Insurance Services

Placement students

Unless otherwise stated below, the University's insurance cover applies equally to students, whether they be undergraduates or postgraduates, study or work-based, who take part in official University placements within the UK or abroad.

What the University covers

The University of Bath’s public liability insurance covers its legal liability for loss, damage or injury that occurs to a third party.

This public liability insurance protects the student while he/she is on placement, for damage, loss or injury caused to the placement company, if the University is found to be legally responsible for that damage, loss or injury.

The same public liability insurance also covers the student for loss, injury or damage they may suffer themselves, again if the University’s is found to be negligent and legally liable.

What the University does not cover

The University’s insurance cannot cover anything that is the legal liability or responsibility of someone else. As the placement provider has control of the student while they are on placement, many responsibilities are their legal liability.

Therefore any injury, loss or damage that the student may cause whilst they are under the supervision of the placement provider is the responsibility of the placement provider.

Similarly any injury, loss or damage suffered by the student while they are under the supervision of the placement provider is also the responsibility of the placement provider.

Criminal acts committed by the student are not covered under any insurance arrangements.

The University’s responsibilities

The University’s insurance policies require us to minimise the risk of potential claims as far as is reasonably practical, therefore before a student is sent on placement the University should ensure the following:

  • that a risk assessment of the placement and the placement provider has been completed. This should identify all potential risks upon the student and put in place a plan to prevent or minimise these risks. Contact the SHE Office for more advice on completing risk assessments
  • that the appropriate student has been selected for the appropriate placement, eg appropriate for students with health issues or disabilities
  • that the placement is appropriate to the studies of the student and is of the required quality etc
  • that adequate checks are carried out to ensure that the placement is reaching is expectations
  • see the University Academic Procedures, Practices and Guidelines QA6 document for full details of the above
  • that the placement providers insurance cover is current and adequate .

The students’ responsibilities

Not all legal responsibility for the placement lies with the University. For example students have a responsibility to act in an appropriate manner, keep in contact with the University to report any problems with the placement, check that indemnity is given to them by the placement provider.

Undergraduate students who travel abroad on a placement are also required to take out a travel insurance policy to cover the duration of their stay. This policy will include cover for medical expenses, personal injury and accident benefit, personal belongings, cancellation and curtailment expenses, personal liability and legal expenses and the like, whilst on placement.

Postgraduate students who travel abroad on placement can be insured under the Group Personal Accident and Travel Policy arranged by the University for it’s staff travel requirements. Please contact the insurance administrator or see the travel insurance section of the web page for more information and to log travel requirements.

All students who take placements within the UK should also ensure that their personal insurance is adequate to cover their possessions, personal liability etc.

If the student uses their personal car for travel to and from placements or for the activity of the placement, then they need to check that cover is either offered by their personal motor insurance or by the placement provider. The University does not hold this cover.

The placement provider’s responsibilities

While the student is on placement and working under the placement provider’s supervision, that placement provider has a number of responsibilities:

  • from time to time the University may be asked to sign a contract with the placement provider that asks for the University to indemnify the placement provider against “all loss or damage” arising from the placement. No-one from the University should sign such a term as our insurance cannot meet this requirement. There is an ABI agreement that confirms this is the responsibility of the placement provider’s insurer
  • to provide an appropriate Duty of Care and be responsible for the health and safety of the student
  • to provide full supervision and alert the University of any potential problems with the placement
  • to ensure that the work experience fulfils the needs of the student placement
  • to provide adequate insurance liability cover Unless a company can demonstrate that they can provide all of the above, then they should not be approved to become a placement provider.

What insurance the University should require from the placement provider

In the UK it is a legal requirement for employers to hold employers liability insurance, and UK employers liability policies classify work experience or placement students as employees. Therefore in the event of an accident at work arising from the placement provider’s negligence, the student is covered in the same way as their employees. Sole traders are not legally required to have employers liability insurance, but as soon as they take on a placement student they effectively become an employer, so a sole trader must be advised to take out employers liability cover if they are taking a student on placement.

Although it is not a legal requirement, all reputable employers in the UK should also have a current public liability policy, which will also protect the student against claims brought against the placement provider by other third parties.

Placement companies need to have both employers liability and public liability policies in place to meet their legal liabilities towards our students, and thus the University should check that all potential placement companies have adequate (minimum £5m) and current policies in place. Before a placement is approved, the placement company should be asked to declare:

  • employer's liability
  • limit of indemnity
  • name of insurer
  • date of expiry
  • public liability
  • limit of indemnity
  • name of insurer
  • date of expiry.

Please note that there are circumstances where the placement provider may not be obliged to insure, eg the NHS (self insure) or the MoD (no insurance).

Placements abroad

The above information about employers and public liability should also be asked of placement providers who are based outside the UK. Placements abroad have added complications by the fact that every country may not have the equivalent to the UK’s employers or public liability. Some have voluntary or statutory workmans’ compensation schemes run by the state that offer fixed compensation to people who are injured at work, but in some countries placement students are not offered protection from these schemes for various reasons.

If the placement company cannot provide confirmation that there is an equivalent policy or scheme in place to protect the student, then this gap in cover placement tutors should explain this to the student. The student’s personal accident policy should provide some fixed benefit in the event of death or permanent disablement arising from an accident at work, but without an employer's insurance policy or scheme to protect them the student is unlikely to receive any compensation from the company if they suffer an injury at work.

Further information

If you require confirmation of the current policies that the University has in place, or have any other queries about University insurance, contact Insurance Services manager Simon Holt at