WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Families will spend thousands of dollars this year sending their children to college, but if coronavirus cancels classes, they could be out a big chunk of change. Now, some are turning to tuition insurance.

“We really try to help schools protect their students from unexpected events like from becoming ill and any number of incidents that might disrupt their education,” said John Fees, co-founder of GradGaurd.

Insurance provider GradGaurd offers tuition insurance that provides a refund for tuition, housing, and fees if a student has to withdraw for specific reasons including health problems. Typically, claims due to pandemics are not covered, but GradGaurd has adjusted its policies to cover students who have to withdraw due to contracting the coronavirus. Fees said students with pre-existing conditions are also covered as long as they are well enough to start school.

“If you’re well enough to attend school and you’re being cared for, for that condition, that condition will be covered,” said Fees.

But the insurance will not pay out if the school switches to online classes, a student has to quarantine or has to take care of a sick family member. The insurance is purchased for a semester at a time. Fees said the cost of insurance is typically 1% the cost of coverage which means about $100 for $10,000 of coverage if purchased through one of their 300 partnered schools. It will cost about $10 more for the same coverage if purchased directly through GradGuard. Students can buy more coverage of up to $40,000 per semester.

“They can be confident that if something unexpected happens they’ll be able to recover that financial loss and help put their student back on track to return and do school,” Said Fees.

Like travel insurance, Fees said tuition insurance must be purchased before classes start and renew coverage each semester.