Parents, worried that the check they wrote for $5,000 — or likely more — to cover this fall’s college tuition and room and board is akin to gambling, now have a safeguard against potential losses if things don’t work out.

It is called tuition insurance, and it typically allows parents to recover some of their money if their child becomes sick or gets injured and has to withdraw from school. In some cases, policies kick in if, for example, there is a death in the family.

But don’t look at tuition insurance as party insurance. The policies don’t cover students who withdraw for skipping too many classes.

“You can insure every major investment in your life but education,” said John Fees, co-founder and CEO of NextGeneration Insurance, which introduced GradGuard insurance a year ago.

Parents sending a healthy 18- or 19-year-old freshman off to college for the first time might dismiss the value of tuition insurance.

Such presumptions can be dangerous. Illness, anxiety and depression all can force students to withdraw from college.

“Two of my three kids came within an inch of filing a claim that I would have never dreamed of,” said Dana Tufts, president of A.W.G. Dewar, an insurer that offers tuition insurance through 1,300 colleges and private elementary and high schools.

Before pulling the trigger on any policy, make sure to calculate whether it is worth a few hundred dollars to protect against a small risk, a local financial adviser says.

“Insurance is for major problems, not just every single dollar that goes out of your pocket,” said Paul Dolce of Dublin-based Financial Solutions.

For starters, if a student has to drop out of college, families are out only the costs of a quarter or semester of college — not a full year of costs like what could happen at private elementary or secondary schools.

Second, many colleges and universities already offer some protection.

Most schools typically will refund at least a portion of the costs if a student withdraws from school before classes start or early in the term. Students well into a quarter or a semester when they leave school might be able to get incompletes for their classes and finish the work later.

That’s where tuition insurance fits in. Students who withdraw from school because they’re sick or have been hurt can recoup their nonrefunded costs for tuition, room and board, fees and even transportation costs. Some policies go further to include costs if a student has to withdraw because of the death of a family member.

Students also are eligible to recover some costs if they withdraw because of mental-health issues.

Dewar’s insurance is sold through schools. GradGuard is offered to any student of an accredited higher-education institution.

NextGeneration also has joined with student-loan provider Sallie Mae and College Parents of America to sell its products.

GradGuard is sold in $5,000 increments up to $50,000. The cost for $50,000 of coverage can be about $600, Fees said. GradGuard also sells a package of other insurance products for identify theft and protection of personal computers.

At the college level, the Dewar policy typically costs about 1 percent of the price of tuition, Tufts said.

Tuition insurance is partly a product of the explosive rise in tuition and other costs for college from a generation ago that could put a far bigger dent in family finances today.

“This is about protecting a loss a consumer may face,” Fees said.