If the insurance is to cover accidental damage and theft consider having students/families pay into an account. First off, no one like the idea to ask families for money on top of the taxes they pay but consider this, payment is optional ($10-$50). If you pay and the laptop is damaged or lost/stolen then the student is covered. If they don't pay then they are on the hook for repair or replacement cost. Consider refunding some portion of the fee at the end of the year as a way to sell the idea. Work out a system where families could have a multi-student discount and a way to cover students who can not afford the payment but want it. Also consider a way to barter something to pay for coverage. A lot of this depends on number of students, type of computer you are going to have and whether or not the school's insurance would cover costs as well.
Absolutely buy accidental damage protection, especially if you are just starting out. That being said, maybe you can give a little more information such as are you buying netbooks? If you are spending $450 for a computer and then have to pay $150 for ADP, then just buy extra computers and don't buy the insurance. If you are buying more expensive computers, you should buy the ADP. You will, for sure, have computers dropped (and everything else you can imagine) and damaged.
Some schools self insure and charge students a deductible. For example, the first broken screen costs the student $100. Next time it's $500. There are many ways to do this...let me know what your details are. FYI...We just bought 300 netbook tablets and yes, we bought ADP. Also, I have run 1:1 programs at two different schools.
I guess it was unfair to be so vague, but I wanted generalized advice and to not turn this into an iPad discussion.
We are a private school that is adding about 60 iPads to our new 6th and 7th grade classrooms. The devices are on a three year lease and not the property of the student. We charge a $400 tech fee with tuition to cover the device, accessories, software, and books. I'm told that the e-textbooks are so cheap compared to the printed version that this almost pays for itself. The kids will get to take the devices home when instructed to do so.
The various insurance plans cost about the same as Apple's warranty system, but Apple does not cover theft, vandalism or accidental damage. I think most of the plans we've investigated cost about $40-50 a year per device and have a $50 deducible.
We've investigated and are still taking to other schools about their damage and loss numbers, but there are still so many unknowns and uncertainties that the more opinions and experiences we encounter the better prepared we might be when we implement this thing.
You'll get no beef from me about iPads. We are a pc school but I always applaud early adopters. I say go with the insurance this go-round. After you get data after a few years you may rethink this. For example, you may build a self insurance plan into your technology fee.