Julie, managing director of her own company and her husband, Roy, a management consultant from Staffordshire, wanted to provide the best education possible for their son, George. When he was at his prep school they decided to take out School Fees Insurance through SFS Group, which would cover his school fees if either of them had a critical illness or died. “It gave us peace of mind and some security for his future education needs” explains Julie.
When George started at Stafford Grammar School in 2006, they continued with their insurance policy. Tragically in 2009, Roy passed away. At this extremely difficult time for the family, their cover provided some valuable stability and security. For Julie, it was one of their most important safety nets that she had, which gave her comfort during this stressful time. For George, it meant he was able to stay at his school, surrounded by friends and a familiar environment as he dealt with his loss.
Becoming a single parent is difficult in any circumstances, especially through the death of a partner. It means dealing with a whole new set of responsibilities and commitments, at the same time as dealing with emotional trauma. Even though Julie is a successful professional, without fundamental changes to other areas of her life, she would have struggled to pay for private education. “If you are in any doubt about your ability to afford your school fees should the unimaginable happen, then take out this cover” urges Julie. “It was the most important thing to us other than ensuring that we could stay in our home.”
George is now in his final year at university, with a bright future in front of him. Having stability and continuity in his education has played a significant role in building the foundations from which he can realise his full potential.
Paul and his wife Elizabeth were foster carers for the first few years of their marriage. Due to this commitment, they decided to delay having their own children until a little later in life. They wanted to give their two children, Jessica and Edward, the best possible start in life and opted to educate them privately.
As this was a large commitment for them and they were a little older than the average parent, they decided to take out insurance with SFS Group to cover their fees in the event of one of them having a critical illness or dying. Elizabeth worked as a head teacher and had seen first-hand what happened when parents couldn’t cover their fees. Often children were forced to change schools and had problems settling in to their new environment.
Unfortunately, in 2006 Elizabeth sadly passed away, following a prolonged battle with cancer. At the time their children, Jessica and Edward were only 12 and 7. Losing a mother at any age is extremely traumatic, but especially difficult for children who were so young. Having School Fees Insurance in place meant they could stay in their secure and friendly school environments, helping them through their grief. The insurance also provided valuable support for Paul, as SFS employees understood his situation and could offer helpful advice.
“The importance to my daughter of being able to talk about what happening at home to her friends cannot be over stated” says Paul. “To have had to leave that circle, and the teachers who were aware of the situation, and start again in another school, would have been hugely damaging.”
Even though it has been ten years since the start of the claim, it’s benefits are long-lasting and are still being felt. After her initial degree and some time working in finance, Jessica has decided to go back to university to study for a Masters. “In my opinion, she would not have been anywhere near this position without the educational opportunities which she had via SFS” says Paul. Edward is keen to join the Royal Engineers and Paul feels “his education has left him well prepared for whatever he chooses.”
Paul’s advice for any parents who are considering this insurance is “Do it. We all know that something bad might happen in the future, but of course it will “not happen to me” – guess what, it can.”
Before they met, Geoffrey and Beverley Jacobs had both been married before. They were keen to start a family as soon as possible. When their first daughter, Grace, was born, Geoffrey was 48 and Beverley was 40. They were lucky enough to have a second daughter, Evie, a couple of years later. When the time came for secondary school, they decided that they wanted to go down the independent school route for their daughters to give them the best possible chance to reach their full potential.
As they’d had their children later in life, they were very aware that they were more likely to suffer a serious illness whilst the girls were still of school age. Beverley saw an article in the Sunday papers about School Fees Insurance, which pays a predetermined amount directly to the school if a parent dies or suffers a serious illness. The piece struck a chord with her and she decided to take out the insurance for peace mind and to ensure her daughters could finish the education at the school they’d chosen. She knew if anything did happen to her husband finding the money to cover the school fees would be a challenge.
Unfortunately, Geoffrey did become ill and sadly died from cancer in August 2017. While their older daughter, Grace, had left independent school to go to a state grammar school, their younger daughter Evie was about to go into Year 11 at St Mary’s Colchester. The death of a parent at anytime is extremely difficult to cope with and it is especially traumatic at the age of 15. Evie received exceptional support from the school, especially from her English teacher, who gave her dedicated time to ensure she was coping. “The thought of taking her away from her school at this devastating time was just awful. I was so relieved that I didn’t even have to consider this option as we had our protection in place.”
As St Mary’s Colchester, doesn’t have a sixth form, Beverley and Evie have decided it would be best for Evie to go to a local state school to study A Levels. At this time, it’s important that she’s surrounded by friends and family who can support her, instead of continuing her education in a different independent school some distance from her home. This means the money accrued from their School Fees Insurance claim will be held in trust and can be used to help pay for university fees. This guaranteed support allows Evie the freedom to consider a range of higher education options.
“Even though we knew my husband’s cancer was terminal, we were still unprepared for his death” says Beverley. “He was unwilling to face what was happening to him and it was very difficult to discuss preparations for the future. Dealing with his finances was more complicated than I imagined it would be and probate took several months. As the School Fees Insurance claim is paid directly to the school and was outside his estate, it was very quick and simple to sort out, giving me one less important thing to worry about.”
“Education is the best gift you can give a child. I know lots of people who spend a huge proportion of their income on their school fees to give them this gift. I urge them to consider getting this type of protection as you just don’t know what the future will hold.”
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