanted to know if I knew whether a licensed child care facility was required to have liability insurance? I did my research; I spoke with my contacts at the North Carolina Division of Child Development and soon learned that in North Carolina there is no requirement for licensed daycare and/or in-home child care facilities to have liability insurance.

Liability insurance is type of insurance that covers the medical bills, pain and suffering and permanent disabilities of a victim of negligence on the part of the homeowner, car owner, or business owner.   Although a child care facility may be located in a home that is insured under homeowners’ insurance, the child care providers’ homeowners’ insurance more than likely will exclude coverage for the homeowner who operates a small business within the home, such as child care.  The child care provider must obtain a special rider to cover the business through its homeowners insurance or obtain a separate business liability insurance policy altogether.  It is crucial that the child care provider have the proper liability insurance for their business in order to ensure that the children they care for are covered in the event of an accident.

Unfortunately, I know all too well that we cannot always protect our children against negligent caregivers. We can however take the necessary steps to ensure that if there is an accident caused by a caregiver’s negligence, you and your child are compensated for medical bills, pain and suffering and potential lifelong disabilities.  When searching or interviewing for child care ask to see a license and a certificate of liability insurance prior to taking a tour of the facility.  If they cannot provide either, walk away.

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